Tuesday, September 14, 2010

FACT CHECK: Fact Checking the Spin On a Fact Checker; Or, Trying To Make Lemonade In the AG's Race

This is an interesting one.  Just received this news release from the Tom Horne campaign, strongly implying Felecia Rotellini of lying to the Arizona Republic after stone-walling on Horne's claim in last week's AG debate that she exaggerated her prosecutorial experience.

Tracking down the Republic's Fact Check (which isn't as easy as it should be) shows that the Republic actually concludes that Horne's statement in the debate was more false than true, and does not show that Rotellini mislead.


The Republic gave Horne two stars (more false than true) on his comment in the debate.  That is a pretty fair grade.

Horne then puts out his news release titled: "HORNE: ROTELLINI HAS NEVER TRIED A CASE IN HER ENTIRE LIFE."  He claims that Rotellini "touts herself as a "veteran prosecutor," has in fact never tried a case in her entire life."  The use of the phrase "in fact" connotes that only attorneys who have "tried cases" can be considered "veteran prosecutors".  It is unlikely that Horne could support that claim.

He then implies that Rotellini gave the Republic a list of eight cases as proof that she had tried them.  (He notes that he researched them and, "it turned out that Rotellini did not proceed to trial on any of the eight cases.")  A review of the Republic Fact Check shows that she gave them the list of eight as proof that she prosecuted them before a grand jury, spent time arguing the cases in Superior Court, and/or briefed/argued them in the Court of Appeals.

CONCLUSION: An "A" for effort on trying to turn around the two-star scolding by the Republic's Fact Check, but a "B-" for continuing misleading on his claim that only attorneys who actually try the case before a jury can be considered "veteran prosecutors."

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