The Visual Side of Journalism
The Times-News of Twin Falls, Idaho ran a full-page illustration on its Sunday opinion section front that fact-checked, point-by-point, a press release from Republican Senator Mike Crapo.
The newspaper tells readers that it gets dozens of press releases every day; before publishing them, “we also like to check all releases for both spin and accuracy before we publish them.” In this release, Crapo’s office announced legislation to cap the capital gains and dividend tax rate. The newspaper says the release’s description of a “guaranteed” tax from the health care overhaul is a “half truth” because most people will never pay it. Crapo’s office uses percentage increase figures that “sound pretty scary,” one of which is calculated by assuming the highest tax rates, which don’t apply to most people. And the release throws in a reference to farmers and ranchers that seems like a “heavy-handed way to pander to rural Idahoans” who generally aren’t subject to the tax. The newspaper concludes that although the release is factual, “the data is also spun harder than it should be,” and it calls on politicians to avoid “the most hyperbolic of methods to crunch statistics.” || Related: PolitiFact asks its readers: Should ‘Barely True’ rating be changed to ‘Mostly False’?