Reporters should correct Buck when he says media found Bennet ad untrue

The Denver Post yesterday references an exchange between U.S. Senate candidates Ken Buck and Michael Bennet over a Bennet TV ad showing Buck making a series of statements. The Post reports:

The candidates had a sharp exchange over that ad during their first head-to-head debate Saturday. Buck said media examinations had found its assertions to be untrue, while Bennet stood by the claims.

Assuming Buck is referring to the fact checkers CBS4, 7News, and 9News (and I don’t know other news outlets that have checked the ad), this statement is false.

Those fact checkers found numerous portions of the ad to be true.

For exmaple, CBS4 and 9News deemed it true that, according to the ad, “Buck wants to privatize Social Security.” As a Post report recently put it, Buck’s Social Security plan would “offer private Wall Street investments.” And Buck is quoted on The Fix as saying Wall Street historically gets a higher rate of return than Social Security.

9News found it true, as the ad stated, that “Buck even questioned whether social security should exist at all.” On its website, 9News stated: “Buck has said numerous times, including at the Constitutionalist Today forum in March, that the …the idea the federal government should be running health care or retirement or any of those programs is fundamentally against what I believe and that is that the private sector runs programs like that far better.’ (Source: Constitutionalist Today Forum, March 9)”

7News and 9News found it true, as asserted in the ad, that Buck opposes abortion, even in the case of rape and incest. 7News on its website quoted this Buck radio interview:  “If you believe that life begins at conception, which I do, then the exception of rape or incest, you’re taking a life as a result of the crime of the father, and even though I recognize that it’s a terrible misery that that life was conceived under, it is still taking a life in my view, and it’s wrong.”

7News and 9News (on the video version) also found the ad’s statement, “Buck even wants to ban common forms of birth control,” to be true. 9News website states: “Buck believes life …begins at conception,’ so birth control methods that don’t impact that (i.e. condoms, some forms of the pill) are fine with him. Others that would keep a fertilized egg from implanting like hormone-based birth control methods, some other forms of the pill, IUDs, RU-486 and what’s known as the morning-after pill, are not supported by him. (Source: E-mail from Buck spokesman Owen Loftus to 9NEWS, Aug. 26)  As you can see from my blog post on this topic, featuring an interview with the Chair of the Obstetrics Department at the University of Colorado Medical School, all forms of the pill could potentially prevent a fertilized egg from implanting.

As the TV fact checkers might say, here’s the bottom line: Aspects of the ad were found to be true, others out of context or misleading, and just a couple points were deemed false or opinion.

The fact checkers did not say the Bennet ad was untrue, and reporters should correct Buck if he tells them so.

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