Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Politics

PunditFact fact-checks the Sunday news shows

Renewed talk about the NSA's spying programs gave pundits and politicians the opportunity to revisit history on the Sunday talk shows.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., argued on NBC's Meet the Press that the NSA collection of phone records might have foiled the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks if the program had been in place sooner.

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer noted on Fox News Sunday that new spying techniques may be appropriate because "the threat has changed."

And over on ABC's This Week, conservative pundit Bill Kristol attempted to use President Barack Obama as an example of how knee-jerk reactions against the NSA surveillance program could be misguided.

He said Obama "came into office very concerned about" wiretappings but "then he became president of the United States, he got all the briefings ... (and) he decided ... the balance is probably pretty appropriately struck."

Kristol for the most part gets his history correct, PunditFact found.

Obama was a reliable critic of the post-Sept. 11 surveillance efforts launched by President George W. Bush during Obama's early years in the U.S. Senate. And those concerns certainly dwindled when Obama moved into the White House.

But Obama's opinions shifted, at least to some extent, even before becoming president. In 2008, Obama voted for a bill in the Senate that essentially approved warrantless wiretapping. The shift was so notable that his presidential rival at the time called him a flip-flopper, a claim PolitiFact rated True.

Because of that caveat, we rate Kristol's claim Mostly True.

Of course, like most Sundays, there also was talk about the health care law.

On Fox News Sunday, conservative pundit George Will discussed last week's announcement that people who had their health insurance canceled can now purchase a bare bones plan that only covers major medical expenses without facing the threat of a fine.

It's another change in the rollout of the law, Will said.

"At this point, it's very hard to quantify, (but) perhaps most of the law has already in some sense been waived or otherwise suspended," Will said. "The president said this week that the suspensions of the employer mandate, the individual mandate, etc., etc., etc., do not go to the core of the law. If not that, what is the core of the law?"

Will took it a bit too far, PunditFact found.

There have been a number of modest administrative changes to the law, including giving people an extra week to sign up for coverage to begin in January and giving insurance companies an extra month at the end of next year to set premiums.

In addition to the major change Will mentions, Obama also delayed a requirement that all companies with 50 or more employees provide their workers health care coverage.

While precise data are missing, the combined impact of the two major revisions could affect about 1 million Americans.

On the other side of the ledger, 3.1 million young adults have gained access to coverage through the law, another 18 million people are subject to the individual mandate and tens of millions more have benefited from requirements that health insurance companies spend premiums on care. Plus, there are the people who have enrolled for health care coverage through the expansion of Medicaid or on the federal marketplace.

That tipped the balances away from Will. We rate his claim Mostly False.

Times staff writers Jon Greenberg and Katie Sanders contributed to this report. Aaron Sharockman is the editor of PunditFact.com.

Comments

Sean Hannity, a Trump defender, under scrutiny for real estate deals

Atlanta Journal-Constitution (TNS)ATLANTA — On his Fox News program last summer, Sean Hannity effused praise for his guest, U.S. Housing Secretary Ben Carson. "I know you have done a good job," Hannity said. "You are a good man."Carson’s presence gav...
Published: 04/23/18
Having Cuba in the name of your company can be a financial risk and there is no solution

Having Cuba in the name of your company can be a financial risk and there is no solution

With the third largest Cuban American population, Cuba’s culture is celebrated throughout the Tampa Bay area and in a diversity of ways.Flags hang in homes, fashion is worn, music performed, food served.But be wary of honoring that heritage by puttin...
Published: 04/23/18
Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

WEST PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump said Saturday that he doesn’t expect Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen’s business dealings. Trump, in a series of tweets fired from Florida o...
Published: 04/21/18

Vive la France: Trump hosts glitzy White House state dinner

WASHINGTON — Now it’s President Donald Trump’s turn to pull off the ultimate charm offensive. Wined and dined on multiple state visits during his tour of Asia last year, Trump is paying it forward and celebrating nearly 250 years of U.S.-French relat...
Published: 04/21/18
Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

The writer of the letter sounds hysterical. Perhaps a little desperate. And maybe that’s just who Marion Hammer is these days.Most of the world knows her as the take-no-prisoners maven of the National Rifle Association who directs Florida politicians...
Published: 04/21/18
Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Scott’s first policy idea as a U.S. Senate candidate won’t happen and most of his fellow Republicans don’t support it.But it’s a surefire applause line at political rallies.Scott wants term limits for members of Congress: 12 ye...
Published: 04/23/18
Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

WASHINGTON — Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, is "very upset and disappointed" by comments made by his former boss James Comey that contradict his account of a disclosure to the news media, McCabe’s lawyer said Friday. "Andy has at all ...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

The one thing you can say for sure about electing a mayor in Tampa is you can’t really say anything for sure.Historical proof: A couple of elections ago, Harvard-educated hometown-boy-gone-to-Washington Frank Sanchez was going to be our next mayor, h...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Published: 04/20/18
Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

TAMPA — For months, Tampa political aficionados have speculated: Will she or won’t she?Does Jane Castor, the city’s first woman police chief and presumed heavyweight mayoral candidate, really want the job? Asked and answered. Castor filed paperwork T...
Published: 04/19/18