Fact-checking the war comparisons between Obama and Bush

This story originally appeared on the PunditFact website. Poynter.org is republishing with permission.

The irony of President Barack Obama, Nobel Prize winner and putative anti-war candidate, launching extensive airstrikes in Syria, quickly led to comparisons with his predecessor, President George W. Bush.

President Barack Obama walks with former President George W. Bush during the unveiling of his official portraits in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

PunditFact heard two different comparisons in recent days that we thought we were worth exploring.

Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for the New Yorker summed it up in one tweet.

"Countries bombed: Obama 7, Bush 4."

That’s True.

We asked Lizza for his list and he sent us this:

Bush: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia.… Read more

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Friday, Sep. 19, 2014

Toronto newsweekly falls short on Buffy The Vampire Slayer trivia

Toronto’s NOW magazine had to issue a correction due its lack of Buffy The Vampire Slayer knowledge:

This article originally stated that Joyce Summers, the mother of Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s titular character, succumbed to a cancerous tumour. As pointed out by Queen’s Park Briefing’s John Michael McGrath, Summers in fact died from an aneurysm [sic] that resulted from the tumour’s removal.

 … Read more

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Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2014

Ray Rice, Janay Rice

Fact-checking claims about domestic violence, Ray Rice

This story originally appeared on the PunditFact website. Poynter.org is republishing with permission.

The release of a video showing NFL running back Ray Rice striking his now-wife in an Atlantic City, N.J., casino elevator revived conversations about domestic violence on politics and sports shows alike.

This week, PunditFact and PolitiFact checked three claims about the prevalence of domestic violence in America and a claim about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s initial two-game suspension of Rice.

Three’s a crowd

On CNN’s State of the Union, Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise argued that Goodell should lose his job for his handling of Rice’s case.

"The thing that bothered me most is Roger Goodell at one point tried to play essentially a marriage counselor with the victim and the perpetrator, Janay and Ray Rice," Wise said.… Read more

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Monday, Sep. 08, 2014

Amazing name leads to amusing Huffington Post correction

A Huffington Post story about a woman with an awesome name (“Cherries Waffles Tennis”) and her brush with the law resulted in an amusing correction:

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Tennis was arrested for allegedly making “fraudulent purposes.” Clearly that is neither a crime nor a statement that makes any sense. She was arrested for allegedly making fraudulent purchases.

But that may not have been the original version of the correction. According to the Twitter account @_youhadonejob, the correction originally restated the mistaken text:

Fair warning: I didn’t see the original allegedly incorrect correction for myself on the HuffPost site.

Related:

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Tuesday, Sep. 02, 2014

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Fact-checking claims about the Islamic State

This story originally appeared on the PunditFact website. Poynter.org is republishing with permission.

The violent terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State is eliciting fear from all corners of the world after its brutal advances through Iraq this summer, including the slaughter of religious minorities and soldiers and the video-recorded beheading of two American journalists.

How the United States should respond has been a ripe topic for pundits and politicians, with many dogging President Barack Obama for saying "we don’t have a strategy yet" to deal with the threat also known as ISIS.

Feeling lost in the chaotic developments?  Here’s a roundup of claims about the group that we have vetted so far.

Islamic State was too extreme for al-Qaida

In his final turn moderating NBC’s Meet the Press, David Gregory explored whether the group’s rapid growth was preventable.… Read more

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Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

Veterens Day

The VA story the networks didn’t cover this week

This story originally appeared on the PunditFact website. Poynter.org is republishing with permission.

Back in May, anyone who tuned in to almost any news show was guaranteed to hear about administrative delays that caused the deaths of 40 veterans at a VA hospital in Phoenix. Sometimes, the charge was softened a bit and news anchors talked about how the delays "might have" led to the deaths, but the general message was clear: Mismanagement, and even criminal deceit, had cut short the lives of people who had served their country.

On Tuesday, the Office of Inspector General at the Veterans Affairs Department issued its final report on the matter. While it confirmed a manipulation of scheduling records that it called unethical and in some cases criminal, it refuted the allegation that drove the headlines in May.… Read more

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Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

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Fact-checking claims about race after Ferguson shooting

This story originally appeared on the PunditFact website. Poynter.org is republishing with permission.

The shooting of 18-year-old African-American Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer has led to a broader discussion of race in America. PunditFact has recently fact-checked several claims centering on race.

No. 1 cause of death for young black men

Fox pundit Juan Williams recently expounded upon a column he wrote for the Wall Street Journal in which he described "thuggish behavior" as creating a culture of violence in African-American communities.

"The violent behavior of young black men and the police response have become a window on racial fears," Williams wrote. On Fox News Sunday Williams said, "On the black side of this equation, I think there’s fear of intimidation, harassment being legitimized by the fact that there is a high rate of crime, especially among young black men.… Read more

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Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

NYT corrects: Bald eagles’ poop isn’t purple

A New York Times correction delves into the nitty gritty of bald eagle and osprey poop:

An earlier version of this article described bald eagles and ospreys incorrectly. They eat fish, and their poop is white; they do not eat berries and excrete purple feces. (Other birds, like American robins, Eurasian starlings and cedar waxwings, do.)

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Monday, Aug. 18, 2014

Let's Get Weird: A BuzzFeed Event sponsored by The CW

BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith: ‘We didn’t fully think through’ the removal of old posts

Several months ago, roughly half a dozen early BuzzFeed writers were told to go back through their pre-2012 work and decide what they wanted to save. Anything they didn’t want to keep or update should be removed from the site, they were told.

“Go through your stuff and save what you care about,” is how BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith summarizes the direction.

The result was that thousands of posts were removed from BuzzFeed, without any notice or disclosure. The removal of content was revealed by Gawker’s J.K. Trotter in two posts, the most recent of which outlined the previously unknown scale of the cull.

Smith was off in the woods on vacation when Trotter’s latest piece was published last week. This morning I spoke to him by phone, and he said BuzzFeed did not handle the purge of old content as well as it should have.… Read more

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Friday, Aug. 08, 2014

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Bear attack foiled by Justin Bieber’s music: A story too good to check

Just after 12 pm on Tuesday, a story started picking up some serious online momentum.

In the span of about an hour, it appeared on the websites of The Week, Elite Daily, the Daily Mirror, the New York Post, Mediaite, an ABC affiliate, among others.

Here’s how the New York Post’s story began:

Even bears can’t stand Justin Bieber’s music.

A fisherman in Russia was being attacked by a brown bear and escaped death when his Justin Bieber ringtone went off and sent the beast fleeing into the forest.

Animals? Check. A strange and amazing turn of events? Check. Justin Bieber angle when he’s already in the news for a run-in with Orlando Bloom? Check.

Too good to check?… Read more

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