Times Free Press: Political Notebook 7/23/2018

WAPO's Fact Checker gives Bredesen Three Pinocchios on meth claim
Chattanooga Times Free Press
July 23, 2018
Andy Sher

The Washington Post's Fact Check last week gave Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen three out of four "Pinocchios" for his assertion that Tennessee's meth problem was "cut in half" when he was governor following passage of a 2005 law he signed restricting sales of certain cold medications used to manufacture the illegal drug.

Bredesen made the claim in response to questions posed by The Oak Ridger about the state's current opioid problem.

The Post, citing a Bredesen spokeswoman, said Bredesen's "cut in half" assertion was referring to the number of meth lab incidents or seizures reported to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration after the law took effect.

"Without diminishing Bredesen's efforts in 2005 or questioning his credibility on the opioid crisis, the fact is that Tennessee's meth problem was not 'cut in half' under his watch," The Post said. "Measuring the number of meth lab incidents or seizures from 2005 to 2007 is very convenient but rather misleading, especially since these figures began to climb in 2008 and continued to rise through the end of Bredesen's term as governor."

The Post also noted DEA's figures on meth lab incidents or seizures "may not be as reliable a gauge of the 'meth problem' as they once were. One-pot meth makers don't need a meth lab to ply their trade. Mexican drug cartels aren't making their meth in the United States.

"For his selective memory," The Post said, "Bredesen earns Three Pinocchios."