Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PunditFact fact-checks Vladimir Putin's appearance on ABC's 'This Week'

President Barack Obama's call for modest reforms of the National Security Administration's massive data collection program was met with skepticism from both the right and the left on the Sunday news shows.

Obama stayed vague in his Friday address, but proposed limiting the NSA's ability to collect and review phone calls and electronic communications of millions of people around the world.

"He sounded like a political figure attempting to strike the right balance," conservative Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan said on ABC's This Week. "The speech ultimately was unsatisfying."

Liberal political commentator Tavis Smiley voiced frustration for another reason. Of the spying programs, Smiley said, "You cannot convince me how the dots connect to make us safer."

NSA talk permeated all five Sunday shows, three of which included an interview with House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich. Rogers suggested NSA leaker Edward Snowden may have been aided by the Russian government.

"Let me just say this. I believe there's a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB (Federal Security Service) agent in Moscow," Rogers said.

This Week secured a rare interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin told host George Stephanopoulos that Snowden, who is currently living in Russia, is welcome to attend the upcoming Olympics in Sochi.

Putin also defended a new Russian law that makes it illegal to display "gay propaganda" in front of children. Before Americans criticize Russia, they should first look inward, he said.

"In some of the states in the U.S., homosexuality remains a felony," Putin said.

That rates False.

Several states still have sodomy laws on the books, and a few specifically prohibit gay sodomy. But they are unenforceable and have been for a decade after the Supreme Court ruled the laws unconstitutional.

Putin's comment misrepresents the reality in the United States, where many states have legalized gay marriage or passed anti-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation, said Dale Carpenter, a University of Minnesota constitutional law professor.

"It's much bigger than just sodomy laws," he said. "But if you want to focus on just that, it's a whole lot more complicated than saying the states have felony laws. That just hardly scratches the surface."

Putin also defended the Russian law by saying that it's not a crime to be gay in Russia, as it is in many other places in the world.

In Russia "all people are absolutely equal regardless of their religion, sex, ethnicity or sexual orientation," he said, while "70 countries of the world have criminal liability for homosexuality."

That claim is Half True.

According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, 76 nations consider being gay a crime. Nearly half of those countries, 36, are in Africa.

But it's a stretch for Putin to say all people in Russian are "equal."

In June 2013, Putin signed a law banning promotion of "non-traditional sexual relations" toward minors, a prohibition on so-called "homosexual propaganda." The Russian law places stiff fines on individuals and companies that promote homosexuality in front of children, whether in public or through media or the Internet. Critics say the law essentially bans homosexuals from speaking out in public. The scope of the law is broad, and it's not clear how it will be enforced.

Same-sex relationships are not recognized in Russia. Same-sex couples also cannot adopt and lesbians cannot undergo artificial insemination to have children. Employers are not banned from discriminating based on sexual orientation. Gay pride parades are also banned and have been going back to 2005.

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

The statement

"In some of the states in the U.S., homosexuality remains a felony."

Vladimir Putin, on ABC's "This Week"

The ruling

PunditFact ruling: False

Several states still have sodomy laws on the books, and a few specifically prohibit gay sodomy. But the laws are unenforceable and have been for a decade after a Supreme Court ruling. That makes Putin's statement that "homosexuality remains a felony" inaccurate. We rate it False.

The statement

In Russia "all people are absolutely equal regardless of their religion, sex, ethnicity, or sexual orientation," while "70 countries of the world have criminal liability for homosexuality."

Vladimir Putin, on ABC's "This Week"

PunditFact ruling: Half True

Putin's estimate is pretty close to the 76 highlighted by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and it's true the organization did not include Russia in that number. But Putin also was far too rosy in his depiction of how the country treats gays and lesbians. We rate his claim Half True.

PunditFact fact-checks Vladimir Putin's appearance on ABC's 'This Week' 01/19/14 [Last modified: Sunday, January 19, 2014 10:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Half of Florida lawmakers fail or nearly fail review of support for public records

    State Roundup

    WEST PALM BEACH — Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.

    State Senator Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton (left) and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran ranked on opposite sides of the spectrum in an analysis of support for open records. Galvano scored a B-minus and Corcoran scored a D-plus.
[Times file photo]
  2. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  3. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  4. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane

    Bucs

    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.