Wednesday, September 15, 2010

FACT CHECK FOLLOW-UP: Legislative Candidate Doesn't Pull False Claim

One of the things that bothers me even as Fact Checking has - thankfully - become more prevalent over the past few years is when campaigns/candidates IGNORE the fact checkers publicly calling them out on their falsehoods or misrepresentations.  If anything, it got worse in the last election cycle and the trend is showing signs of continuing.

So, Arizona's Politics is going to try to do its part to continue holding false-tellers' feet to the fire.  We will try to follow-up on the most egregious misrepresentations to see if and how it has been remedied.  If you have any suggestions for this series, please comment below or e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com.

Eleven days ago, the Arizona Republic gave a one-star, "false" rating to State Legislative candidate Jeff Dial.  Dial is running on a Republican slate for Legislative District 20.  His website has seven pages devoted to detailing where Dial stands on various issues (immigration, education, economy, taxes, crime, family, Second Amendment).  To his credit, six of those pages expressed his views in a positive manner, not once attacking "liberals" or his Democratic opponent.

However, on the crime page, his views are expressed in a negative form.  As the Republic's Fact Check notes, he attacks... falsely.  The quote that the Republic focused on:  "Some liberal Arizona legislators have recently offered reducing sentence times and prison stays for violent criminals just to help balance the state budget. Jeff Dial strongly opposes such liberal and dangerous practices."  It is unclear whether Dial was trying to imply that his Democratic opponent (Rae Waters) was one of those legislators.

The Republic explains that it was actually Republican Cecil Ash who was "pushing to examine this option," that noone advocated for reducing sentences for "violent criminals", and that a Democratic party spokesperson says no Democratic lawmakers have offered the idea.  Dial told the Republic that he lifted the statement from a GOP voter survey question which had no supporting documentation.

He received a one-star "false" rating from the Arizona Republic.

The false language is still on the website - without explanation or justification - ten days later.

CONCLUSION:  Dial receives a second "F" to go with the Republic's rating.  

And, I guess a special "F" shout out has to go to whoever put together that false and misleading "voter survey" for the Republicans; such combo "push poll"/solicitation direct mail is common, and this shows that even some candidates can be led into promoting the misrepresentations or falsehoods.

As the late President Reagan might have told him: "Mr. Dial, tear down this false web page."


UPDATE (9/27): Arizona's Politics has left both detailed voice mail and e-mail messages for Mr. Dial, to (re-)alert him to the initial Arizona Republic Fact Check and our follow-up.  At this moment, the false language is still in place.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something on your mind that is unrelated to this post, please send an e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

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