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 John Kerry on the Sunday shows

    Politics

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on all five major Sunday news shows making a strong case that Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists were responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and that Russia is complicit in the separatists' actions.

    "Russia has armed the separatists. Russia has trained the separatists," Kerry told ABC This Week host George Stephanopoulos....

  2. PunditFact: Fact-checking the July 13 news shows

    Politics

    Politicians and pundits tried to find someone to blame Sunday for the influx of thousands of Central American children at the southern border of the United States, with Republicans singling out President Barack Obama for sending a "message" that America wouldn't enforce its immigration laws.

    On Fox News Sunday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said "the message is, 'Hey come on up here, everything is great, they're taking care of us.' " On Meet the Press, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum took Perry's thought a step further. "We have a president who said, 'Hey, if you come, you're going to be able to stay, because we're not going to enforce the law.' "...

    Rep. Robert "Beto" O'Rourke, D-Texas
  3. PunditFact: Fact-checking the June 29 news shows

    Politics

    Bill Clinton still wanted to talk about his family's wealth in a taped interview Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, defending Hillary Rodham Clinton for saying the two were "dead broke" after leaving the White House.

    Speaking with NBC host David Gregory from Denver, Clinton said it is "factually true" that his family was several million dollars in debt when the Clintons left the White House. (The public record doesn't prove that conclusively, we previously found.)...

    WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 25:  House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)  hears testimony about the recent surge of unaccompanied Central American minors who have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border since last fall during a hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill June 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. Laying blame with the Obama Administration, the committee heard testimony from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and others about the more than 52,000 immigrant children who have crossed the border alone since October of 2013.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) 499390415
  4. PunditFact: Fact-checking Dick Cheney, Donna Brazile on June 22 news shows

    Politics

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney slammed the foreign policy of President Barack Obama on Sunday, saying the United States is less safe because of what he termed Obama's indifference in the Middle East.

    "I don't intend any disrespect for the president, but I fundamentally disagree with him," Cheney said on ABC's This Week. "I think he's dead wrong in terms of the course he's taken this nation, and I think we're in for big trouble in the years ahead because of his refusal to recognize reality and because of his continual emphasis upon getting the U.S. basically to withdraw from that part of the world."...

    In this photo released by ABC former Vice President Dick Cheney is interviewed on ABC's This Week in Washington Sunday Feb. 14, 2010. Pingponging across the airwaves, Vice President Joe Biden and predecessor Cheney bickered Sunday over terror trials and interrogations. (AP Photo/ABC, Fred Watkins) ** MANDATORY CREDIT: CBS NEWS, NO ARCHIVES, NO SALES ** WX112
  5. Bergdahl is focus of debates

    News

    As Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl recuperates at a military hospital in Germany and the five Taliban soldiers swapped for him enjoy their first days of freedom in Qatar, pundits and politicians on Sunday continued to debate whether the prisoner exchange was wise.

    Critics of the prisoner swap were careful not to criticize President Barack Obama's decision to try and rescue Bergdahl, despite Bergdahl's decision to allegedly walk off a U.S. military base. Rather, they centered on the terms of the deal, in which the United States traded the five Taliban detainees, some of whom are considered high risk....

    Charles Krauthammer columnist for Washington Post.
  6. PunditFact fact-checks the Sunday June 1 news shows

    National

    Saturday's news of the release of America's lone prisoner of war in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, launched a debate about whether the United States should be negotiating with terrorists.

    Conservative pundits and politicians argued on the Sunday news shows that President Barack Obama's decision to deal with the Taliban increases the likelihood that more American soldiers could be targeted by terrorists....

    Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas
  7. PunditFact: Fact-checking the May 18 Sunday shows

    Politics

    Karl Rove's comments this month about a concussion suffered by Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2012 bled over into the Sunday news shows, where pundits debated what Rove said and what Rove meant.

    Rove was quoted in the New York Post last week, saying Clinton spent 30 days in the hospital. (She did not.) "And when she reappears, she's wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury?" (They are not.)...

  8. PunditFact fact-checks the Sunday May 11 news shows

    Politics

    Fox News pundit George Will doesn't think much of the #BringOurGirlsBack Twitter campaign to draw attention to the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria.

    Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Will called the Twitter hashtag "an exercise in self-esteem."

    "I don't know how adults stand there, facing a camera, and say, 'Bring back our girls.' Are these barbarians in the wilds of Nigeria supposed to check their Twitter accounts and say 'Uh-oh, Michelle Obama is very cross with us, we better change our behavior,' " Will said....

  9. PunditFact: Fact-checking the May 4 news shows

    National

    You couldn't accuse the mainstream media on Sunday of ignoring the investigation into the response to the attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

    Pundits across the major networks debated the significance of a newly released email suggesting the White House attempted to shape public statements of Susan Rice, then-ambassador to the United Nations, in the days following the September 2012 violence....

    Susan Rice, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was a big topic Sunday on TV news shows over the significance of a newly released email suggesting that the White House attempted to shape her public statements in the wake of the Benghazi attacks in September 2012. In a series of interviews on the Sunday news shows in 2012, Rice stressed that the violence was a reaction to an anti-Muslim Internet video and not part of an organized terrorist assault. The Obama administration acknowledged a terrorist connection a few days later.
  10. Political pundits err in talk about Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling

    Perspective

    Political pundits turned from health care to basketball last week to discuss news surrounding racist comments made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

    But they didn't always get their facts straight, PunditFact found.

    Drudge: 'Sterling is a Democrat'

    When Sterling was outed for making racist comments, conservatives leapt to dig deeper and came up with a surprising find. Sterling is a Democrat....

    Donald Sterling, the L.A. Clippers owner who has been banned for life from the NBA.
  11. PunditFact fact-checks the Sunday April 27 news shows

    National

    Pundits on Sunday spun two news events — the Supreme Court's 6-2 decision allowing states to effectively ban affirmative action, and racist comments allegedly made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling — into a discussion melding race and income inequality.

    The statistics they cited were largely on the mark.

    On ABC's This Week, Fusion reporter Alicia Menendez argued that differences in wealth in the United States aren't just generational, they're racial....

  12. PunditFact: Fact-checking the April 13 news shows

    National

    Another Sunday, another set of misrepresentations about the Affordable Care Act.

    On ABC's This Week, a gaggle of pundits discussed the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. That evolved into a debate about the law's effectiveness and the implications for the midterm elections.

    Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham argued that the health care law is resulting in higher health care costs and fewer health care choices, claims that got a rise out of liberal pundit James Carville....

  13. PunditFact: Fact-checking the April 6 news shows

    National

    A pair of politicians on Sunday debated gun policies on military bases in the wake of the Fort Hood shooting, while a conservative pundit wanted to talk Obamacare poll numbers.

    On Fox News Sunday, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., discussed what could have been done to prevent last week's shooting, which killed four including the shooter.

    McCaul noted that most servicemen are prohibited from carrying guns while on a military base and said that Congress should consider lifting the prohibition. Kaine said the decision should be left up to commandeers, not politicians, and tried to downplay the idea that guns aren't available or accessible on bases....

    Mars Gun Range is one of many near Fort Hood, in Florence, Texas. The Army specialist at Fort Hood who killed three and wounded 16 of his fellow soldiers on Wednesday had an angry dispute over a leave request shortly before the shooting rampage, a law enforcement official said Friday.
  14. Who is behind the attacks from the left on Charlie Crist?

    Blog

    UPDATE 4:10 p.m.: We have heard from Fontaine via email. Her comments are included in this blog post.

    A shadowy group calling itself Progressive Choice is attacking Charlie Crist as "a conservative Republican" who is "no friend of progressive Democrats."

    Mailers started showing up around the state over the weekend, claiming Crist is pro-life, A+ rated by the NRA and that he signed a petition banning gay marriage....

  15. PunditFact: Fact-checking the Sunday news shows

    State Roundup

    An internal report clearing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of wrongdoing in the "Bridgegate" scandal has breathed new life into the months-old controversy.

    On Sunday, politicians and pundits debated the findings of the report — which was ordered by Christie — and how much stock to put into the investigation in the first place.

    Former New York City mayor and Christie ally Rudy Giuliani said the report isn't a complete investigation, but it is a good first step. "I think this is a pretty strong report. It is not conclusive. No one claims it is, but it's a good step in the right direction," Giuliani said on Meet the Press....