Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Introducing the High Five: A look at our most-clicked items for May

Then-Secretary of State and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., greeted each other prior to a Senate committee hearing on Jan. 23, 2013 in this Reuters photo.
Then-Secretary of State and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., greeted each other prior to a Senate committee hearing on Jan. 23, 2013 in this Reuters photo.

Today we introduce a new feature: the High Five.

We’ll recap the five PolitiFact Wisconsin items that received the most page-views at PolitiFactWisconsin.com during the previous month.

Here they are for May 2013:

1. Hillary Clinton and Ron Johnson

The Truth-O-Meter is the bread-and-butter of PolitiFact. But occasionally we put it aside in favor of In Context, a feature that gives perspective to a statement that gets widespread attention.

Our top item in May was an In Context article on an exchange between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing about the Sept. 11, 2012 bombing of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

The exchange included this oft-cited quote from Clinton:

"Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans," Clinton said in response to questions from Johnson. "What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?"

The last part of the quote was repeated often leading up to a House committee hearing on the bombing. So on May 7, 2013, the day before that hearing, we published the In Context article, which included a transcript of the exchange between Clinton and Johnson.

2. Drunk after a drink?

When a federal agency recommended the blood-alcohol standard for drunken driving be reduced to 0.05 from 0.08, the Tavern League of Wisconsin said that if that change occurred, a person could be legally drunk after having a glass of wine with dinner.

On May 17, 2013, we rated the claim Mostly True.

We found that it’s possible that an individual -- a 100-pound woman, for example -- could reach 0.05 after one drink. But the statement needed additional information -- namely that the situation would apply only in a small number of instances and would depend on other factors, such as drinking on an empty stomach.

3. Walker on Obama, Baldwin campaign offices

Gov. Scott Walker claimed in a fund-raising letter that months after the November 2012 elections, Democrats kept campaign offices for President Barack Obama and Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., open in three parts of Wisconsin -- and that their focus was on defeating him in a 2014 re-election bid.

On May 6, 2013, we rated Walker's claim False. We found only a single employee of the successor to Obama’s campaign group, who didn’t start working until long after the statement was made. And the Baldwin campaign had a single office, in Madison, but not in the areas Walker mentioned.

4. An injured woodpecker and the FBI

Arguing for a thinning of the federal criminal code, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said an 11-year-old girl was investigated by the FBI and had to pay a $500 federal criminal fine for rescuing a woodpecker.

We rated the claim Mostly False on May 28, 2013. The girl did rescue a woodpecker, which is on a federal list of birds that aren’t supposed to be taken or transported. But the FBI wasn’t involved, a citation issued to the girl’s mother was withdrawn and no fine was paid.

5. Handwashing and PBJs

In his first test on the Truth-O-Meter, on May 16, 2013, conservative Milwaukee radio talk show host Jeff Wagner earned a Half True.

Wagner said the "State of Wisconsin thinks you should have to "wash your hands at least 28 times while making a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich." His reference was to sandwich making in a county-owned nursing home.

The state indicated after an inspection that it wanted the nursing home staff to wash their hands more than nine times, but it didn’t specify a number.

That's a wrap for the month.

But we're always in the market for suggestions, whether for Truth-O-Meter items or In Context articles.

Write away:

Email: PolitiFact@journalsentinel.com

Facebook: facebook.com/politifact.wisconsin

Twitter: @PolitiFactWisc