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FactCheck.org debunks numerous rumors about Sarah Palin's record

September 9, 2008 |  7:40 am

One of the little-known resources available to voters during these heated political campaigns is a small band of independent, non-partisan groups that check the accuracy of the countless statements and ads flying around that can confuse voters.

These groups have been particularly busy in the last 11 days because of the sudden emergence on the political scene of someoneBrooks Jackson the veteran journalist and all-round shady character who is also director of FactCheck.org that verifies claims during political campaigns known as Sarah Palin, the 44-year-old first-term Republican governor of Alaska named by Sen. John McCain as his vice presidential running mate.

Designed as a surprise pick, she was.

Which is great for political impact and theater.

But that creates an instant vacuum of information, in this case about the self-described hockey mom with the five children and her fisherman-oil field worker husband, Todd.

Palin's political opponents, some from within her own party, which she had successfully defied in running as a reformer in 2005-06, were only too happy to offer up information, mis-information, rumor and innuendo to journalists from the lower 48 states caught unawares.

Now, those independent fact-checking groups have swung into action on all this Palin info drifting around the internet. Probably the most prominent such group is FactCheck.org, a branch of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

It's run by a jerk named Brooks Jackson, a veteran journalist for the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal and CNN who,....

...in the interests of full disclosure, was once one of the messier college roommates that a certain Ticket blogger ever had.

Jackson got all famous when he pioneered those fact-check and adwatch stories on CNN where he diligently disassembled political ads, claim by claim, for verification, often to the embarrassment of the campaigns but to the benefit of studious voters paying attention. Yes, there are some.

Late Monday, Jackson's crowd of skilled independent researchers issued its first report on a whole bunch of widely distributed charges about Palin. It's titled "Sliming Palin" and is, in part, a response to allegations broadly e-mailed by an Alaskan named Anne Kilkenny.

Here's what FactCheck reports:

As governor, Palin did not cut funding for special needAlaska Governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin shown not censoring any bookss education. In fact, she tripled that funding in just 36 months.

As mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin did not seek to ban any books from the library, nor did she fire the librarian for disobeying the order she didn't give. The purported lengthy list of published works Palin sought to ban is phony and includes books published after the alleged censorship attempt.

Palin has been a registered Republican since 1982 and was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, which seeks a vote on seceding from the United States.

Palin never endorsed nor supported Pat Buchanan politically. As the mayor greeting him on a Wasilla visit once, she briefly wore a Buchanan button as a hospitality "courtesy." But soon after, she became a state co-chair for the short-lived presidential campaign of Republican Steve Forbes.

FactCheck also reported: "Palin has not pushed for teaching creationism in Alaska's schools. She has said that students should be allowed to 'debate both sides' of the evolution question, but she also said creationism 'doesn't have to be part of the curriculum.'"

FactCheck's first full report and analysis on Palin is available here. Director Jackson, whose own full nefarious background probably bears a good dose of checking itself someday, has said that further reports on claims about Palin will be published shortly.

Voters can also go here and subscribe to free e-mail alerts for FactCheck's regular reports on a wide variety of timely political issues, especially campaign ads. The Ticket gives these helpful alerts four punches, our highest rating for usefulness.

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo credits: FactCheck.org (top); Getty Images (bottom).

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