Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Presenting: The top 10 PolitiFact Texas fact checks of 2013

PolitiFact Texas is produced by the staff of the Austin American-Statesman
PolitiFact Texas is produced by the staff of the Austin American-Statesman

A chain email touched off our single-most read fact check of 2013, but even more readers gandered at the PolitiFact Texas Ted Cruz file--a compilation of more than 20 checks of claims by the junior U.S. senator from Texas.

If nothing else, you can consider four Pants on Fires there.

But without further ado, let’s hat-tip the top 10 individual fact checks of the year, based on online reader views through mid-December:

--Cruz’s claim about Democrats telling the Catholic church they would use federal powers to shut down charities and hospitals if the church didn’t relent on its beliefs came in at No. 10. Pants on Fire! Another Cruz claim--that jurisdictions with the strictest gun laws have the highest crime and murder rates--was the No. 7 reader fave; we rated this False.

--Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s claim about polls showing many Americans (including NRA members) in favor of background checks of gun purchases, rated as True, landed at No. 9.

--Gov. Rick Perry said Texas accounted for 33 percent of the nation’s net job gains over the decade. True, we concluded. That fact check ranked No. 8.

--A curiosity: The No. 6 reader favorite of 2013 was our April 2012 check of a chain email stating the U.S Department of Homeland Security was purchasing bullets perhaps in anticipation of civic unrest. Mostly False.

--Our look into state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg’s declaration that a Texas rape-testing kit is like the dilation and curettage procedure sometimes employed in abortions--which came out Pants on Fire--was the No. 5 reader favorite.

--Our November weighing a Facebook post contrasting the initial projected costs and federal budget status of the Obamacare law and the prescription drug benefit added to Medicare during President George W. Bush’s tenure proved (quickly) to be the No. 4 reader item. Mostly True.

--A False claim by U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert that George Washington once said a free people should be armed to guard against government tyranny was the No. 3 favorite.

--Another abortion claim made it to No. 2 on the PolitiFact Texas chart. In a radio interview, Perry called abortion the nation’s second-most common surgical procedure. Pants on Fire!

--And the No. 1 PolitiFact Texas fact check of 2013 was our poke into a chain email pointed out by an Austin reader stating that 11 states (though not Texas) have more people on welfare than working. No expert or data confirmed this claim, which appeared to be based on reinterpretation of a magazine commentator’s list of states that would be good and bad for investors. Pants on Fire!

Now, what do you hear out there that just maybe we should verify?

Happy new year!