High 5: Most-clicked in May dominated by taxes, guns and a Pants on Fire

An attack made by Paul Ryan on Democratic leaders in Congress drew the most page-views in May 2018.
An attack made by Paul Ryan on Democratic leaders in Congress drew the most page-views in May 2018.

The top three of our High Five for May 2018 dominated the interest of our readers, based on page views.

The three most-clicked involved a Pants on Fire rating and a fact check about guns, both of which are often popular; as well as a check on a tax claim made by Wisconsin’s highest-ranking national politician, Paul Ryan.

The top five were rounded out with two items on Kevin Nicholson, who has become something of a lightning-rod figure in the 2018 race for the U.S. Senate.

1. Paul Ryan: On the tax reform law, Democratic leaders "are promising to take it all away."

Our rating: Half True.

As the Republican House speaker said, Democratic leaders in Congress have been harshly critical of the law, adopted in December 2017, and have talked about the need to repeal or at least review most of it.

But the tax reform law also provides tax benefits to the middle class, which the Democratic leaders have indicated they want to keep.

2. Leah Vukmir: Tammy Baldwin is "more worried about the mastermind of 9/11" than supporting CIA director nominee Gina Haspel.

Our rating: Pants on Fire.

Vukmir is one of two Republicans running in 2018 for the U.S. Senate seat held by Baldwin, a Democrat. She provided no information to back up an extreme claim that Baldwin has serious concern for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and that it was motivating her not to support Haspel.

3. Jeff Greenfield: "In the rest of the world, there have been 18 school shootings in the last twenty years. In the U.S., there have been 18 school shootings since January 1."

Our rating: Mostly False.

This February 2018 fact check on Greenfield, a broadcast commentator and University of Wisconsin graduate, drew new attention after the May 2018 school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.

By one count widely cited in the news media, there had been 18 incidents in which shots were fired inside or outside of a school or university building in the United States at the time of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. in Feburary 2018. But only three involved a mass shooting. And the count included two suicides, three accidental shootings and nine incidents in which there were no fatalities or injuries.

As for the rest of the world, Greenfield had no evidence to back up that part of his claim. And an expert relied on by the New York Times for gun violence statistics told us there is no way to know how many school shootings -- using the definition Greenfield relied on -- have occurred outside of the United States over the past 20 years.

4. Kevin Nicholson: Conservative mega-donor Richard Uihlein is a Wisconsin resident.

Our rating: False.

Nicholson is the other Republican hoping to win the GOP nomination to challenge Baldwin. He released a list of Wisconsin supporters of his campaign that included "Dick and Liz Uihlein (Minocqua)."

The Uihleins are major business owners in Pleasant Prairie and own property in Manitowish Waters, both in Wisconsin. But Richard E. Uihlein is frequently referred to in the media as an Illinois businessman and he is a registered voter of Illinois. So is his wife, Elizabeth A. Uihlein.

5. Kevin Nicholson: In Context article on remarks he made about military service.

We did this article to give a more complete look at remarks by Nicholson that caused controversy for his campaign. He had said military service is a "conservative value" and he questioned Democratic veterans' "cognitive thought process."