PolitiFact score: Bachmann … 7 ‘false,’ 6 ‘ridiculously false’


For a major public figure as, uh, “prone to major misstatements” as Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, it’s surprising you don’t read a story like Tom Scheck’s at MPR every day. Says Scheck: “[I]independent fact checkers find that the information she relies on is often exaggerated, misleading or wrong. PolitiFact, a Pulitzer Prize-winning feature of the St. Petersburg Times that checks whether statements made by politicians are true, has repeatedly determined that Bachmann’s claim don’t ring true. ‘We have checked her 13 times, and [found] seven of her claims to be false and six have been found to be ridiculously false,’ PolitiFact editor Bill Adair said. Adair said no politician has been checked as often as Bachmann without saying at least something that’s true.”

Scheck adds: “In a nine-minute interview with Bachmann on Minnesota Public Radio News’ Morning Edition program earlier this month, Bachmann made at least four misleading or false statements. For example, she suggested the new federal health care law is the main reason health insurance premiums have increased across the country.”

Emily Gurnon of the PiPress reports that John Paul St. Marie the organizer of the so-called “Nice Guys” prostitution ring, will get only probation. “St. Marie, 66, of Minneapolis is ‘extremely medically fragile’ and requires 24-hour care, said prosecutor Kaarin Long. ‘The cost would just be too high, the liability too high, for even one night in the jail,’ she said. St. Marie, who has been a quadriplegic since contracting polio at age 8, worked in the civil division of the county attorney’s office until about four years ago, when his health forced him to leave. He is wheelchair-bound and now breathes with a ventilator hooked up to his trachea.”

David Chanen of the Strib says: “The ring was one of the more unusual ones they’ve seen in Minnesota, said Sgt. Grant Snyder and Sgt. Matt Wente, investigators for the Minneapolis Police Department’s Violent Offender Task Force. The operation flew under the radar for at least three years, police said. St. Marie paid for women’s airline tickets and hotel stays in exchange for sex, the charges said.”

A thematically related story, reported by Abby Simons of the Strib, says: “An Anoka man is charged with felony prostitution for allegedly using the Internet to sell sex from an underage girl to as many as 600 men. … The girl said he posted photos of her online, and in the last eight months she had sex for money with about 600 men, sometimes as many as eight per day, in hotels, a Minneapolis apartment, in Wisconsin and most recently at an Anoka residence …, charges said.”

A scam to convert Hummers AND cap the Deepwater Horizon blow-out? Some guys think big. Jessica Fleming at the PiPress tells his story: “A Detroit Lakes, Minn., man who fabricated a story last summer that he had invented the cap that fixed the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is facing three unrelated felony theft charges. Blake Mastin, aka Blake A. Sundvor, allegedly took money and truck parts from at least six victims who were promised that Mastin would repair or rebuild their Hummer H-1 sport utility vehicles.”

She adds: “In July, several local news outlets, including KARE-TV and KSTP-TV, reported that Mastin had invented the cap that eventually plugged the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But the Pioneer Press found that BP had not bought the device from Mastin. Though it was unclear what Mastin hoped to gain with the July claim, several victims thought he might use the stories, in which he said he would make hundreds of millions of dollars, to persuade people to invest in him or allow him to buy large-ticket items on credit.”

With hit TV shows like “The Walking Dead” and best-sellers like “The Passage,” zombies are hot. It can’t take much for overheated imaginations to make the jump from chronic wasting disease in deer to a sci-fi human infection. Elizabeth Dunbar of MPR keeps the story down to strictly science: “ A preliminary screening test of a deer shot by a hunter last November in southeastern Minnesota indicates chronic wasting disease. … Chronic wasting disease is fatal to deer, elk and moose. It has no known effects on human health.” Sure, that what the “experts” are saying now.

Dennis Anderson, the Strib’s outdoors guru, writes: “Preliminary tests show that a doe, believed to be ‘older,’ was infected by CWD. Very little of the animal has been eaten by the hunter or his family, the Department of Natural Resources reported Friday morning, and the butchered meat has been given to authorities for further testing.” Define “very little.”

Someone has to keep an eye on GOP state chairman Tony Sutton’s Wikipedia page. So I guess I’m glad its Ed Kohler, blogging at “The Deets”. Writes Kohler: “Yesterday, someone [added] some background on Tony Sutton’s business practices. Based on their IP address, they appear to be in Ohio — a state where Tony Sutton’s Baja Sol restaurant chain used to have franchises: …  here is the text added by the anonymous Ohioan: “Sutton left many small business holding the bag when he stopped payment for contract services. Three closed shop due to his ‘Winning Strategy,’ which if you can not dazzle with intelligence — Blind them with bull!” His PR firm better start cranking up more untruths for the public. That contribution was not up to Wikipedia’s standards. The user didn’t cite sources, use a neutral point of view on the subject he/she is clearly passionate about, yadda yadda.”

And … “Don’t worry. It didn’t last for long. An experienced editor named SWMNPoliSciProject noticed the edit and reverted the page to its previous version while labeling the edit as vandalism. Then SWMNPoliSciProject went on t o clean up the grammar in the contributions I made.” The back and forth on this is pretty amazing when you stop and remind yourself that we’re probably talking adults … jacking with … Tony Sutton’s Wikipedia page?

OK, it’s crude, but it’s funny. City Pages links to a video titled, “What Should I Do?” which is basically about Brett Favre’s quandries over … well, just about everything … but mainly his, uh, well … his …

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/21/2011 - 03:52 pm.

    I’d love to see the catalog of MPR misstatements. I’m sure it’s more than 13 items.

  2. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 01/21/2011 - 04:54 pm.

    And we know that the real reason health insurance premiums have risen is…

  3. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 01/22/2011 - 12:33 am.

    The funny thing is that the reason that Michelle Bachmann has such a broad following is because she is literally the biggest liar in public office today. One would hope that people would respond to politicians that tell the truth, but in this case the opposite is true – what attracts her fans to her is her ability and willingness to repeatedly tell outrageous, and easily verifiable, lies.

  4. Submitted by William Pappas on 01/22/2011 - 07:53 am.

    The problem is that for the Republican Party, and especially the Tea Party wing, facts just get in the way of their political views and resulting public policy. For example, deregulating and lowering taxes will simply set the nation’s businesses free and start us on a glorious economic expansion. Nothing in history (especially recent history) has ever supported this. Another example is that the new health insurance reform will hamper competition and increase the deficit. The truth is the new “exchanges” will put more people on insurance policies and create a competitive market for insurance companies by requiring disclosure information on every policy. The only way republicans can get middle class and poor people to vote for them and against their best interests is to keep on making untrue statements. Eventually reality gets in the way and things like the recent economic collapse and near depression occur with wealth getting transferred at an unprecedented rate from the pockets of workers to wealthy Americans. Bachmann is perhaps the most prone to creating lies that create such a polarized debate and electorate. Fortunately, the truth is the best way to fight such demagoguery but unfortunately her audience doesn’t read enough to know what it is.

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 01/22/2011 - 09:22 am.

    RE MPR misstatements…

    It seems to me it must be the job of those who believe MPR to be guilty of misstatements to create such a catalog.

    It’s always been my great frustration that especially now, when their funding is in great jeopardy because of the Republican control of the Minnesota legislature and the national House of Representatives, MPR (and public broadcasting in general) often allows the dishonest demagoguery of “conservative” figures to be vomited onto the airwaves while making little effort to correct the lies being told.

    Thus MPR is guilty only of keeping its collective mouth shut lest the tender sensibilities and sensitivities of those who weak, sad and sorry individuals who earnestly believe the lies of those they admire and worship as if the lies they tell had came down from Mt. Sinai, be wounded (and they cut off funding for the network).

    Indeed, it often seems that if our “conservative” friends had their way, the only source of “information” available in the US and the state of Minnesota would be their own propaganda network, the weasel.

    If that were the case, they would NEVER hear anything that might make them question their eternally mistaken assumptions nor hear any accurate information to counter the toxic, brain rotting B.S. they have swallowed whole without question because it was what they wanted to hear.

    They could then continue apace to scream and holler and rant and rave about the forces destroying America, aiming their complaints in exactly the wrong directions, while ignoring that fact that those who are feeding them the propaganda they so love, the lies and misinformation which leads them to blame all the wrong people, are exactly the ones actually destroying their lives and our nation.

    The people they love and admire the most, and those who hold those puppet’s leashes are exactly the people seeking to destroy them.

  6. Submitted by Joe Musich on 01/22/2011 - 08:52 pm.


    To say that MPR made the statements or even to imply that they did is falsehood. I suggest reading more carefully or maybe challenge you to read more throughly. Nevertheless the screed is evidence of the comments of others responding to Mr Scheck’s piece. Interestingly the Strib in it’s first reporting of the Bachman trip has an article with two quotes from her and essentially no other comment. Sat’s Strib refers to the Democratic view that Bachman is “factually challenged.” Democratic view it maybe be but only no pun intended after the fact.

  7. Submitted by B Maginnis on 01/24/2011 - 10:34 am.

    Say, Bri?

    Is there a mandate to include a daily anti-Bachmann screed here that we should know about?

    And, regarding the Scalia non-issue, how’s about you review that stunning legal eagle Sonya Sotomayor?

    A real “non-partisan” there!

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