One of the latest ads in the network’s “Lean Forward” campaign, a string of overtly partisan rants from primetime hosts, has Last Word anchor Lawrence O’Donnell making the case for the G I bill as “the most successful educational program that we’ve ever had in this country” which O’Donnell claims was criticized by opponents as welfare.
Politifact analysis has determined O‘Donnell’s statement to be “mostly false.”
“We found no evidence of critics referring to the GI Bill as welfare. Yet some fretted that the law’s unemployment compensation element would encourage laziness. We see a touch of truth to O’Donnell’s claim, which we rate Mostly False.”
Politifact’s decision was based on the Veterans Administration’s online history of the 1944 Servicemen’s Readjustment Act which did not include anything on the act’s progress through Congress or any related criticism, and an American Legion post on a 1949 article from a Washington reporter who found that critics worried the law would attract “the lazy and ‘chisely’ types of veterans,” but nothing on welfare. A Binghamton University professor and author of a book on the subject also told Politifact that no critics called the GI Bill “welfare,” but some admirers later considered the law a welcome step toward the United States becoming more of a social-welfare state.
Politifact reports that a producer of O’Donnell’s program suggested in a memo that objections in the American Legion article and 1944 Congressional Record mentioning “relief” or “the dole,” were equivalent to modern-day references to welfare.
The cable news network has criticized rulings by the Pulitzer prize-winning website in the past.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has become particularly frustrated with the organization for their analyses on President Obama’s State of the Union address claims, Sen. Marco Rubio’s claim that the”majority of Americans are conservative,“ and the organization’s own criticism of statements made by Maddow during the Wisconsin labor protests.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and MSNBC host Ed Schultz among many other leftist commentators were infuriated when the nonpartisan fact-checking site dared to rule attacks against Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan the 2011 “Lie of the Year.”
Despite liberal outcry, “The Fact Checker” blog of The Washington Post sided with Politifact.
MSNBC launched their “Lean Forward” ads last year, aimed at advancing the issues championed by the network’s personalities. The ads have become somewhat of a running gag.
Video of the latest Lawrence O’Donnell ad called into question: