From beach fees to marijuana, from pensions to slavery, PolitiFact Rhode Island covered a lot of ground in 2014, a year that was also marked by hard-fought political campaigns that generated many dubious claims.
Overall, we issued 90 rulings that hit every stop on our Truth-O-Meter, from True to Pants on Fire.
As the year ends, we thought we’d take a moment to review our most widely-read PolitiFact items of 2014. Here they are, in descending order, as determined by page views on our PolitiFact Rhode Island website:
The Environmental Protection Agency's new rules to curb carbon emissions have spurred concerns ranging from economic impact to the closing of coal plants. We took a look at some of the claims surrounding the EPA's regulations.
As new studies shined a spotlight on rising sea levels and global warming, Sen. Marco Rubio and other politicians and pundits made several statements we fact-checked
U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, one of more than two dozen senators who took part in an all-night talkathon this week on the Senate floor to warn about the dangers of climate change, was on familiar territory.
Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, has now made 60 Senate speeches on climate change, returning to the floor each week the Senate is in session.
He comes armed with facts and figures, and staff-produced charts and posters, to back up his warnings of drastic environmental and social consequences if serious actions aren’t taken to address global warming.
Whitehouse and the other senators took turns from late Monday through Tuesday morning to call attention to an issue he says has largely been ignored.
PolitiFact Rhode Island has fact-checked many of Whitehouse’s claims about climate change; overall, he has fared well with the Truth-O-Meter. Here's a sample:
Over the last 12 months, PolitiFact Rhode Island issued 117 Truth-O-Meter rulings, on claims ranging from Obamacare to school prayer to foreign aid.
All had some Rhode Island connection, but many of the most-read items -- based on traffic on our PolitiFact Rhode Island website -- focused on issues far beyond the state’s borders.
Thanks to the reach of the Internet, many have remained popular long after publication, in part because PolitiFact, with affiliates in 11 states, has become a go-to reference for people seeking to separate fact from fiction.
So as a farewell to the year, we thought we’d share with you the PolitiFact Rhode Island Top Ten Most Widely Read rulings for 2012:
Over the last several months, candidates have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to build themselves up and knock their opponents down.
There have been attacks and counterattacks, scary TV ads, robo-calls and oversized campaign fliers clogging our mailboxes -- in other words, the fuel that sent our Truth-O-Meter into overdrive.
Just in the weeks since the September primary, we issued two dozen rulings on claims made by candidates for federal and statewide offices. Not surprisingly, many were way off base. And -- perhaps surprisingly -- many were true.
With the election just two days away, we decided to take a look back at some of our campaign rulings to help voters make up their minds. Here’s a sampling from key races: