Pennsylvania Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz’s U.S. Senate campaign blasted PolitiFact, saying it is “cover[ing] up for” his Democrat opponent “John Fetterman’s radical positions on putting criminals back on the streets.”
In a statement, Oz’s communications director Brittany Yanick asserted:
Politifact was presented a video of John Fetterman saying precisely that he agrees with releasing one third of prisoners – which Politifact ruled was “mostly false” and the Fetterman campaign lied about. We have now repeatedly called and contacted them asking them to change their ruling.
On July 21, Politifact fact-checked a July 18 Oz tweet that featured an ad stating, “Fetterman wants to release one-third of dangerous criminals back into our communities.” PolitiFact ruled Oz’s claim to be “mostly false,” and the outlet’s Tom Kertscher asserted that “we did not find an instance of Fetterman calling for the release of one-third of dangerous criminals.”
John Fetterman on crime: crazier than you think. pic.twitter.com/0xmMnUU9fI
— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) July 18, 2022
However, Fox News brought a 2020 clip to light on August 17 showing Fetterman, who is Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, endorsing the idea that emptying the Quaker State’s prison population by one-third would not make Pennsylvanians “any less” safe than they are with convicted criminals behind bars.
Fetterman made the comments in a zoom call posted to YouTube in October 2020. He apparently cites former corrections secretary John Wetzel:
I was on a panel with Secretary [John] Wetzel earlier before the pandemic hit, and he said something remarkable that I agree with. He said, ‘We could reduce our prison population by a third and not make anyone less safe in Pennsylvania,’ and that’s a profound statement.
Though PolitiFact updated the article with an editor’s note acknowledging the video’s existence, the outlet refuses to alter the “mostly false” fact check rating.
“This story has been updated to include information about Fetterman’s comments in the video,” the editor’s note reads. “Fetterman did not say he supported releasing one-third of ‘dangerous criminals.’ Our rating remains unchanged.”
While the fact-checking website refuses to change the rating, it is undeniable that Fetterman has played a central role in releasing murderers and other criminals facing life sentences back on the streets, as Breitbart News previously noted:
In his position as lieutenant governor, Fetterman heads the five-person Board of Pardons, and as the Philadelphia Inquirer has previously pointed out, recommendations for commutations of life sentences have skyrocketed since he assumed office in January 2019. From March 2019 through April 2022, the board sent at least 46 commutation recommendations to Gov. Tom Wolf (D).
“That’s compared with just six in Wolf’s first term, none under former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s one term, and only five during former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell’s eight years in office,” as the Inquirer reported in May.
In February 2021, Gov Tom Wolf (D) announced he had signed commutations for thirteen convicted murderers whose clemency was recommended by the board of Pardons under Fetterman’s chairmanship:
- George W. Burkhardt, 83, Lancaster, served 30 years for Murder 2, recommended in Dec. 2020
- Daniel Cummings, 75, Philadelphia, served 38 years for Murder 1, recommended in Sept. 2020
- Eric I. Eisen, 52, Allegheny, served 26 years for Murder 2, recommended in Dec. 2020
- Reid Evans, 57, Philadelphia, served 39 years for Murder 2, recommended in Sept. 2020
- Wyatt Evans, 58, Philadelphia, served 39 years for Murder 2, recommended in Sept. 2020
- Charlie J. Goldblum, 71, Allegheny, served 42 years for Murder 1, recommended in Sept. 2019
- Charles M. Haas, 72, Philadelphia, served 41 years for Murder 2, recommended in Dec. 2020
- Dennis Horton, 51, Philadelphia, served 27 years for Murder 2, recommended in Dec. 2020
- Lee A. Horton, 55, Philadelphia, served 27 years from Murder 2, recommended in Dec. 2020
- Avis Lee, 59, Allegheny, served 40 years for Murder 2, recommended in Sept. 2020
- Francisco Mojita, Sr.,58, Philadelphia, served 28 years for Murder 2, recommended in Sept. 2020
- Mildred Strickland, 75, Philadelphia, served 31 years for Murder 1, recommended in Sept. 2020
- Gregory Stover, 55, Philadelphia, served 32 years for Murder 1, recommended in Sept. 2020
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