Our ten most popular fact-checks from 2016

A protest against North Carolina's new law, seen by some as discriminatory to transgender people, blocked traffic for hours in Chapel Hill on March 29, 2016

North Carolina had an action-packed 2016. It was one of the most hotly contested states in the presidential election, and it had arguably the country's most high-profile races for both governor and U.S. Senate.

The state legislature also kept North Carolina in the news, passing the controversial "bathroom bill" House Bill 2, and losing high-profile legal battles over what judges deemed to be discriminatory voting laws and gerrymandered congressional districts.

Thanks for choosing to rely on us for fact-checking in the Tar Heel State last year. With a newly divided state government – a Democratic governor and a Republican-led legislature – we're sure we'll have plenty to check in 2017, too.

But in the meantime, here are the 10 articles from this past year that people clicked on the most.

Number 10: "N.C. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest says new state law HB2 prevented a bathroom free-for-all in Charlotte"

Dan Forest, the North Carolina Republican lieutenant governor who has already declared he'll be running for governor in 2020, was one of the most vocal supporters of House Bill 2. In this case, he claimed the state's "bathroom bill" would have prevented the city of Charlotte from opening up "all bathrooms to all sexes at all times."

We rated that claim False.

Charlotte did pass an LGBT-friendly ordinance that would opened up restrooms in public accommodations to transgender people, but it would not have been nearly as sweeping as Forest said.

Read the full fact-check here.

Number 9:  "North Carolina has had the country's fastest-growing economy since 2013"

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory claimed that since he came into office, North Carolina had the country's fastest-growing economy and one of the fastest-growing populations.

We rated that claim True.

North Carolina's economy still isn't great in all measures – it ranked 39th in per-capita income at the time of our fact-check, for instance – but McCrory was right that from 2013 to 2015, no state's economic output grew by more than North Carolina's did.

Read the full fact-check here

Number 8: "Gov. Pat McCrory: No Title IX threat to billions in federal funding after controversial new LGBT law"

One of the biggest questions after North Carolina passed HB2 – and the federal government subsequently sued the state – was whether the state could lose billions of dollars of education funding if it lost the lawsuit. McCrory said there was no chance, due to a recent ruling from a federal judge in Virginia.

We rated that claim Half True.

McCrory was right about the judge's ruling in that case. But he failed to note there were serious questions about the judge's conduct and that the case was currently under appeal. Furthermore, several states have caved to the Obama administration on transgender rights issues, out of fear of losing federal funding.

Read the full fact-check here.

Number 7: "Equality NC director: No public safety risks in cities with transgender anti-discrimination rules"

Supporters of North Carolina's "bathroom bill" said HB2 was necessary to protect women and children from male sexual predators who would pretend to be transgender women to gain access to female bathrooms.

But Chris Sgro, director of a large pro-LGBT group in North Carolina, said those concerns weren't based in reality. "There have not been any public safety issues" in cities that allow transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify as, he said.

We rated that claim Mostly True.

There was one case in Canada of a man who pretended to be a transgender woman in order to gain access to two shelters where he later sexually assaulted several woman. But that's the only case we could find in Canada, and there have been no proven cases in the U.S. despite transgender-friendly rules in dozens of cities, counties and school systems.

Read the full fact-check here.

Number 6: "NRA ad falsely says Clinton 'doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense'"

The National Rifle Association ran an attack ad against Hilary Clinton in several key swing states including North Carolina. It said Clinton "doesn’t believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense."

We rated that claim False.

The NRA cited a candid recording of Clinton criticizing a major 2nd Amendment court ruling. In the tape, Clinton says she's concerned the ruling could loosen restrictions on machine guns and open carry laws.

Neither of those has anything to do with keeping guns at home for self-defense. Furthermore, Clinton's concerns were identical to concerns raised by the George W. Bush administration during the same case Clinton was talking about, District of Columbia v. Heller. In an ironic twist, Bush's arguments were made by a government lawyer who later went on to represent the NRA – and we found a copy of his argument on the NRA's website.

Read the full fact-check here.

Number 5: "Pat McCrory is wrong when he says North Carolina's new LGBT law doesn't take away existing rights"

In the first days after HB2 passed and was signed into law by McCrory, the governor held press conferences and sent out news releases to defend the law.

But not everything he said was accurate, including his claim that "We have not taken away any rights that have currently existed in any city in North Carolina."

We rated that claim False.

House Bill 2 did take away rights of cities in North Carolina. It also took away the right of all North Carolinians to file discrimination lawsuits in state court, although McCrory used an executive order to remove that part of the law several months after we published this fact-check.

Read the full fact-check here.

Number 4: "Hillary Clinton: Donald Trump wants to get rid of the federal minimum wage"

This was an easy one. Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump wanted to do away with the federal minimum wage.

We rated this claim True.

Donald Trump has said frequently that there shouldn't be a federal wage, and that states should be able to decide whether or not to have their own.

Read the full fact-check here.

Number 3: "Donald Trump set the record for the most GOP primary votes ever. But that's not his only record"

After winning the Republican presidential primary, Donald Trump claimed he set a record for most votes ever in a GOP primary.

We rated that claim Mostly True.

Trump did set the record, but he also set another record he didn't mention: Most votes against a candidate in the history of Republican primaries. In fact, despite his win, the majority of voters in the Republican primary voted for someone other than Trump – which had only ever happened a few times in US history. Trump would go on to repeat this feat in the general election, yet again winning despite not receiving the majority of the votes.

Read the full fact-check here.

Number 2: "Pat McCrory says Springsteen canceled North Carolina show after poor ticket sales"

After a deluge of musical acts announced boycotts of North Carolina in order to protest HB2, McCrory lashed out at one of the most famous ones. In a radio interview, he suggested Bruce Springsteen's cancelation was really a convenient excuse to cover up poor ticket sales.

Springsteen "only had 8,000 tickets sold" for a Greensboro show and canceled after "they didn’t get the ticket sales they wanted," McCrory said.

We rated that claim Pants on Fire.

When Springsteen canceled several days before the show, he hald sold twice as many tickets as McCrory claimed, and the show was already nearly sold out. Our fact-check prompted McCrory to publicly apologize.

Read the full fact-check (and admire our constraint in not making too many Springsteen puns) here.

Number 1: "Viral image debunked: KKK was not marching in North Carolina after Trump victory"

Even before PolitiFact declared "fake news" as the 2016 Lie of the Year and teamed up with Facebook to help stop fake news from spreading on social media, we here at PolitiFact North Carolina were doing our part.

Hours after Trump won the presidential election, a young woman from North Carolina tweeted a photo of what she said were KKK members marching in Alamance County to celebrate his victory.

We rated that claim False.

The people in the photo were Trump supporters waving flags and signs. A local newspaper reporter who also was at the scene confirmed to us that they were all in regular clothing and there were no Confederate flags or other regalia associated with the KKK or other racist groups.

Tens of thousands of people had shared the photo, but after it had been debunked – by us and others – the woman deleted it and the hysteria died down.

A few days later the KKK actually did announce a victory parade in North Carolina – which it later held, in the face of sizeable protests – but that doesn't change the fact that the original claim was completely made up.

Read the full fact-check here.