In his column, Cal Thomas wrote that the website FactCheck.org had “looked into the substance” of a recent ad criticizing Sen. George F. Allen (R-VA) and “found none.” But Media Matters has documented errors in FactCheck's analysis of the ad.
In a September 28 column headlined "Piling on Allen," syndicated columnist Cal Thomas wrote that the website FactCheck.org had “looked into the substance” of a recent ad criticizing Sen. George F. Allen (R-VA) and “found none.” The ad in question, produced by the newly formed group Vote Vets, asserts that Allen voted against an April 2003 Democratic amendment that would have increased U.S. National Guard funding for modern body armor. In a September 20 analysis, FactCheck deemed the ad “false,” claiming that the sponsor of the amendment, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) did not specifically cite “body armor” as a priority in her floor statement on the legislation and asserting that Allen never voted against body armor for the troops. But as Media Matters for America noted, Landrieu repeatedly stated on the floor that the bill would ensure that National Guard soldiers had “helmets” and other “force protection” equipment intended to “minimize causalities.” Moreover, FactCheck overlooked entirely Allen's opposition to an October 2003 amendment offered by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), which would have provided additional funding explicitly for body armor.
Beyond Virginia, a version of the Vote Vets ad that targets Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) is currently running in Pennsylvania, and a version that singles out Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is on the airwaves in Arizona. Vote Vets is also slated to run the ad in Montana, targeting Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT).
From the column:
The piling on continued with an accusation by the political action committee VoteVets.org that Allen voted against a bill to provide advanced body armor for American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. VoteVets.org spent nearly $45,000 for a television commercial that claims Allen voted for body armor that could be easily pierced. VoteVets.org's board of advisers includes 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark and former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey.
The Web site factcheck.org looked into the substance of the TV commercial and found none. As reported in The Washington Examiner recently, this nonpartisan Web site is associated with the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The organization says the commercial overstates the body armor problem and that Allen did not vote against money for the vests.