Our monthly round-up of the most popular columns is a bit late this month, as The Fact Checker has been churning out so many fact checks and Truth Teller videos that we never found a moment to post it. For the first time in months, columns about Obamacare did not dominate the list. There was also a tie for fifth place.
Programming note: The Fact Checker is going on Spring Break and so the column will return next week.
Click on the headline if you want to read the full column.
This column was not only the most popular of March, but it ranks as one of the most widely read Fact Checkers ever. It even attracted attention in Kuwait. We examined a tale that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told at the Conservative Political Action Conference about a boy who supposedly did not want a government-provided school lunch but “wanted his own lunch, one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids.” The story quickly collapsed under scrutiny and earned Four Pinocchios.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) repeatedly tells audiences that it is the “biggest lie in politics” that Republicans are “the party of the rich.” In his speeches, Cruz never really explains why he believes this is the “biggest lie.” So we looked at the available data on voting patterns, voter perceptions, and income growth — and found his assertion wanting. Without more evidence, Cruz simply can’t make a sweeping statement that saying Republicans are the party of the rich is “the biggest lie” when decades of economic data show the poor do better under Democrats, that the rich tend to vote Republican, and that most Americans believe Republican policies favor the rich. Needless to say, readers divided sharply on the merits of this fact check.
Our original column on an Americans for Prosperity ad featuring a Michigan cancer victim, Julie Boonstra, was one of the most read columns in February. But then new information came to light about her medical plan under the Affordable Care Act, indicating that rather than the plan being “unaffordable,” as the ad asserted, she actually had a savings of more than $1,200 a year. So we switched the rating from Two to Three Pinocchios.
The Russian president earned Four Pinocchios for a series of iffy statements he made in a lengthy speech accepting the Ukrainian province of Crimea as part of Russia. For instance, he said a rushed and unbalanced referendum that violated the Ukrainian constitution was held “ in full compliance with democratic procedures and international norms.” This column also featured a Truth Teller video.
In the wake of the Russian seizure of Crimea, we took a trip down memory lane and looked back at a celebrated 2012 exchange between President Obama and his GOP rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, during the third presidential debate. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years,” Obama jabbed at Romney. This also featured a Truth Teller video.
Here, we presented our list of the biggest presidential deceptions in the past 55 years, from Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama. Every president ended up on the list except Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter — and Richard Nixon received a double mention. A Truth Teller video accompanied this column, which showed not only the deceptions but the mea culpas that came after the truth emerged.
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