This was hardly the first time that anyone’s make mistakes with history. They are commonplace despite the incredibly easy access to the internet and its wealth of information.
That’s why there are various organizations that fact-check whatever some politician makes a claim. Most of elected officials have facts; they just skew them to match a political viewpoint or stretch them beyond reality.
Sen. Ted Cruz, of course, contributes his usual assortment of false statements. For example, his claim that “small businesses are going out of business in record numbers” is completely wrong. The economy continues to improve; small and large businesses are doing better.
Cruz also insisted that in the 2014 election, the American people “overwhelmingly” rejected Obamacare and amnesty for immigrants. Actually, exit polls found the exact opposite.
Venerable Sen. John McCain, a feature of many sites that fact check, offered this laugher: “About 30 percent” of prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay on terrorism-related charges “have re-entered the fight.”
Stephen Vladeck, a law professor and expert in national security at American University, said the numbers are suspect since evidence is lacking. "To paraphrase a Scottish writer, Sen. McCain and his colleagues are using these numbers the way drunks use lampposts—more for support than for illumination," Vladeck said.
Then there’s Sen. Marco Rubio, another candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. In opposition to increasing the minimum wage, he claimed in a new book that that “if people work and make more money, they’ll lose more in benefits than they would earn in salary.”
That’s wrong. Politifact.com pointed out in response that “the vast majority of people face some higher taxes and lost benefits when they make more money, but they would still take home more in pay than they would under a lower salary.”
The list could go on: almost every prominent politician from all parties has earned a place on this list of shame, including President Barack Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Mitch McConnell.
However, the most bald-faced liars inhabit Facebook and similar sites, posting insidious fabrication. Often, the images have been photo-shopped to “illustrate” the lies.
Then there’s this Facebook post: “When Obama took office, 2.3 million people were out of work. Five-plus years later, we have 5 million-plus out of work.” The actual facts? “The number of unemployed Americans has declined by 3 million, or by one-fourth, since Obama took office,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This vicious image also made the rounds on Facebook: Supposedly a sign posted in Dearborn, Mich., by the Advancement of Islamic Agenda for America, reads, “Allah be praised. America we will kill you all and nothing you can do to stop it.”
That was photo-shopped. No such group exists. Muslims have lived peacefully in this country for generations.
None of that is true. Clinton gets the usual benefits accorded any elected official and, in her case, as former Secretary of State.
At least FBI Director Comey apologized. Most everyone else has continued spewing nonsense and easily convincing those refusing to do a little fact checking of their own.
Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history, as well as an occasional foray into current events. He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida. You can reach him at www.williamplazarus.com. He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion. His books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers. He can also be followed on Twitter.
You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at http://www.udemy.com/comparative-religion-for-dummies/?promote=1