I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians;
All I want is the truth;
Just gimme some truth.
~John Lennon, from the lyrics to “Gimme Some Truth“
Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz recently sat down with CNBC’s John Harwood for a 10-question one-on-one interview about his political history.
When asked about his use of factual inaccuracies to support the idea of shutting down the IRS, Cruz responded by blaming “left-wing editorial writers” who use a “new species of yellow journalism called politi-fact.”
Harwood: You’ve said a few things that don’t necessarily comport with the facts, like, “125,000 I.R.S. agents, send ’em to the border.” They’ve only got 25,000 agents or something like. You’ve talked about the job-killing nature of Obamacare. We’re adding jobs at a very healthy clip right now. Why shouldn’t somebody listen to you and say, “The guy’ll just say anything – doesn’t have to be true”?
Cruz: There is a game that is played by left-wing editorial writers. It’s this new species of yellow journalism called politi-fact. Colloquially I was referring to all the employees as agents.
That particular stat is in a joke I used. So, they’re literally fact-checking a joke. I say that explicitly tongue in cheek.
For starters, Nguyen concedes that “Cruz clearly made a joke,” but that the joke “was about an over-the-top thing Cruz wanted to do with the IRS” and “the number of IRS agents was not implicated in the joke-making, and thus seemed like a plausible number of agents that could exist.”
Nguyen concludes that:
Cruz could have made the joke without sacrificing accuracy — 25,000 agents is still a lot of agents, enough to make a joke argument that one should abolish the IRS. But 110,000 agents is on a completely different magnitude than 25,000; and while it’s not OMG FALSEHOOD level of bad, it’s a worrisome tendency towards embellishment.
Another point to consider is the fact that Cruz has used two variations of that untruth since at least last July according to FactCheck.org. The figure of 125,000 cited by Harwood was from this year’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference gathering on Feb. 26 where he raised the figure from his usual figure of only 110,00 that he gave in March in New Hampshire.
Even more curious, when FactCheck.org reached out to him for a response to his claim “his deputy press secretary, Phil Novack, told [them] that it came from a report by the Treasury Department’s Inspector General.”
That report stated that the IRS “workforce” was 107,622 at the end of fiscal 2010. However, the IG report also stated that the “workforce” had already declined to 97,717 by the following year, and of course it has gone down more since then. So even using his own source, Cruz was wrong.
Last, but not least, is Cruz’ stunning record of telling lies, as detailed by those very fact-checkers he seems to abhor so much.
As reported on his Politifact page, 44 public statements were analyzed with the following results:
As The Daily Beast reports, Cruz’s record for telling lies is second only to Dr. Ben Carson who has a 100% “pants on fire rating.” However, Liberals Unite rates Cruz as number one liar as Politifact has only rated one statement of Carson’s so far, that people choose to be gay.
You can click on the hyperlinks, below, to see all of Cruz’s statements for that ruling.