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Fooled

Dear Editor:

This is my second letter to the editor this summer attempting to dispel misleading and false information from right-wing contributors. The initial letter detailed incorrect assertions regarding the funding of the new health care act submitted by Jim Sawicki, and now I feel compelled to respond to the inaccurate claims by Gary Stansbury regarding General Motors and President Obama. The ludicrous note from Duane Branson I felt needed no response.

Mr. Stansbury states that according to a Bloomberg Report, a publication which he portrays as a, “respected site for business and financial news” and “not known for its gullibility,” GM car sales were up 16 percent for the month of June, the best since 2008. The “article” goes on to state that this jump was due primarily to a 79-percent increase in GM fleet sales to the U.S. government during this time period. Quoting Bloomberg, he says, “Our tax dollars are being used to pump up GM sales figures ahead of next month’s quarterly report so that our Dear Leader can point to ‘Government Motors’ as a success.” He decries this maneuver in other ways and then labels the president as corrupt, finishing with a plea to not be fooled in November.

Unfortunately Mr. Stansbury is the one being fooled. According to factcheck.org, “a respectable site” for evaluating political claims and, “not known for its gullibility,” this was not a Bloomberg Report, but stems from an article by the National Legal and Policy Center, a right-leaning organization. Factcheck explains that while government fleet sales increased 79 percent, it was year over year, not for just the month of June and the term “government” includes state and local governments as well as the federal government. According to GM’s financial news manager, “government fleet sales account for only about 3 percent of GM’s U.S. sales and about three fourths of these are to state and local agencies” (thus the federal government accounts for only .75 percent), adding that state and local purchases are up 36 percent for the year while those by the federal government are down 3.5 percent. Hardly numbers that would bolster the president’s appeal. A similar finding is reported at www.snopes.com/politics/business/gmsales.asp.

The political right has made a plethora of false accusations against President Obama during these last four years. Many of these are detailed at http://factcheck.org/hot-topics. Other websites for evaluating all political claims can be found at snopes.com, politifact.com as well as factcheck.org.

With the election only a few weeks away and massive amounts of money being spent to influence public opinion (thanks to Citizens United), it will take a significant voter effort in order to make a rational decision on Nov. 6. Letters such as Stansbury’s are not helpful to this process.

Ronald Sandler

This story was posted on September 26, 2012.