Monday, July 14, 2008

Union vs. McCain: Round Two

My last post on this blog talked about the recently launched ad campaign levied against Sen. McCain by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). In that post we looked at an example of the YouTube ad and I offered ruminations on the way that the union is leveraging old and new media to get the word out.

Today lets take a look at what the Annenberg Political Fact Check has to say about the content of those ads. (I really hope these guys pay a lot of attention to health care during the upcoming six months. Their objective analysis of the facts behind the spin is usually indispensable.) Here is one small excerpt from their extensively documented breakdown:

The AFL-CIO, in documentation it provided to, cites four specific votes as support for this allegation. Three of them were against Democratic amendments to the annual budget bill in 2004, 2005 and 2006. And all of them failed along party lines in a Republican-controlled Senate. But in each case, McCain later supported different amendments to increase veterans' health benefits, either on the same day or the following day.

Specifically, in 2004 McCain voted against an increase of $1.8 billion, but an increase of $1.2 billion passed by unanimous consent. In 2005 he voted against an increase of $2.8 billion, then voted for a $410 million increase. And in 2006, he voted against a $1.5 billion increase, then voted for an $823 million increase.
In the increasingly complex flurry of opinion, fact, spin, and rhetoric that surrounds this issue it is more vital than ever to dig down to the roots of any claims made. This is true for both the views you support and the ones that you disagree with.

Think of it like electronic medical records vs. the current system. In the current system the details of a patients health issues can be fragmented across several different hard copy filing systems, each offering only an incomplete picture of the case. The confusion and possibility for mis-diagnosis is high, just as it is when bombarded by the (often ad hominem) arguments and spin surrounding the debate. Just as electronic medical records, once implemented, will allow reconciliation of data from disparate sources and act as a preventative against mistaken assessment of the situation, use of fact checking resources like the Annenberg Political Fact Check can help you reconcile the claims with the realities as the national discussion continues.

SOURCE: "AFL-CIO Falsely Attacks McCain" 07/10/08
photo courtesy of World Economic Forum, used under its Creative Commons license

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