Stand up for the facts!
Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.
I would like to contribute
Americans entered 2021 after a tumultuous post-election season filled with lawsuits and falsehoods about the 2020 election. Just six days into the new year, as the nation prepared to pass the baton from President Donald Trump to Joe Biden, we saw an unprecedented attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Statements about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and Biden’s efforts to help the country recover from a pandemic fueled much of the political conversation in 2021. We fact-checked many claims about COVID-19, including about vaccines, as well as about immigration and the economy.
While PolitiFact every year selects the Lie of the Year, we also wanted to highlight fact-checks that drew the most readership.
We found that the 10 highest-read fact-checks were of statements found through our partnership with Facebook to debunk misinformation. Most of them were on the false side of our Truth-O-Meter, although two were Half True.
With that, here’s PolitiFact’s countdown to the most popular fact-check of 2021.
Claim: "Biden’s Treasury Department declares IRS will monitor" all accounts over $600. – Infowars
Rating: Mostly False
The Treasury made no such declaration. The department made a proposal to Congress which at the time said that banks would have to annually report the total inflows and outflows from accounts, if the total was at least $600 in a year, or if the account’s value is at least $600. (The Treasury Department later raised the proposed threshold to $10,000, but this provision didn’t make it into law.)
Claim: A man who stormed the U.S. Capitol in a horned fur cap is an "Antifa thug." – Facebook posts
Rating: Pants on Fire
The man, Jacob Anthony Chansley, is a known QAnon supporter who has backed Trump. He did not have antifa ties. Chansley led rioters through the Capitol using his bullhorn and ignoring orders from police officers, according to court records. He scaled the Senate dais and took Vice President Mike Pence’s seat and wrote on a notice that Pence was a "f—ing traitor" and "it's Only A Matter Of Time. Justice Is Coming!" On Jan. 7, Chansley called the FBI and told an agent that he came to D.C with other "patriots" from Arizona at the request of Trump. In November, Chansley was sentenced to 41 months in prison.
Claim: Says Luc Montagnier said, "There is no hope and no possible treatment for those who have been vaccinated already. We must be prepared to incinerate the bodies." – Viral image
We couldn’t find any evidence that Montagnier, a French virologist who shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his role in discovering HIV, made the statement that appears in the Facebook post. There are no credible sources corroborating this online, nor any news coverage reporting on the scientist’s claims.
Claim: Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother "drove him across state lines and dropped him off in the middle of a riot armed with an assault rifle" in Kenosha. – Viral image
Claim: Says President Joe Biden’s order stopping the Keystone pipeline "made oil more expensive for us to use." – Facebook posts
Rating: Mostly False
We found no evidence to support the claim that Biden’s order has made oil more expensive for consumers. Spot market prices for benchmark products fell slightly in the days after he issued the order on Jan. 20, his first day in office.
Claim: "If your employer is mandating any pokes, do not quit. Make them fire you. That way you get unemployment benefits." – Facebook posts
Claim: "By revoking the Keystone pipeline permit, Biden is destroying 11,000 jobs." – Facebook posts
Claim: Quotes show Democrats supported riots "when BLM was BURNING down cities and killing people in the streets!" – Facebook posts
Claim: Lumber, gas, wheat, coal and corn cost more in April 2021 "in Joe Biden's America" than they did a year earlier. – Facebook posts
Rating: Half True
Prices for lumber, gas, wheat, coal and corn were sharply higher in April 2021, about three months after Joe Biden became president, than they were in April 2020. The main reason was the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, the pandemic all but shuttered the economy and depressed prices across the board.
See individual fact-checks for sources