The High Five: New and old Scott Walker items among the most popular

A Pants on Fire rating given to Gov. Scott Walker and an article about his college days and early political years were two of our most-clicked items in January 2015.
A Pants on Fire rating given to Gov. Scott Walker and an article about his college days and early political years were two of our most-clicked items in January 2015.

We haven’t studied it, but we think there might be pent-up demand for Pants on Fire.

Our evidence?

The PolitiFact Wisconsin item that got the most page-views in January 2015 was one about Gov. Scott Walker that got a POF.

It was our first Pants on Fire rating in six months. 

Click, click, click.

In answering a question about the importance of a presidential candidate having foreign policy experience, Walker said leadership is more important. And he made this claim:

"Documents released from the Soviet Union" show "the Soviet Union started treating" President Ronald Reagan more seriously after Reagan fired the air traffic controllers.

We rated it Pants on Fire because Walker cited no Soviet documents showing that the firings made the Soviets treat Reagan more seriously. And experts, several of whom felt Walker’s claim was outrageous, told us they were not aware that any such documents exist.

(The previous POF item was Walker claiming that Mitt Romney didn’t run on his business resume during the 2012 presidential campaign.)

Another Walker item, published in December 2013, was the second-most-clicked last month. We’re guessing it won newfound popularity because of Walker’s rising profile as a potential presidential candidate in 2016.

The item wasn’t a fact-check but rather an article headlined: "Solving the ‘mystery’ of Scott Walker’s college years and entry into politics." Praised by the New York Times among others, the piece examined why Walker left Marquette University in Milwaukee without a degree.

Third on our list is another item with staying power.

In September 2014 we rated True a claim President Barack Obama made in Milwaukee that "we cut our deficits by more than half." We found that, thanks to income tax revenues rising and spending on emergency assistance dropping, America’s deficit had fallen by more than 50 percent. That item continues to be regularly shared on social media.

The item with the fourth-most page-views was historical in nature, but published in January 2015. It was a claim that made the rounds on social media: The Republican Party has not won a presidential election without either a Bush or a Nixon on the ticket since 1928.

Our rating: True.

No Republican has been elected president since 1928 without a member of the Bush family or Richard M. Nixon on the GOP ticket.

Rounding out the High Five was this claim from U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.: Middle-class Americans "pay a higher tax rate than millionaires and billionaires."

Our rating: Half True.

Baldwin cited a report which found that a "substantial number" of middle-class Americans pay higher tax rates than some millionaires. In other words: Some do and some don’t.

To comment on this item, go to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s web page.