September's popular fact checks include reviews of Ted Cruz, Wendy Davis

Sen. Ted Cruz mentioned crucifixions of Christians in Iraq in this interview with WFAA-TV, aired Aug. 31, 2014.

Flawed Wendy Davis statements ranked among our top 5 reader favorites in September.

But our check of a crucifixion claim by Ted Cruz was the runaway No. 1, based on online views.

The Texas Republican, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, told a reporter for WFAA-TV, Channel 8 in Dallas, that the Islamic State group, in the news for numerous acts including killings of two U.S. journalists, is "right now crucifying Christians in Iraq, literally nailing Christians to trees."

We never drew factual backup from Cruz, otherwise finding only that earlier this year, ISIS strung up the bodies of individuals already executed on cross-like posts in a Syrian town. Our rating of his claim: False.

Our checks of three statements by Davis, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Fort Worth state senator, also drew a lot of reader interest:

  • We rated Pants on Fire a claim by Davis that Republican nominee Greg Abbott and his surrogates had "referred to women who have been the victims of rape or incest as though somehow what they are confronting is a minor issue." Abbott said nothing of the sort, we found, nor did any Abbott surrogate or advocate.

  • We gave a Half True to Davis’ claim in debate that Abbott "has campaigned with a sexual predator who has bragged about having sex with underage girls." Ted Nugent stumped with Abbott in February, as Davis indicated, and he has talked about sexual escapades with much younger women. But we found no confirmation of Nugent explicitly saying his victims were underage. Also, Davis’ statement could have given viewers the misimpression Nugent is a convicted sex offender.

  • In May, we rated Mostly False a Davis declaration that under Abbott, "Texas four-year-olds would be forced to undergo standardized tests." Abbott advocates assessments of the subset of Texas students who are enrolled in public pre-kindergarten at the start and end of each school year and he says a way of doing so would entail standardized tests. However, his proposal also lists alternate assessment methods and says districts who volunteer for his pre-k program should be left to pick an assessment approach from various options that would be fashioned by the state.

Our Mostly True rating in January of a claim by the U.S. Census Bureau also landed in the top five for the month. The bureau said federal law requires residents to participate in the U.S. government’s American Community Survey. Federal law mandates as much, we determined, but the bureau also doesn't seek to penalize individuals who fail to participate. The reality appears to be that recipients can refuse to comply.

Now, what should we check next?



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