The latest Truth-O-Meter items from Susan Areson
Recent stories from Susan Areson
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:
We've covered a lot of topics since last November's elections, from estate taxes to immigration to sex offenders to welfare. Despite predictions that we might struggle in the post-election lull, we knew that in Rhode Island, we'd never have a shortage of claims to run through the Truth-O-Meter. We've told you what we think. Now it's time to share what readers think of our work. (Hint: Not all of them agreed with our rulings.)
Every politician makes dozens of promises throughout a campaign and Lincoln Chafee is no exception. From the day he announced his candidacy in January, Chafee made promises to voters on issues as diverse as illegal immigration and state pension plans. But will he keep them? Today, PolitiFact Rhode Island launches a new feature designed to answer that question.
Earlier this month, when Rhode Island officials were celebrating the filming of the ABC-TV series "Body of Proof" in the Ocean State, there was a lot of talk about how much the production -- and earlier productions -- have helped the local economy. Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed cited a specific number during the Dec. 3 State House reception when she said the state's tax credit for television and movie production was generating $8 for every $1 it costs the state to extend the credit. Is the benefit really that high? She was citing a URI study released in the spring that looked at both the direct and indirect economic impacts, along with the projected long-term benefit to the Rhode Island economy. But we found that when other states have evaluated the value of such credits, the immediate fiscal benefits are judged to be much lower than the URI estimate. We'll explain why.
Now that the campaign signs are coming down, the TV attack ads are fading into memory and the victors are enjoying their brief political honeymoons, we thought we'd share what some PolitiFact Rhode Island readers had to say about our work during the 2010 general election campaign. Judging by the volume, our readers are really passionate about two topics: Social Security and global warming. Our rulings on those issues drew far more comments, pro or con, than anything we've ever done. But we figure if the Truth-O-Meter can dish it out, it has to be able to take it. So here's a roundup from our mailbag:
Is it just us or has this seemed like a really long campaign? Maybe it's because the first candidate to announce a run for governor did so in May. Of 2009. Or maybe it's because there have been so many forums and debates -- more than 40 for the governor contenders alone -- that they've all blurred together. We've tried to keep up with all the charges, countercharges and promises, fact-checking the most interesting, provocative and outrageous. Here's a look back at Campaign 2010. We hope you find it useful as you make your choices.
We're giving the Truth-O-Meter a bit of a rest. For the past few weeks, the increasingly frantic primary campaigns have kept the Meter spinning so fast we worried it might catch on fire. So we decided to reprise some of the more than two dozen rulings we've made on candidates who will face voters in Tuesday's primary elections. We've rated claims on health care, campaign donations, illegal immigration, job creation, and whether one candidate told "3 lies in 10 seconds" about his opponent. We haven't gotten to every candidate. We've focused on the major races and what we considered to be the most clear-cut and interesting statements. Here are some of the highlights.
It's been almost two months since we launched PolitiFact Rhode Island. In that time, we've put 31 claims from politicians, talk-show hosts and others to the Truth-O-Meter test. We've tried hard to help readers sort fact from fiction in politics. And we know we'll be even busier as the primary and general election campaigns reach the boiling point. The politicians are certainly paying attention. Several have cited us during debates and other appearances; at least one is using a PolitiFact item in his campaign mailings. Our readers are paying attention as well. Some have thanked us for our work; others have criticized our conclusions or accused us of going too far or not far enough. Here's what a few of them had to say.