PolitiFact's top 5 most-read articles in September 2015

The Alaskan mountain newly renamed Denali inspired a ridiculous social-media graphic that we debunked in September. (AP/Becky Bohrer)
The Alaskan mountain newly renamed Denali inspired a ridiculous social-media graphic that we debunked in September. (AP/Becky Bohrer)

We’ve totaled up all our readers’ clicks from September -- and the top five most-read items had almost nothing to do with Donald Trump!

As we do on a monthly basis, here is a rundown of the top five most-clicked stories from September.


1. "The fact-checker's guide to viral graphics contrasting Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders."

​After a New York Times analysis found that Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton voted in synch 93 percent of the time during their two overlapping Senate years, Sanders’ supporters pushed back against the notion that the two leading Democratic presidential candidates are largely the same. Several readers asked us to look at graphics circulating on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit that attempted to differentiate Sanders and Clinton by highlighting differences in their voting records. Here’s what we found.

Later, we gave the same treatment to a graphic, presumably created by backers of Clinton, that painted her in a better light than Sanders on a variety of issues. Here’s our analysis of that graphic.

2. Viral image: " 'Denali' is the Kenyan word for 'black power.' "

Critics of President Barack Obama’s decision to drop President William McKinley as the namesake of America’s tallest mountain charged that the move insulted a great president from Ohio. But anonymous social media critics pointed to a hidden motive in the mountain’s new name, Denali. An image circulating on Facebook accused the president of reaching back to his Kenyan roots for inspiration, claiming that " ‘Denali’ is the Kenyan word for ‘black power.’ "

The meme’s claim was ridiculous: "Denali" has roots in the word "Deenaalee" in Koyukon, a native language of Alaska currently spoken by just 300 people. It approximately translates to "the High One" and has been used for countless generations by Alaska natives. We rated the claim Pants on Fire.

3. Carly Fiorina: One of the Planned Parenthood videos shows "a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, 'We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.' "

Fiorina’s claim from the second Republican presidential debate attracted intense scrutiny.

We found that one of the Center for Medical Progress’ videos attacking Planned Parenthood shows an interview with a woman identified as a former tissue procurement technician who tells about an experience in a Planned Parenthood pathology lab where she sees a fetus outside the womb with its heart still beating. According to the woman, her supervisor said they would procure the fetus’ brain.

However, the video’s creators added footage of an aborted fetus on what appears to be an examination table, and its legs are moving. Fiorina made it sound as if the footage shows what Planned Parenthood is alleged to have done, when in fact the stock footage was added to the video to dramatize its content. We rated her statement Mostly False.

4. "Fact-checking the second GOP presidential debate"

We fact-checked a variety of statements by the participants in the second Republican presidential debate. This was our wrap-up story that included all the fact-checks we did for claims made during that face-off. Here’s what we found.

5. "PolitiFact Sheet: 6 things to know about the Iran nuclear deal"

The 159-page Iran nuclear agreement may hinge on nuclear physics, but understanding the basics shouldn’t be rocket science. We offered to help, with six key points to understanding the deal. Here’s our summary.