Fact-checkers look at Braves’ stadium, comedian Jim Carrey, Obama

PolitiFact Georgia fact-checked claims last week that ran the gamut, from the Braves stadium in Cobb County to actor Jim Carrey’s anti-vaccine rants via Twitter.

We also checked a claim that President Barack Obama wiped out a shared fingerprint program last year that had helped to determine the legal status of people behind bars.

Abbreviated versions of our fact checks from last week are below.

Full versions can be found at www.politifact.com/georgia/.

Tim Lee on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 in mass email

Cobb County businesses have already been awarded contracts worth $250 million on construction of a new Braves stadium.

Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee sent out a mass email on June 30 after the Georgia Supreme Court ruled it constitutional for the commission to sell up to $397 million in taxpayer-backed bonds for SunTrust Park, the future home of the Atlanta Braves.

In the email, Lee said construction of the stadium project — scheduled for completion in 2017 — had already created $250 million in contracts for Cobb County businesses. PolitiFact decided to check.

Kellie Anne Brownlow, Lee’s chief deputy, said the statement was based on a project update the commission received in May, indicating $375 million worth of contracts had been issued on the stadium project, 68 percent to Cobb firms.

We looked at documents detailing each contract awarded to date and found $270 million worth of contracts had been issued to businesses with Cobb locations for the stadium and related mixed-use development. On the stadium alone, $220.5 million worth of contracts were awarded.

Some of these contracts, collectively worth in excess of $100 million, are going to companies with headquarters in other states — raising questions about how much of the money they receive is actually staying in Cobb County or Georgia. That’s context the reader needs.

We rated Lee’s statement Mostly True.


Harris Faulkner on July 6th, 2015 in a broadcast of “Outnumbered” on Fox News

“President Obama in November of last year wiped away (a program) that allows for shared fingerprinting for those who are behind bars so you know who is here legally and illegally.”

When an illegal immigrant from Mexico allegedly shot and killed a 32-year-old woman in San Francisco on July 1, he triggered a round of finger pointing that variously laid blame on the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the White House.

On Fox News, host Harris Faulkner connected the tragedy with a shift in administration policy last November.

The Department of Homeland Security ended a program called Secure Communities that used fingerprints sent by local police departments to flag people who were in the country illegally.

“President Obama in November of last year wiped away the Secure Communities program, ” Faulkner said on “Outnumbered” on July 6. “When you take away a program that allows for shared fingerprinting for those who are behind bars so you know who is here legally and illegally … you’re tacitly saying we don’t really care who we have in this country.”

Faulkner is correct that Obama ended that program, but outside experts and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) itself told us that the process of sharing fingerprints and identifying people who are not supposed to be in America continues. What ended was the immediate deportation process that was at the center of Secure Communities.

The statement is partially accurate but leaves out a lot of important information.

We rated it Half True


Actor Jim Carrey in a Twitter post on June 30th, 2015

The California governor “says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum” in vaccines.

Georgia has the CDC in its backyard to talk up the importance of childhood immunizations, but the anti-vaccine movement gained some high-profile supporters in California with a new law there that requires all public school children receive vaccinations.

Actor Jim Carrey was the most prolific of all in his attacks, unleashing a series of Tweets that blasted the CDC as “corrupt” and called California Gov. Jerry Brown a “corporate fascist” for signing the bill into law.

“California Gov says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in manditory [sic] vaccines,” Carrey posted on Twitter on June 30.

The myth that “mercury” causes autism ranks up with the flat-earth as among the most debunked scientific theories in history. PolitiFact Georgia walked through that false debate earlier this year, ruling it a ridiculous Pants on Fire!

But aluminum as a poison? Like many other chemicals, it could be, in dosages and scenarios that are very rare. Water, for instance, is toxic in much the same way.

There is no scientific evidence suggesting any problems with the element, used to help boost the effectiveness of vaccines. In fact, the only debate stems from a theory, not scientific research that contradicts decades of immunizations.

The claim has no basis in fact, and ignores studies that contradict it.

We rated Carrey’s claim Pants on Fire.

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