For Immediate Release
CBS Skips Bachmann Factcheck
Website notes inaccuracy, but viewers left in dark
WASHINGTON - CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer seemed well-prepared for his June 26 interview with Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. But he didn't go nearly far enough in challenging Bachmann's misinformation.
On the program Schieffer told the Minnesota representative: "A lot of your critics say you have been very fast and loose with the truth. You know, PolitiFact, which is a website that won a Pulitzer, did an analysis of 23 statements that you made recently. Of these 23, only one they said was completely true."
Unfortunately, Bachmann had already re-told one of those falsehoods--and Schieffer did little to correct the record. Speaking about the new healthcare law, Bachmann said the following:
SCHIEFFER: Again, that is data that other people would question.
BACHMANN: Well, that's the Congressional Budget Office, that's not Michele Bachmann, that's Congressional Budget Office figures saying that we're--we have the potential of losing 800,000 jobs.
Bachmann's comment is highly misleading. The jobs figure in question relates to a segment of the workforce that, according to the CBO, is continuing to work solely for the sake of employer-provided healthcare. The CBO analysis is that these workers will leave their jobs, or work fewer hours, thanks to more attractive options available as a result of the law. Most if not all of these jobs could be refilled by other workers who need them. That is nothing like Bachmann's claim that the law will "cost" the country 800,000 jobs.
This was all covered by PolitiFact on June 14. Given that Schieffer appeared to be aware of the website's record of factchecking Bachmann, one would think that he would have been better prepared to press her when she repeated the same bogus claim.
The CBS website (6/26/11), meanwhile, features a fact-check of Bachmann's Face the Nation appearance:
FRIENDS: Help Us Fight
Independent journalism has become the last firewall against government and corporate lies. Yet, with frightening regularity, independent media sources are losing funding, closing down or being blacked out by Google and Facebook. Never before has independent media been more endangered. If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent media, please support us now and help us fight—with truths—against the lies that would smother our democracy. Please help keep Common Dreams alive and growing. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder
FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints.