Friday, October 29, 2010

FACT CHECK: The Anti-Dial Mailer (LD20) That Spurred Massive (Sign) Counter-Attack; Where Is SEIU? For That Matter, Where Is Arizona List?

Yesterday, Arizona's Politics was the first to begin reporting on the massive (8' X 8', not 4x8 as mentioned yesterday) signs which GOP nominee
1) Initial Post, With Text of Signs
2) FACT CHECK Of Dial's Signs, Web Page
3) View the Mailer Being Fact Checked Here

Today, we Fact Check the (previously) mysterious mailer that touched off the sign firestorm.  As a bonus, we revisit yesterday's Fact Check of Dial's web page.

The headline of the mailer (under a picture of a woman supposedly reacting negatively to the headless man standing behind her chair) is "Jeff Dial was kicked out of his Republican group for 'harassment of women.'"  It also notes that it is "paid for by East Valley Education Council. Funding from Arizona List. 520-327-0520."

The flip side of the mailer notes that the vote was unanimous and that there was "news coverage".  It cites the group blog/website (mentioned in our 2nd post yesterday) "Political Mafioso" as its source.

Unfortunately for the East Valley Education Council ("EVEC")/Arizona List, that blog post does NOT cite "news coverage" nor "press reports" for its (thorough if not one-sided) discussion of Dial's activities.  It DOES cite "news coverage" for the arrest of Arizona GOP Executive Director Brett Mecum (who the blog poster claims is a roommate/co-conspirator of Dial's), and it IS a bit tricky to delineate where the "press report" ended and the blog post resumed.  However, it is easy to see that this lengthy discussion of the in-fighting and the alleged "hostile takeover" took place nowhere other than in this anonymous blog post.  (Sidenote: My post yesterday noted that the website was contributed to by several Republicans including Scott Bundgaard;  it did not indicate that Bundgaard had written the voluminous post.)

So, the raison d'etre for this mailer - the headline and half of the substance - is based solely on one anonymous enemy's wordy post.  Bad.  Very bad.

The third claim (#2 also came from "Ghost" at Political Mafioso) is that "Dial lied about his education."  It cites an Arizona Republic article from Aug. 21, 2004 that states that "he has not or never attained a degree". (from Dial's first campaign for the house seat).  Dial's response was to post a picture of his diploma and to say that the article was "retracted".  The picture shows that the diploma was dated Aug. 6, 2004.  the story and the diploma could have "crossed in the mail." The article is not found on the internet, so it may indeed have been removed. 

The mailer does not claim that he never received a degree, it claims that he "lied about his education" when he "told a reporter he graduated in spring 2004."  If that is true, he did lie if he did not receive it until August. 

Finally, the mailer states that Dial was "caught lying in his campaign".  It cites the Arizona Republic Fact Check that Arizona's Politics has also written about.  A portion of Dial's "issues" section of his website claims that "liberal Arizona legislators have recently offered reducing sentence times and prison stays for violent criminals just to help balance the state budget."  The Republic found it to be "false", and Arizona's Politics has left a number of messages for Mr. Dial asking him whether he plans to respond or remove the false information.  Follow-up posts have brought this to the public's attention.  (Most recent example)  Still, the lie was about one sentence from an otherwise decent "issues" section; to imply that the Republic gave Jeff Dial - as a person - "it's (sic) lowest possible rating for truthfulness" is less than truthful itself.

So, the main half of the mailer is pushing anonymous gossip about in-fighting as being fact.  If it had accurately sourced it instead of claiming to be using "news coverage" and "press reports", it might have passed.  Barely.  The second half is a bit misleading, but is not false.

Overall, this mailer gets a grade of "F".  The 2nd half is not enough to offset the headlining half.

Due to the length of this post, I have moved the portion discussing the origin of this mailer to a new post, and will update the Dial Fact Check on that post.

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

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