High 5: Most-clicked fact checks include guns and patriotism, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump

President Donald Trump misfired on a statement about presidential elections during his visit to Wisconsin in June 28, 2018. (Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
President Donald Trump misfired on a statement about presidential elections during his visit to Wisconsin in June 28, 2018. (Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Our fact checks with the most page views during July 2018 covered gun use, wealth disparity, patriotism, environmental regulation and presidential politics in Wisconsin.

Those fact checked included Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump on visits they made to the Badger State.

Here’s the rundown of our High Five for the month.

1. Guns: "If there is a firearm available, it is 17 times more likely to be used either for suicide or for assaulting a friend, relative, an acquaintance than it is to be used in fending off an intruder."

Our rating: Half True.

The statement was by Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, one of the eight Democrats running for governor.

Soglin was on point in stating a gun is much more likely to be used for a suicide, assault or homicide than used in self-defense, but was on less solid ground when it comes to stating exactly how many times more likely. That depends on the study, many of which do not differentiate between known and unknown victims. What’s more, recent research is limited.

All our fact checks in the governor’s race

2. Wealth: "The three wealthiest people" own "more wealth than the bottom half of the American people."

Our rating: True.

The claim was made by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who was campaigning in Eau Claire for U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

The wealth of Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and investor Warren Buffett exceeded that of the 160 million Americans at the bottom of the scale, according to a 2017 study. And more recent estimates indicate the wealth of the three has since grown dramatically, widening the gap even more.

3. Patriotism: Tammy Baldwin "opposed displaying the flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or singing the National Anthem in our classrooms."

Our rating: Mostly False.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir made the attack.

Vukmir cited a Baldwin vote from more than 20 years ago. While the vote happened, the claim was presented in a way that ignored Baldwin’s other votes supportive of the flag and pledge. She also portrayed the bill Baldwin voted against as one that would get rid of displaying the flag and offering the anthem and pledge in schools, when it was about changing specific requirements around them.

All our fact checks in the Wisconsin U.S. Senate race

4. Environment: "Political interference" from Scott Walker’s administration has led to "gagging (DNR) scientists so they can no longer comment on proposed legislation" and "we’re letting polluters write their own permits."

Our rating: Mostly False.

The attack on the Republican governor was made by Kelda Roys, one of the Democrats running for governor.

Under Walker, state Department of Natural Resources scientists are permitted to share their expertise regarding proposed legislation -- without declaring a position or commenting on the legislation itself -- by invitation only. The evidence suggests this still happens frequently, though pre-Walker staffers had more latitude in what they could say. Walker has also taken steps to change permit-writing processes so that businesses are more involved and DNR officials less involved. But the plans have not come to fruition, and even if they did, responsibility would shift to "assured contractors" and would not occur in-house with those Roys labeled the "polluters."

5. Elections: Wisconsin "hadn’t been won by a Republican since Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1952. And I won Wisconsin. …  Ronald Reagan, remember, Wisconsin was the state that Ronald Reagan did not win."

President Donald Trump made the claim during a visit to Mount Pleasant for the Foxconn groundbreaking.

Our rating: Pants on Fire.

Trump was wrong on both counts. Republican candidates not named Trump won the state six times since Eisenhower’s 1952 win.

 

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