PolitiFact is a subsidiary of the Tampa Bay Times newspaper whose charge is to check the factual validity of assertions made by politicians. The three most stigmatizing categories for any particular claim are “Mostly False,” “False” and “Pants on Fire.”
A Dec. 13 New York Times column (“All politicians lie. Some lie more than others”) indicated that the percentages of claims in these categories for candidates Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are 84 percent, 76 percent and 66 percent, respectively. By contrast, the percentages for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama are 28 percent, 28 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Carly Fiorina is at 50 percent, and Marco Rubio has a respectable (compared with other Republicans) 40 percent. No Republican has a lower percentage than any Democrat. To the surprise of no one except perhaps Mr. Trump himself, he is the by far the leader in the “Pants on Fire” category.
Sadly, many people continue to believe in demonstrably false assertions — e.g. Fiorina’s statement about the contents of a Planned Parenthood video, or Trump’s about thousands of New Jersey residents cheering the 9/11 catastrophe, or all GOP positions regarding climate change. And when challenged, rather than admit mistakes, politicians are wont to simply double down on their falsehoods. Amazing.
Jay Devore, Los Osos