I Think You’re Going to Need Bigger Pinocchios

by Mark Krikorian

Some political claims are vague or ambiguous or unfalsifiable. Even more than the bias of the writers, this is what often makes the fact-checking enterprise of PolitiFact and its ilk difficult.

But some claims are unambiguously false. Case in point: The latest ad from Zuckerberg’s conservative sock-puppet pro-amnesty group, Americans for a Conservative Direction (would any actual conservative come up with a name like that?):

It says “Conservatives [like Schumer? -- MK] have a plan: Secure the border first. Period.”

Where’s the four-pinocchios, pants-on-fire fact-checking here? The Schumer-Rubio bill does not secure the border first. Rubio was emphatic about that yesterday on Univision:

Let’s be clear. Nobody is talking about preventing the legalization. The legalization is going to happen. That means the following will happen: First comes the legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border. And then comes the process of permanent residence. What we’re talking about here is the system of permanent residence. As for the legalization, the enormous majority of my colleagues have accepted that it has to happen and that it has to begin at the same time we begin the measures for [the border]. It is not conditional. The legalization is not conditional.

The Zuckerberg ad continued: “And illegal immigrants must learn English.” Can we give this one five Pinocchios? The bill only requires that the amnesty beneficiaries be enrolled in an English class to qualify for the upgrade from green-card-lite to green-card-premium.

The producers of the ad are either mendacious or ignorant. The second explanation is likely for a Politico piece today on the fight over the bill’s assimilation portions that makes the same claim; it says “Although the bill requires immigrants to learn English and civics to get a green card . . .” when it does no such thing.

In lieu of the media doing its job, here’s a handy guide to words and phrases that guarantee the speaker is either trying to deceive you or has no idea what’s in the actual legislation:

secures the borders first

learn English

back taxes

back of the line

not an amnesty

the system is broken

in the shadows

drones on the border

legalized immigrants won’t receive welfare

Any time you see someone use one or more of these phrases on their own behalf in a non-ironic way, look elsewhere for honest or informed analysis.

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