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Americans for Tax Reform criticized the Denver Post's fact check. (Credit: Denver Post)

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a nonprofit lobbying organization, criticized the Denver Post for having an intern fact-check political ads and for running an inaccurate fact check.

Source Watch notes that ATR “has close ties to the Republican Party.”  The intern, Elizabeth Miller, has conducted several fact-checks.

Specifically, ATR questioned Miller’s fact check of an attack ad against Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck. (Buck lost to Michael Bennet in a tight race on Nov. 2.)   ATR called the Post’s decision to let Miller fact-check “utterly negligent and irresponsible” and labeled her fact check “unequivocally wrong.”

The fact check, headlined “Political Polygraph: Ken Buck on Jobs” was published Oct. 31.  In it, Miller concluded that the Bennet for Colorado TV ad “leans truthful” in its claim that “Buck pledged to protect tax breaks for companies who ship jobs overseas.”

“The pledge Buck made was through Americans for Tax Reform, which circulates a pledge (http://www.atr.org/taxpayer-protection-pledge-a2882) to ‘oppose any and all tax increases’ or legislators and candidates to sign, and then contacts them when a bill comes up that increases taxes. Ken Buck signed that pledge. …

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“So, yes, essentially, Buck has pledged to vote the ATR line, he’s reiterated that support since then, and that would mean he’s protecting tax breaks for companies outsourcing jobs overseas.”

In support for its claims of inaccuracy, ATR linked to ten other fact checks of similar claims, including FactCheck.org’s debunking of a campaign ad that charged a Hawaii Republican House candidate had similarly promised to protect “tax breaks for sending jobs overseas.”  In it, FactCheck.org ruled that “ATR’s tax pledge does protect corporations in general — but only from an overall increase in taxes. It says nothing about jobs at all.”

Likewise, Politifact argued similarly in the case of Virginia Congress campaign ads. Other fact checks ATR linked to included those by the Columbus Dispatch, Seattle’s King 5, and the Detroit News in similar ads accusing politicians of supporting tax breaks for outsourcing jobs.

iMediaEthics has written to the Denver Post asking for comment, if it intends to run a correction and who edits Miller’s work.  We also asked for confirmation that Miller is indeed an intern. We will update with a response.

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Denver Post Fact Check Inaccurate says American Tax Reform

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