By Jim Dickerson
If anything, we should all be skeptical of what we see and hear this political season. That’s good advice for anyone of any political persuasion.
American voters can’t afford to believe the rubbish that will be peddled across social media as “news” over the next 40 days.
Influence peddlers will play to your biases. And they’ll do whatever it takes to get you to see things their way.
And then there are the candidates themselves. Donald Trump and Joe Biden are out on the campaign trail, making statements they hope will influence voters to join their camp.
We have tools to find out very quickly if they are telling us the truth — or not.
Fact checking online is easy, but not many people do it.
I’ve been using a website called “Politifact” to check some of their statements, and I believe it is mostly dependable.
Here are some examples:
• Just recently in Michigan, Donald Trump said he saved the auto industry. The quote: “After the last administration nearly killed the US auto industry, I saved the U.S. auto industry … We brought you a lot of car plants… (and Japan) “announced five car companies are coming to Michigan.”
Here’s a brief correction of main points from Politifact:
• The Bush and Obama administrations helped save the auto industry (depending on your sources).
• Fiat Chrysler is building a new plant in Michigan.
• Auto industry jobs fell by about 3,000 in 2019 (during the Trump Administration).
• No Japanese car makers have announced plans to expand in Michigan.
And here’s one for Joe Biden.
• At a Sept. 17 town hall event, Biden stated: “If the president had done his job, had done his job from the beginning, all the people would still be alive. All the people. I’m not making this up. Just look at the data.”
Politifact contacted experts who said Joe Biden’s claim goes too far. Their findings:
• A more robust handling of the pandemic would likely have seen the country’s death count significantly reduced, but not to zero.
• Even countries that have found relative success managing the coronavirus — such as South Korea and New Zealand — have seen some deaths.
Then there’s this gaff on COVID-19 deaths by Biden in Michigan on Sept. 7:
“Military COVID infected: 118,984. Military COVID deaths: 6,114,” said Biden.
The figures Biden used were for Michigan, not the military.
And this from a Trump campaign ad back in July when many race riots were happening: “Joe Biden is absolutely on board with defunding the police,” said the ad.
Biden has repeatedly refuted that statement, saying that he wants to bring back community policing and help hire more officers.