High 5: Fact checks on attacks in teacher porn case and on heath care get most clicks

Republican Gov. Scott Walker (left), running for a third term, has repeatedly attacked Democratic challenger Tony Evers over Evers' handling of a case involving a teacher who viewed pornography at school.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker (left), running for a third term, has repeatedly attacked Democratic challenger Tony Evers over Evers' handling of a case involving a teacher who viewed pornography at school.
Republican challenger Leah Vukmir (left) has been attacked by the Democratic incumbent, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, over health care.
Republican challenger Leah Vukmir (left) has been attacked by the Democratic incumbent, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, over health care.

A teacher viewing pornography at school and health care were key topics among our High Five, the fact checks that got the most page views in September 2018.

Two of the most-clicked checks were on attacks by Republican Gov. Scott Walker on his Democratic challenger, state schools superintendent Tony Evers, over Evers’ response to a case of a teacher who viewed porn at school.

And two of the most popular fact checks were on health care  — one on an attack by Evers on Walker; and the other on an attack by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., on her Republican challenger, Leah Vukmir.

All our Tammy Baldwin and Leah Vukmir fact checks in the U.S. Senate race.

 

Both the governor’s and U.S. Senate races will be decided in the Nov. 6, 2018 election.

1. "When two judges said it was illegal to fire a teacher" who viewed pornography at school, "Tony Evers worked with Republicans and Democrats and changed the law."

Our rating: Half True.

The claim was by A Stronger Wisconsin, which is backed by the Democratic Governors Association. Judges ruled that an arbitrator was within her rights to overturn the firing, but they did not conclude that the firing was illegal. Meanwhile, Evers supported the change in state law, but was not the leading force.

2. Says Scott Walker refused federal funds and "Wisconsin families now pay nearly 50% more than Minnesotans for the same health care."

All our Tony Evers and Scott Walker fact checks in the governor’s race.

 

Our rating: Mostly False.

The attack was in a TV ad by Evers. Evers attributes the figure to "Wisconsin families," but it draws from an analysis that looks at the premium cost for a 40-year-old individual in each county. And while Evers notes Minnesota "made changes," the framing of the issue — starting with Walker’s rejection of the funds and ending with the difference in health care costs — leaves viewers with the impression that Walker’s decision is the sole, or at least a primary reason, the states have such different premiums. Experts say that’s not correct. Several other policies and market dynamics play a more significant role than Medicaid in determining premiums. Furthermore, differences in the health insurance markets between Wisconsin and Minnesota make simplistic comparisons between the states unreasonable.

3. Says Leah Vukmir was "just about the only legislator who stood with the insurance companies" and "voted against oral chemotherapy."

Our rating: Mostly True.

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The attack was made by Baldwin. On the main vote on a chemotherapy bill, Vukmir aligned with insurance companies that opposed the bill and was one of two state senators to vote no. That said, Vukmir’s vote wasn’t against oral chemotherapy. It was against stopping insurers from charging patients higher deductibles, copayments or coinsurance for oral chemotherapy than they would pay for traditional chemotherapy.

4. Says "I have been through the gauntlet, when we had riots in that Capitol."

Our rating: Pants on Fire.

The claim, by Vukmir, vastly overstates what happened during demonstrations in 2011 over Walker’s Act 10 law curtailing collective bargaining rights, which Vukmir supported.. The claim of "riots" in the Capitol was debunked in 2011 and rarely, if ever, has come up since. That is, until Vukmir put herself on the hot seat by recycling the claim.

5. "A teacher watched hard-core pornography in his classroom," along with other inappropriate behavior, but Tony Evers didn't revoke the teacher's license and "the teacher is still in the classroom."

Our rating: Mostly False.

The first part of the attack by Walker, about the teacher’s behavior, is correct on two points; but on two other points, the validity of the allegations is unclear. Meanwhile, the more important part of Walker’s statement is misleading in saying Evers could have and didn’t revoke the teacher’s license. There was a lack of legal basis for revocation at the time — made clear by the fact that Walkers and Evers backed a change in state law so that teachers can be fired for viewing pornography at school.

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