Our top 5 fact-checks and reports for October 2014
Here are PolitiFact’s top 5 most-viewed fact-checks and special reports of October 2014, counting down to the most popular story.
5. Elizabeth Warren’s 'mansion'
A social media meme we recently received, said, "Senator Liz Warren lives in a $5.4M mansion ... and now lectures us that 'the system is rigged to benefit the rich.' " Warren does live in a desirable neighborhood in an expensive city, which means her house is more expensive than that of most Americans. Still, the meme exaggerates. The house’s estimated value is less than half of the stated $5.4 million, and calling it a mansion is a stretch. We rated the claim Mostly False.
4. Five falsehoods about Ebola
The spread of Ebola stoked plenty of misinformation about the virus, its origins and the government’s response. PolitiFact and PunditFact selected five top falsehoods about Ebola, including claims that immigrants were carrying the disease, whether the government was expecting an outbreak and other conspiracy theories. Read the full report.
3. Were we 'told' there'd be no Ebola in the United States?
U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on Oct. 12 that Americans want to know someone is in charge of addressing Ebola and that government reassurances were ringing hollow. "I don’t think we are comforted by the fact that we were told there would never be a case of Ebola in the United States, and obviously that’s not correct," he said.
Actually, Obama and CDC officials have repeatedly said there’s a chance an Ebola case could appear in the United States, but the possibility of an outbreak is extremely low. We found no instance in which an official said Ebola would "never" make it here -- rather, it has always been acknowledged as a possibility. We rated McCain’s statement False.
2. Was the 1956 Republican platform pretty liberal?
A reader recently sent us a Facebook meme, created by the group Occupy Democrats, that summarized a few planks from the 1956 Republican Party platform, followed by the wistful comment, "Share if you miss the good old days!" The planks sounded a lot like Democratic talking points on equal pay, the minimum wage, asylum for refugees, protections for unions and more. We wondered if it accurately represented the 1956 GOP platform.
We found that on most of these planks, the GOP did move to the right after 1956. Scholars said that the shift was noteworthy, while acknowledging much has changed in the United States since the 1950s. We rated the meme’s claim Mostly True.
1. PolitiFact's 9 biggest whoppers of the 2014 campaign
October was the final full month before Election Day, and readers liked our round-up of nine statements we rated Pants on Fire. The list of falsehoods included claims about the Islamic State, the U.S.-Mexico border, guns and women's health. Read the full report.