Monday, November 24th, 2014

The items our readers have loved the longest

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.

Nearly a year ago we introduced the High Five, a review of the PolitiFact Wisconsin items -- fact-checks and sometimes other articles -- that got the most page-views the previous month.

As you’d expect, the most popular ones each month had been posted in recent days or weeks.

But some of our most-clicked items were published months ago. Or even longer. Here’s a look at the top five PolitiFact Wisconsin items that have enduring popularity.

Oh, heck, let’s do six.

Wal-Mart Walton family wealth

In December 2013, we checked a statement by the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, which said: "The Walton family, which owns Wal-Mart, controls a fortune equal to the wealth of the bottom 42 percent." We rated it True.

The latest figures available showed the Waltons’ wealth in 2010 was $89.5 billion -- equal to the entire bottom 41.5 percent of American families.

Scott Walker’s "mystery" years

This article also was published in December 2013. It examined Gov. Scott Walker’s formative political years, including his activism as a student at Marquette University, questions surrounding why he left school early and his first campaign for office at age 22.

It’s a must-read for anyone interested in Walker.

Ron Johnson and Hillary Clinton

In May 2013, we published an In Context item about a testy exchange between U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the attacks on Benghazi, which are back in the news.

The back-and-forth occurred during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing about the Sept. 11, 2012 bombing of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It 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 NRA and the KKK

In a video shared by the Republican Party of Milwaukee County, the president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce praised the National Rifle Association and said the group was "founded by religious leaders who wanted to protect freed slaves from the Ku Klux Klan."

Pants on Fire, we found in an item posted in June 2013. The NRA itself says the group was formed by Union Civil War veterans to improve soldiers’ marksmanship. And we found no evidence that religious leaders founded the NRA to protect freed slaves from the Klan.

Obamacare and premiums

Johnson said that under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the annual premium for an average plan for a family "didn't go down by $2,500, it's gone up about $2,500."

In December 2013, we rated that claim Half True.

Johnson was correct that by 2013, three years after Obamacare became law, the total average premium for employer-provided family insurance had risen by $2,500 per year. But experts said there was little or no evidence that the law was responsible.

The wealth gap

The clicks on this March 2011 factcheck never seem to quit.

Filmmaker Michael Moore said in Madison that the wealthiest 400 Americans "have more wealth than half of all Americans combined."  We rated that True.

The latest figures at the time, for 2010, showed the net worth of the Forbes 400 was $1.37 trillion -- exceeding the $1.26 million of the poorest 60 percent of households.

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