PolitiFact’s Top 5 for April 2015
We fact-checked claims this month about economic inequality, Hillary Clinton’s grandparents and Marxist school textbooks. Here’s a summary of our most popular reports of the month, counting down to the most popular.
Is a book by Howard Zinn the 'most popular' high-school history textbook?
Rick Santorum, a possible candidate for president in 2016, posed this question to the audience during a recent speech: "Do you know the most popular textbook that's taught in our high schools in America is written by a man named Howard Zinn, who is an anti-American Marxist, and that is the most common textbook?"
While there is anecdotal evidence that Zinn’s work is popular among some high-school teachers, there is zero hard evidence to support Santorum’s core statistical claim -- that Zinn’s volume is taught in more high-school history classes than any other book. We also covered some of Zinn’s interesting biography.
The claim contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression, so we rated it Mostly False.
Rand Paul attacks Hillary Clinton's response to Benghazi attack
Speaking on CNN, 2016 Republican candidate Rand Paul said this of Hillary Clinton: "She didn't provide the security, not just that day, for nine months. Dozens and dozens of requests for more security, all completely ignored by Hillary Clinton."
The numerous requests from officials on the ground in Libya for better security for the Benghazi compound are undeniable and well-documented, though saying "dozens and dozens" might be an overstatement.
Paul is treading into uncertain waters, though, in saying Clinton flat-out ignored those requests. No one has shown Clinton willfully ignored the cries for help from Libya. We rated his statement Half True.
In Context: What Baltimore's mayor said about space for rioters
Did Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake make a conscious decision to allow violent protestors to loot and set fire to stores and police cars in her city? Some people think she might have. A local CBS news video caught her saying we "gave those who wished to destroy space."
We thought it would help to provide the entire text of what the mayor said, and the clarification her office put out about 24 hours later. Read the entirety of her comments.
Hillary Clinton claimed 'all my grandparents' came to the U.S. from foreign countries
Hillary Clinton isn’t the only politician to flub her family’s ancestry while making the case for her presidency.
"I think if we were to just go around this room, there are a lot of immigrant stories," Clinton said at an Iowa event. "All my grandparents, you know, came over here."
It’s very clear from the evidence that not all of Hillary Clinton’s grandparents were immigrants. In fact, only one was. It’s possible she misspoke, but it doesn’t make her comment more accurate. We rated her claim False.
Bernie Sanders says 99 percent of 'new' income is going to top 1 percent
Bernie Sanders, who recently declared himself a 2016 candidate, said that "99 percent of all new income (is) going to the top 1 percent."
Sanders is referring to pre-tax, pre-transfer income growth during the economic recovery from 2009-13. We found consensus among economists that the statistic and calculation offered by Sanders is credible, but it’s just not the only way to consider income inequality. Sanders’ claim is accurate but needs additional notes of context. We rated his statement Mostly True.