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The Top Five: PolitiFact’s most-clicked items for July

By Angie Drobnic Holan
Published on Thursday, August 1st, 2013 at 10:51 a.m.

Fact-checks about the economy, the health care law and the George Zimmerman trial captured readers attention last month.

Here are our most-read reports for July.

1.  Barack Obama says deficit is falling at the fastest rate in 60 years. We dug deep into the numbers and found Obama was right about the deficit, which is the annual difference between what the government spends and what it takes in. The deficit is falling quickly, though, because it was so large in 2009, the year that the economy was tanking and the economic stimulus passed. We rated Obama’s statement True.

2.  Fact-checks about the case involving Zimmerman. This report compiled several fact-checks about the trial of Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager. PolitiFact Florida dug into claims about black-on-black murder, a chain email purporting to show a photo of Martin and Florida’s controversial "stand your ground" law.

3. Sen. Marco Rubio says 75 percent of small businesses say they’ll fire workers or cut hours. The Republican senator from Florida got a Pants on Fire for repeating a bogus stat drawn from a U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey. The 75 percent number was a selective reading of a poll that actually showed 5 percent to 9 percent of small businesses said they would fire workers or cut hours.

4. 'Dhimmitude' on page 107 of the health care law exempts Muslims. This claim came from a widely circulated chain email that we checked at the end of May. The health care law actually does not include the word "dhimmitude" (a word recently coined that seems to refer to non-Muslims under Muslim rule), and it doesn’t exempt Muslims. We rated the claim Pants on Fire.

5. Obama says top 1 percent saw incomes quadruple, while a typical family’s income barely budged. Calculations by the Congressional Budget Office, a highly credible agency, show an increase of 275 percent for the top 1 percent, which is pretty close to quadrupling. And for average households, income rose by comparatively modest amounts. We rated this statement True.

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See individual fact-checks for complete sources.

Researchers: Becky Bowers, Jon Greenberg, Angie Drobnic Holan, Louis Jacobson, Katie Sanders, Amy Sherman

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