Our High Five for July
The link between seeing ultrasounds and choosing abortion; how rare homicides used to be in Milwaukee; and Gov. Scott Walker's statement about much milk Wisconsin imports (yes, imports) were our most popular articles among online readers in July 2013.
Here’s a recap of the five July stories that got the most page-views.
1. Ultrasounds change minds on abortion?
The same day the state Senate approved a bill requiring women to get an ultrasound before getting an abortion (a measure Walker later signed into law), conservative pundit and TV personality Rachel Campos-Duffy, the wife of U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., gave an interview in connection with a Wisconsin Right to Life event.
Campos-Duffy said "upwards of 90 percent" of women seeking an abortion decide not to have one after seeing an ultrasound.
We rated her statement False. Some anti-abortion organizations have made similar claims about women they serve with their ultrasound programs. But we found no evidence to support Campos-Duffy's sweeping statement.
2. Hardly any homicides from ’50s to '70s?
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. has gained a national reputation, particularly among gun owners, for a number of controversial statements. He misfired and earned a False, though, when he said four homicides a year in his native Milwaukee would have been a record when he was a kid.
Homicides accelerated at a steady clip during Clarke’s pre-adult years, ranging from 12 to 75 per year from the late 1950s through the early '70s.
3. Dairyland's milk shortfall
Walker earned a Mostly True for saying: "We’re importing about 10 percent of our milk supply. We’re America’s Dairyland, but yet we don’t have enough milk in this state to meet the demand for our cheesemakers."
There aren't actual statistics on how much milk is shipped to Wisconsin from out of state. Walker relied on two common assumptions, including that it takes about 10 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese, in making his claim.
The best available estimates indicate Wisconsin cheese makers need more milk than what the state's dairy cows produce and that Walker’s statement was on target.
4. Walker's jobs promise
Our Walk-O-Meter tracks the progress of 65 campaign promises Walker made as a candidate. Twice in July, we examined Walker’s signature promise, to create 250,000 jobs during his four-year term. Our rating remains at In the Works.
The first update reflected final jobs figures released for 2012 and the second for jobs numbers released for June 2013.
The upshot: Nearly 81,000 jobs have been added during Walker's term, well below the pace he needs to meet his promise.
5. Chris Abele on residency rules
Besides using the Truth-O-Meter and promise meters, we also occasionally take out the Flip-O-Meter. It measures whether a politician has changed positions on an issue.
We examined Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele on rules requiring public workers to live in the community they work for. We gave Abele a Half-Flip, noting his inconsistent statements. As a candidate in 2011, Abele supported residency rules. By 2013, he opted not to sign a county resolution opposing the’s state move to prohibit local units of government, including Milwaukee County, from imposing residency requirements.
We're always in the market for statements to test on the Truth-O-Meter or campaign promises to check up on. Please send your suggestions: