Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Texas top 5: Government surveys and Obama drone strikes

A claim about drone strikes and President Barack Obama, shown here with David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox, touched off one of our readers' favorite fact checks in March (photo @davidortiz on Twitter).
A claim about drone strikes and President Barack Obama, shown here with David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox, touched off one of our readers' favorite fact checks in March (photo @davidortiz on Twitter).

PolitiFact Texas readers made our check of a claim about a government mandate to return U.S. Census Bureau surveys their No. 1 online favorite in March. Our look into a statement about President Barack Obama having a hand in assassinating U.S. citizens finished No. 2.

Here’s the Texas top 5 for March:

  • Our January look into a declaration by the census bureau that Americans must return its surveys drew the most online attention. That’s the law, we found, though the bureau doesn't seek to penalize individuals who fail to participate. We rated this bureau statement as Mostly True.

  • Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Kesha Rogers said Obama was responsible for "the assassination of at least four American citizens" in drone strikes. Half True, we concluded. Drone strikes reportedly carried out on Obama’s authority killed the citizens listed by Rogers. But three deaths were evidently not intended, while it’s debated -- unsettled at best -- whether the killing of a man targeted for his al-Qaeda role was an assassination.

  • Our third-favorite reader fact check traced to U.S. Rep. Roger Williams’ 2013 statement that Obama policies contributed to gas prices rising from $1.89 in January 2009 to $3.51 at that time. Williams got the prices right, we wrote in July 2013, but presidents generally don’t have the ability to make the prices rise or fall. Experts told us too that they didn’t see that reversing Alaska, Gulf or Keystone pipeline policies would have necessarily kept prices from rising as much.But the big problem with ascribing this specific jump to Obama is the failure to point out that prices collapsed right before he took office. Mostly False.

  • Another 2013 fact check placed fourth among the March reader favorites. We rated as Pants on Fire a chain email stating 11 states have more people on welfare than employed. The email ripped off a map created for a different fiscal comparison; the claim didn’t hold up any way you looked at it.

  • Rogers also figured into readers’ fifth-favorite fact check of the month. We rated as False a recent declaration by the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party that Rogers, a Lyndon LaRouche follower, is not a Democrat. Twice in recent years, Rogers won primaries to become the party’s nominee for a U.S. House seat. Under state law, too, a voter affiliates with a party by voting in its primary, which Rogers has done repeatedly.

Thanks for the clicks! Now, what else?