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

  1. PunditFact: Fact-checking the Sept. 28 Sunday shows


    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]
  2. PunditFact fact-checks the Sept. 14 news shows


    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.
  3. PunditFact: Fact-checking the Aug. 24 news shows


    Republicans say President Barack Obama's decision to pull U.S. armed forces out of Iraq created an incubator that allowed the Islamic State to thrive.

    But according to ABC's Martha Raddatz, Obama himself wanted to keep troops stationed in the Middle Eastern powder keg.

    The Obama administration originally "wanted 10,000 troops to remain in Iraq," Raddatz said Sunday on ABC's This Week. "Not combat troops, but military advisers (and) special operations forces, to watch the counterterrorism effort."...

    President Barack Obama planned to leave about 10,000 troops in Iraq, but couldn't reach an agreement with the Iraqi government.
  4. PunditFact: ISIS threat not imminent; NCAA graduation rates vary


    The Sunday shows turned to Washington's de facto Republican foreign policy experts, U.S. Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, to evaluate the situation in Iraq.

    Their prognosis: America faces an imminent threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and President Barack Obama's policies are failing. McCain said Obama's decision to remove U.S. forces from Iraq created a "vacuum of American leadership throughout the Middle East."...

    NCAA President Mark Emmert gestures while speaking at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. The NCAA Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved a package of historic reforms Thursday that will give the nation's five biggest conferences the ability to unilaterally change some of the basic rules governing college sports. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) INMC102
  5. PunditFact fact-checks the Aug. 3 news shows


    Pundits and politicians in Washington spent Sunday talking about why we're talking about impeachment.

    Democrats point the finger at conservatives such as former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who have raised the possibility of impeaching President Barack Obama for what they describe as abuse of his executive power.

    Republicans blame Democrats for stoking an imaginary crisis, using the words of Palin and others as a fundraising gimmick and scare tactic....

    Juan Williams says of  the people who want to impeach President Barack Obama "They are all white, they're all older, and guess what, they're in the far right wing of the Republican Party."
  6. PolitiFact, PunditFact fact-check the Sunday July 27 news shows


    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended military operations in Gaza on Sunday, while U.S. officials debated what should be done in Ukraine, where Russia-backed separatists continue to cause turmoil.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., appeared on CNN's State of the Union and criticized President Barack Obama's handling of the situation in Ukraine and the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash....

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., listens to other Senators speak during a news conference on the violence in the Mideast on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 24, 2014. (AP Photo) DCSW107
  7. PolitiFact: Fact-checking John Kerry on the Sunday shows


    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....

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media after closed-door nuclear talks on Iran taking  place in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Intense negotiations with Iran have yielded  tangible progress,  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday, but significant gaps remain ahead of a July 20 target date for a deal meant to put firm curbs on Tehran s nuclear activities in exchange for an end to sanctions.  (AP Photo/Ronald Zak) XRZ106
  8. PunditFact: Fact-checking the July 13 news shows


    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.' "...

    Rick Santorum
  9. PunditFact: Fact-checking the June 29 news shows


    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.)...

    Former President Bill Clinton speaks to attendees during a televised conversation hosted by Bloomberg TV titled A New Competitive Era: America in the World, on the final day of the annual gathering of the Clinton Global Initiative America, at the Sheraton Downtown, in Denver, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) COBL101
  10. PunditFact: Fact-checking Dick Cheney, Donna Brazile on June 22 news shows


    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
  11. Bergdahl is focus of debates


    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....

  12. PunditFact fact-checks the Sunday June 1 news shows


    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....

    Chris Wallace
  13. PunditFact: Fact-checking the May 18 Sunday shows


    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.)...

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


    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....

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


    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.