Friday, December 19th, 2014

Red State debate top PolitiFact Rhode Island item in March

Facebook post by Occupy Democrats
Facebook post by Occupy Democrats

What piqued the interest of PolitiFact Rhode Island readers last month? According to our website data, they were interested in whether the poorest states are Red states, if today's young adults are fit for military service, and the degree to which cancer-causing chemicals are present in marijuana smoke.

Here's the ranking of the most popular stories for March, 2014:

#1: Pro-Democrat group says 9 of the 10 poorest states are Republican. We originally published this item Jan. 12, 2014 and judged it to be True based on several measures of income. We revisited it last month to incorporate information from one measure that argued against the premise. (Mostly True, revised March 28, 2014)

#2: Author Bing West says 75% of young adults in U.S. not mentally or physically fit to serve in military (True, March 2, 2014)

#3: R.I. psychotherapist says marijuana contains 50 to 70 percent more cancer-causing chemicals than tobacco (Mostly False, March 6, 2014)

Other items that scored high last month:

#5: Ken Block says that under a bill before the R.I. legislature, "you’d have to go to court to fire an employee." (False, March 10, 2014)

#6 Clay Pell's full-time residency in R.I. tough to measure (No ruling, March 9, 2014)

#7 Marijuana legalization opponent Heidi Heilman says today's marijuana is three to eight times stronger than in the past (True, March 30, 2014)

As always, some of the items we did months ago -- and sometimes years ago -- continue to be popular. They tend to be based on statements repeated so often they have become urban legends. Some may have an element of truth. Most tend to be myth.

Here were the top three in that category:

#4: Chain e-mail claims that when baboons congregate, it's called a 'congress.' (Pants on Fire, Jan. 2, 2012)

#11: Email message says members of Congress get a full pension for serving just one term (Pants on Fire, May 29, 2011)

#14: Facebook posting says the gun-rich Swiss have the lowest firearm crime rate in the civilized world (Pants on Fire, Jan. 6, 2013)

As always, if you hear a politician or a pundit saying something that makes you wonder if they're speaking the truth, or if you receive a politically-tinged email or Facebook post with a questionable factoid, let us know with an an email to PolitiFact@ProvidenceJournal.com.