Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) retirement from Congress means that another occupation will be kept much less busy — political fact checkers.
“We will miss Michele Bachmann. She kept the Truth-O-Meter busy — and occasionally made it burst into flames,” said Bill Adair, the editor of PolitiFact and the Washington bureau chief of the Tampa Bay Times.
“She cited our work once during a debate, saying that we had rated all of her claims from a previous debate to be True. But alas, she was wrong and earned another Pants on Fire.”
Bachmann’s time in Congress — and her run for president — was both a boon and a burden for fact checkers like PolitiFact. Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler added Wednesday morning that Bachmann’s retirement serves as a “national day of mourning” for fact checkers.
At the end of 2011, PolitiFact rated her as the most inaccurate Republican presidential candidate. Today, 61 per cent of her statements over the years have been rated at least blatantly “false.” And of those, 25 per cent were rated “Pants on Fire,” the website’s lowest rating.
Only 15 per cent, meanwhile, have been rated “mostly true” or “true” by Politifact.
Some of the more recent whoppers:
- In mid-May, PolitiFact gave Bachmann a “Pants on Fire” rating for saying that the IRS would be “in charge” of a “huge national database” that will share Americans’ “personal, intimate, most-close-to-the-vest secrets.”
- In March, Bachmann said that “scientists tell us” they could have a cure for Alzheimer’s disease within 10 years if not for government regulation, taxes, and lawyers. Scientists told PolitiFact that this was absolutely not true.
- Also in March, Bachmann said that 70 per cent of food-stamp funding is reserved for “bureaucrats.” PolitiFact found that even the using the most broadest calculations, that number was more like 5 per cent.
Here’s a chart that showed her standing with other Republican presidential candidates back in December of 2011:
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