Reagan fact-check still tops in Georgia
In 2013, PolitiFact Georgia reporter Janel Davis checked into a claim from President Barack Obama about the man who held the office decades ago.
Obama was laying out a package of gun-control proposals about a month after a mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., left 20 schoolkids and six adults dead.
Among the initiatives, which did not receive Congressional support, was an assault-weapons ban that led Obama to conjure President Ronald Reagan’s stance on the issue.
"A majority of Americans agree with us" a ban on assault weapons, Obama said. "And, by the way, so did Ronald Reagan, one of the staunchest defenders of the Second Amendment, who wrote to Congress in 1994, urging them -- this is Ronald Reagan speaking -- urging them to listen to the American public and to the law-enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of military-style assault weapons."
Obama’s push for an assault-weapon’s ban hearkens to the original ban passed in 1994 that expired in 2004. At the time of that ban’s passage, Reagan -- who took office in 1981-- supported it.
History shows that Reagan's track record on guns is a winding road. He was a strong gun rights supporter who signed legislation that provided protection for gun owners.
But following the assassination attempt on his life, he supported the Brady Bill, which called for background checks and a waiting period for potential gun owners.
After his presidency, he also supported a 1994 assault-weapons ban and even joined two other former presidents in a letter to a major newspaper urging congressional approval of a ban.
Evoking past presidents, especially Reagan, is a frequent practice by politicians – as we’ve seen in the 2016 GOP race for the White House so far.
But in this case, it was a Democrat whose recollection was right on content and context.
We rated Obama’s statement as True.
Two more recent fact-checks also drove up the hits for the month:
October started with ESPN and other sports media reporting that the Alabama Crimson Tide held rare underdog status in their game against the Georgia Bulldogs.
We round the oddsmakers were looking at the fact Alabama had been favored to win for 72 games in a row. But that wasn’t the case as the bets were placed for the Oct.
But since betting goes on down to the wire, there was a possibility that the underdog status could change up to game time. That's why they call it gambling.
Given the unknown, we have to hedged a bit ourselves and rated the statement Mostly True.
It didn’t help the Bulldogs, though. They lost, 38-10.
The truth about a fake
We closed out the month with one of our strangest fact-checks in recent memory.
A reader reached out, demanding we take a look at the over-the-top statements posted on Twitter by "Rep. Steven Smith" of Valdosta.
The truth is, that timeline has more than its share of outlandish statements.
The truth also is, the "Congressman" claims to represent Georgia’s 15th District – in a state that only has 14.
In other words, the account, and the Congressman, are fakes.
The parody account has tripped up other journalists and web users, but a quick check of those facts makes the ridiculous all too clear.
We rated it as Pants on Fire.