Oops! My statement was wrong.
By Eric Stirgus
Published on Tuesday, December 24th, 2013 at 6:00 a.m.
Oops. My bad. I was wrong. Mea culpa.
Over the course of 2013, PolitiFact Georgia has unearthed information that directly contradicts a claim we’ve attempted to fact-check. In some instances, the speaker has admitted the error of the original claim.
PolitiFact Georgia decided to revisit some of our best fact checks in which someone, or an organization, corrected a statement when pressed by PolitiFact Georgia.
Summaries of a few of our favorites of the year can be found below.
The city of Atlanta in a statement Sept. 23: The crime rate in some Atlanta neighborhoods has dropped by 35 percent to 51 percent.
Atlanta officials defended themselves when a federal audit concluded the city mismanaged federal grants designed to combat crime in poor neighborhoods plagued by illegal drug activity.
"From 2009 to 2013, in the Pittsburgh and Mechanicsville neighborhoods, crime is down 42 and 35 points, respectively. In English Avenue and Vine City, major crimes are down 51 percent and 50 percent, respectively, between 2007-2011," the city said in a news release.
City spokesman Carlos Campos called us back a couple of days after our initial inquiry about the accuracy of those numbers. He said the city's numbers in the news release were incorrect. The greatest disparity involved Mechanicsville. Mechanicsville's rate was actually up 35 percent, not down 35 percent as first reported.
The city posted the corrected crime statistics in a news release on its website.
We rated the city’s initial claim False.
U.S. Senate candidate Branko Radulovacki in an Oct. 14 email: I am the only U.S. Senate candidate who spoke out against bombing Syria, and who challenged Georgia’s governor and insurance commissioner over obstruction to the Affordable Care Act.
Radulovacki, a Democrat and Atlanta psychiatrist, is doing his best to emerge from the crowded field vying to replace the retiring incumbent, Saxby Chambliss.
Dr. Rad -- as he prefers to be called -- recently sent one campaign email that included several "only" statements.
"I'm the only one who spoke out against bombing Syria. And the only one who took on Governor Deal and Insurance Commissioner Hudgens over their efforts to 'obstruct' the Affordable Care Act in Georgia."
PolitiFact Georgia found other candidates have also covered that ground.
When contacted, Radulovacki admitted that the campaign email was incorrect. He promised to correct the error. Corrections are always a good thing.
But on the initial claim, the doctor’s claim was rated False.
Atlanta City Council candidate Bill Powell in a campaign flier Oct. 8: "This 12 year council 'Seat-warmer' has never chaired, vice chaired, or led a single Council committee meeting."
In the final weeks of an Atlanta City Council campaign, one candidate thought he had an issue that would damage the credibility of the incumbent in the race.
"This 12 year council ‘Seat-warmer’ has never chaired, vice chaired, or led a single Council committee meeting," Powell said in a flier about Councilwoman Carla Smith.
PolitiFact Georgia looked askance at the flier. Our team had seen Smith lead committee meetings as a chairwoman. She’s been the chairwoman of three City Council committees during her tenure.
Powell said he was given inaccurate information from someone at City Hall when he went there to research Smith.
"I find this most disturbing, as it was never my intention to mislead the voters on the facts," Powell said in an email.
Powell apologized and said he planned to issue a retraction. Smith was re-elected in the three-way race.
Powell’s claim was rated False.
Georgia Chamber of Commerce President Chris Clark in a speech April 30: In just six years, Georgia has dropped from first in the nation from a business-friendly legal climate to 24th.
A PolitiFact Georgia reader asked us to fact-check this claim, contending that Georgia was not No. 1 six years ago.
Clark’s claim, made before a group of business leaders, was way off base, and he admitted it. U.S. Chamber of Commerce research on the lawsuit climate in states showed that Georgia ranked no higher than 24th in the nation in any year since 2002.
"[H]e gives a lot of speeches that contain a lot of data ... and sometimes can make a mistake," a chamber spokeswoman said at the time.
Georgia was most recently ranked 24th, as Clark said. But it has been nowhere near first, based on the study he used for his claim.
PolitiFact Georgia rated his claim Mostly False.
See attached article.
Researchers: Eric Stirgus
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