Our top 5 fact-check reports for May 2014
Here are PolitiFact’s top 5 most viewed fact-checks of May 2014, counting down to the most popular item.
5. A social media meme says 75 people have joined the food stamp rolls for every job created under President Barack Obama.
A meme recently making its way around social media said: "Obama Fun Fact #301: For every one job created under the Obama administration, 75 people went on food stamps."
These numbers are far off. We took a look at the data ourselves and found that the ratio of new food stamp beneficiaries to new jobs created was much smaller -- between 1.5-to-1 and 3.1-to-1. It’s not ideal for Obama, but it’s much better than the 75-to-1 ratio cited here. We rated this claim False.
4. A congressman claims that under President George W. Bush, there were 13 attacks on embassies and 60 deaths.
On MSNBC, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., claimed that there were 13 attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates -- and 60 related deaths -- while Bush was president. We did some digging and found 39 attacks and attempted attacks on embassies and embassy-related personnel between January 2001 and January 2009. Twenty of them resulted in at least one fatality, with a total of 87 deaths. If you remove from our list the attacks carried out away from embassy or consular property, you end up with 13 attacks and 66 deaths.
Garamendi was trying to draw a comparison between these attacks and the one on Benghazi, but some experts told us that there are valid reasons to treat the latter differently, such as the questions about whether the current administration has been honest about the surrounding circumstances. We rated this claim Mostly True.
3. A chain email claims that taxes are way up because of Obamacare.
Multiple readers asked us to check out a chain email claiming that the Affordable Care Act caused numerous tax rates to jump up on Jan. 1, 2014 -- including the top income tax bracket, the payroll tax, the capital gains tax, the dividends tax and the estate tax (which the email claimed made the impressive leap from 0 to 55 percent).
This email gets many things wrong. The bulk of these changes came with the 2012 fiscal cliff deal, while only about a third of the tax changes mentioned in this email had anything to do with Obamacare. Additionally, the email says no Republicans supported any of these changes, which is not the case. We rated this email Pants on Fire.
2. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says 40 times more Kentuckians have gotten health-insurance cancellation notices than signed up for Obamacare.
Last month, Paul sent out a newsletter to constituents with this claim: "For every Kentuckian that has enrolled in Obamacare, 40 have been dropped from their coverage."
Could this really be the case? There are multiple ways to interpret how many people had enrolled in the Affordable Care Act. When we included those who had enrolled in private insurance as well as the recently expanded Medicaid, we found that the number of enrollees actually exceeded the number of cancellations by more than double -- 413,410 enrollees compared to between 130,000 and 168,000 cancellations. Because Paul’s claim was so wildly off, we rated this claim Pants on Fire.
1. Fact-checking the Benghazi scandal
With debate about the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi still going on, we’ve been monitoring some of each side’s central claims, and our most popular story of the month collected those claims. A few: We rated a claim about the time it took for Obama to react Half True. Could the deaths have been prevented with military action? We said False. And we deemed a suggestion that Obama watched a live video feed of the attacks as Pants on Fire. Did congressional budget cuts contribute to the lack of security? That’s Mostly False. We also found that Obama exaggerated when he said the independent review board had thoroughly investigated every event of the attack; that was Mostly False.