Time to engage the BS meter

By Jami Jones
senior editor


Spin, distortion, misrepresentation and, in some cases, outright lies will fill the airwaves this month. You can count on it.

With the conventions of both political parties over and the race for the presidency in full swing, the challenge of sorting out truth from fiction falls squarely on the shoulders of voters.

Calling this an emotionally charged election is pretty much an understatement.

The general mood of the American people isn’t a happy one. Pick your issue and you’ll find someone not happy about it – the economy, the war(s), education, health care, etc.

We have history being made by both parties: a black on the Democratic ticket and a woman running for the Republicans.

Face it, there’s a lot riding on the November election. And you can bet it’s going to be game on in the meantime.

Everyone has the agenda of painting their candidate in the best possible light. “Rhetoric” will be spouted by politicos – everyone from candidates, to staff, to so-called hired gun analysts – which doesn’t make our jobs as voters any easier. Commercials will evoke emotions. Columnists and special interest groups will attempt to sway you.

So how do you find out what the facts really are?

The best thing is to actually stay up on your elected officials all the time, to know how they’re voting. But, if you’re playing catch-up right now and can’t research thousands of past votes, all is not lost.

A few handy one-stop Web sites can be a great resource for getting to the bottom of things. and, for example, are nonpartisan. One is a watchdog group; the other is a couple of media outlets that have teamed up.

I’m sure there are others, and you can probably search the Web and find some that suit your research.

The bottom line is, it is so important to make sure you’re voting for the candidates that best represent your positions on the critical issues. Taking a few minutes here and there to check out these sites – and hopefully others you all add – will be time well spent. LL