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Aaron Sharockman, PunditFact Editor

Aaron Sharockman

Aaron Sharockman is editor of PunditFact.com, a fact-checking project launched by the Tampa Bay Times in November 2013. Previously he served as deputy government and politics editor for the Times, and a writer and editor for PolitiFact.com. Sharockman has been following Florida government and politics for the Times since 2003 and has city governments in Clearwater and St. Petersburg, and the Tampa Bay Rays' pursuit of a new baseball stadium. He's a graduate of Indiana University.

Phone: (727) 892-2273

Email: asharockman@tampabay.com

Twitter: @ASharock

Blog: PunditFact

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  1. PolitiFact: Fact-checking House Speaker John Boehner's tallies of President Obama's actions

    National

    House Republican leaders fanned out across the Sunday shows to defend their attempts to overturn President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration through a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security.

    The group came armed with the same talking point and a very specific claim.

    "The president chose to use an authority that he said 22 separate times that he didn't have the authority to do," Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told Meet the Press' Chuck Todd....

    House Speaker John Boehner says President Barack Obama said 22 times that he couldn’t take executive action on immigration, and that he made “unilateral changes” to Obamacare 38 times.
  2. Perspective: Without PunditFact, pundits stand uncorrected

    Perspective

    WASHINGTON

    The staff of PunditFact flipped the script last week at the National Press Club. Instead of fact-checking pundits, we hosted a roundtable of talking heads to discuss how they operate on television, and how we affect (or don't affect) their lives.

    Pundits punditing about PunditFact.

    "I thought that was a brilliant idea when I first read about PunditFact. I thought that's great, we really need that," said Kathleen Parker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and Meet the Press regular. ...

    PunditFact Editor Aaron Sharockman and Donna Brazile after the panel conversation. National Press Club event for PunditFact.
  3. PunditFact: Checking claims about al-Qaida, measles vaccinations

    Politics

    Super Sunday brought talk about the spread of terrorists abroad and the spread of measles back home.

    PunditFact fact-checked a pair of claims.

    On Fox News Sunday, retired Army Gen. Jack Keane discussed the situation in the Middle East with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and foreign policy expert Dennis Ross. Keane made the case that the foreign policy of President Barack Obama is not working, saying that "al-Qaida has grown fourfold in five years."...

    Fighters from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa, Syria, last summer.
  4. PunditFact: Ohio Gov. John Kasich puts words in Abraham Lincoln's mouth about tax policy

    Politics

    Republicans thinking of running for president in 2016 began their tour of the news shows Sunday.

    On CNN, former Sen. Rick Santorum touted his national security experience. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal discussed his religion on ABC. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee talked Common Core on NBC. And on Fox News Sunday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich quoted Abraham Lincoln in criticizing President Barack Obama's proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy to fund tax cuts and government programs for the middle class....

  5. PolitiFact: For all the talk about Keystone, U.S. is world's top oil producer

    Politics

    A new year means a new Congress and, with Republicans holding majorities in both the House and Senate, a new set of priorities in Washington.

    The Sunday shows discussed the road ahead, including Congress' plan to vote on approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., made the case for the pipeline, saying that it creates jobs and does not harm the environment....

    South Dakota Senator John Thune addresses the delegates during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)  RNC735
  6. PolitiFact launches Kickstarter to live fact-check the 2015 State of the Union

    National

    PolitiFact is launching a Kickstarter campaign to live fact-check and annotate the 2015 State of the Union address and GOP response.

    The Tampa Bay Times started PolitiFact in 2007 with the promise of separating fact from fiction in the spin offered by politicians. Since then, PolitiFact has published nearly 10,000 fact-checks and brought its independent accountability journalism to nearly a dozen states. Last year, the Times launched PunditFact with the help of grants to try to keep TV's talking heads honest....

  7. PolitiFact's Lie of the Year for 2014: Distorted claims on Ebola virus

    National

    Thomas Eric Duncan left Monrovia, Liberia, on Sept. 19 for Dallas. Eleven days later, doctors diagnosed Duncan with Ebola.

    Eight days after that, he was dead.

    Duncan's case is just one of two Ebola-related fatalities in the United States, and since Duncan traveled to Dallas, more Americans — at least nine, and likely many more — have died from the flu.

    Yet fear of the disease stretched to every corner of America this fall, stoked by exaggerated claims from politicians and pundits. They said Ebola was easy to catch, that illegal immigrants may be carrying the virus across the southern border, that it was all part of a government or corporate conspiracy....

  8. PunditFact: Fact-checking the Nov. 16 news shows

    Politics

    Senate Democrats' decision to hold a vote this week on approval of the Keystone XL pipeline stoked a new round of discussions about the controversial project on the Sunday news shows.

    The $8 billion project shuffling a heavy crude oil mixture from western Canada to Steele City, Neb., has long been on hold pending a review by President Barack Obama and the State Department, which must determine if it "serves the national interest" because it crosses an international border. The pipeline would connect with an existing southern leg that opened early this year, delivering more than 800,000 barrels of oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast....

    President Barack Obama is shown at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard in Cushing, Okla., in 2012. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would connect western Canada with Nebraska.
  9. Fact-checking Barack Obama on the Nov. 9 Sunday shows

    Politics

    President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on Sunday television, telling CBS' Bob Schieffer that Democrats lost last week's midterm elections because his party failed to articulate the economic progress the country has made over the past six years.

    "The message that I took from this election, and we've seen this in a number of elections, successive elections, is people want to see this city work. And they feel as if it's not working," Obama said in a taped interview from the Oval Office....

    FILE -  CNN Legal Analyst Greta Van Susteren, shown in this undated handout photo, says O. J. Simpson has agreed to a no-holes-barred interview with the network but no date has been set for it. (AP Photo/HO, CNN)
  10. PunditFact fact-checks the Oct. 19 news shows

    Politics

    Talk show host Tavis Smiley bemoaned politicians and the media for Ebola fear-mongering on ABC's This Week Sunday, saying things aren't as bad as people are claiming.

    About the same time on Fox News Sunday, conservative columnist George Will stoked panic by saying doctors now think that Ebola could spread through the air via a cough or a sneeze.

    "The problem is the original assumption was — said with great certitude if not certainty — was that you need to have direct contact, meaning with bodily fluids from someone, because it's not airborne," Will said. "There are now doctors who are saying we're not so sure that it can't be in some senses transmitted by airborne."...

    In this Sept. 30 file photo, Gordon Kamara, left, is sprayed by Konah Deno after they loaded six patients suspected to have been infected by the Ebola virus into their ambulance in the village of Freeman Reserve, about 30 miles north of Monrovia, Liberia. [Associated Press]
  11. PunditFact: Top 5 falsehoods about Ebola

    Health

    The spread of Ebola in West Africa, and now into Dallas, has stoked plenty of misinformation about the Ebola virus, its origins and the government's response.

    PolitiFact and PunditFact have been fact-checking claims about the Ebola outbreak since July. Here are our top five falsehoods.

    1 No, illegal immigrants haven't carried Ebola across the border.

    In July, Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., wrote to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claiming that people are crossing the southern U.S. border carrying Ebola, citing "reports."...

    Workers at a Doctors Without Borders treatment center for Ebola in Monrovia, Liberia, Sept. 13, 2014. The group known in much of the world as Medecins Sans Frontieres was the first to respond to the crisis, and remains the primary aid group battling the disease here but it, too, has been overwhelmed by the scope of the disaster. (Samuel Aranda/The New York Times) XNYT66
  12. PunditFact: Fact-checking the Oct. 12 news shows

    Politics

    News that a Texas hospital worker has Ebola dominated the news shows Sunday, with networks stoking fears that the virus could continue to spread in the United States.

    On CNN's State of the Union, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told viewers that the latest developments directly contradict the assurances of President Barack Obama and his administration.

    "We were told there would never be a case of Ebola in the United States," McCain said....

    WASHINGTON - AUGUST 15:  Family Research Council President Tony Perkins attends a news conference about TheCall August 15, 2008 in Washington, DC. TheCall is a Pentacostal and Evangelical Christian event including worship and fasting Saturday on the National Mall.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
  13. PunditFact: Fact-checking military might, trust in government

    Politics

    Conservatives on Sunday wanted to discuss people's waning faith in government.

    On CNN's State of the Union, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., rattled off a laundry list of failures of Congress and President Barack Obama. On Fox News Sunday, conservative pundit George Will compared the mind-set of Americans today with the Ronald Reagan years.

    Graham was asked what Republicans should prioritize if they take control of the Senate in the midterm elections....

    President Barack Obama greets troops at MacDill Air Force Base on Sept. 17, when he discussed the strategy to fight ISIS.
  14. PunditFact: Fact-checking the Sept. 28 Sunday shows

    Politics

    The debate about the airstrikes in Syria continued Sunday as pundits compared President Barack Obama to President George W. Bush and wondered why Congress is currently in recess.

    On CNN's State of the Union, political commentator LZ Granderson said Obama is losing favor among his base because of his recent foreign policy decisions. In 2008, Obama supporters were tired of the wars started under Bush and were hoping that a new president would bring them to a close....

    In this Sept. 23 photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, a F-15E Strike Eagle receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria. [Associated Press]
  15. PunditFact fact-checks the Sept. 14 news shows

    Politics

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is facing plenty of questions about his handling of a domestic violence investigation into NFL running back Ray Rice, who was suspended indefinitely last week after video showed him hitting his now-wife in an Atlantic City, N.J., casino elevator.

    Reports suggest the NFL did little to acquire the video, which was first published by gossip website TMZ.com, or that the NFL had the video in its possession all along....

    Janay and Ray Rice speak to the media together in May at the Baltimore Ravens' headquarters.