Thomas Eric Duncan left Monrovia, Liberia, on Sept. 19 for Dallas. Eleven days later, doctors diagnosed Duncan with Ebola.
Eight days after that, he was dead.
Duncan's case is just one of two Ebola-related fatalities in the United States, and since Duncan traveled to Dallas, more Americans — at least nine, and likely many more — have died from the flu.
Yet fear of the disease stretched to every corner of America this fall, stoked by exaggerated claims from politicians and pundits. They said Ebola was easy to catch, that illegal immigrants may be carrying the virus across the southern border, that it was all part of a government or corporate conspiracy....
We offered readers 10 finalists for the Lie of the Year for 2014. It's the sixth year in a row we've asked readers to weigh in via an online poll. We received 14,467 votes this year, a record turnout. • First place among readers went to "Global warming is a hoax," a statement made by a losing congressional candidate in south Louisiana. • Here are the full results:
"Global warming is a hoax." — Lenar Whitney. Pants on Fire. 31.8 % The United States has seen "a net loss of people with health insurance" because of Obamacare. —John Boehner. False. 18.8 % The State Department says the 42,000 jobs created by the Keystone XL pipeline are "ongoing, enduring jobs." —Russ Girling. False. 17.8 % "At least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas" and there are "dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol." —Duncan Hunter. Pants on Fire. 8.8 % "My position hasn't changed" on using executive authority to address immigration issues. —Barack Obama. False. 8.6 % Says President Barack Obama has issued upwards of 1,000 executive orders, more than any modern president. —Chain email. Pants on Fire. 4.1 % Amid the "crisis at our southern border," there are "reports of illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases such as … Ebola virus." — Phil Gingrey. Pants on Fire. 3.5 % Some doctors say Ebola can be transmitted through the air by "a sneeze or some cough." —George Will. False. 2.7 % Says his comment about extremists being a JV team "wasn't specifically referring to" Islamic State. —Barack Obama. False. 1.9 % Other (Examples: "All of the above"; "Dick Cheney saying that torture was effective"; "if you like your health care plan you can keep it"; "they're all liars, I'm sick of everyone.") 1.8 % "The only candidate pocketing big money from people who want to destroy coal is Mitch McConnell." —Alison Lundergan Grimes. False. 0.2 %
World leaders gathered recently in Brisbane, Australia, to talk about ways to lift employment in their countries and around the world. Some of their public comments included a good bit of spin. So fact-checkers around the world went to work.
Nine fact-checking organizations from around the world, including PolitiFact, joined forces to fact-check statements from political officials from the United States, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the European Union, Italy, South Africa and Turkey. One common theme: Several elected officials exaggerated how many jobs have been created in recent years....
For those of us who know and love Marilynne Robinson's luminous novels, Lila is a dearly awaited friend. Robinson has chronicled the fictional Ames family of Iowa from the Civil War to the 1950s, in books that began with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead and continued with Home. With this third novel, we finally learn the story of one of the series' most intriguing characters: the old minister's mysterious young wife. ...
10/31/14 State Roundup
Through all the debates, TV ads, emails to supporters and appearances on the campaign trail, PolitiFact Florida has been fact-checking the race for Florida governor. We've published more than 80 fact-checks over the past year on everything from abortion to immigration to university tuition.
Overall, the race between incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist has been chock full of attacks, with each side sending out a barrage of negative commentary....
One thing we've noticed about the midterms of 2014: There hasn't been a unifying theme. Candidates around the country have launched a grab bag of talking points in races for Senate, House and governor. In Florida, it's jobs and education. In Kentucky, it's coal. In Colorado, it's abortion and contraception.
When it comes to the grossest distortions — the biggest whoppers of the 2014 midterms — the topics have been equally varied. When we put together our list, we found claims about the Islamic State, global warming, gun rights and the farm bill....
10/20/14 State Roundup
CNN is hosting the third and final debate of the governor's race tonight and the network has been clear: No fans.
That may avert another standoff like the one that held up last week's debate for seven minutes. But it probably won't stop the candidates from spinning on the issues.
Whether it's Democrat Charlie Crist or Republican incumbent Rick Scott, the two have been campaigning so long that they've started to repeat themselves on issues like jobs, education and same-sex marriage. PolitiFact Florida has been fact-checking the race for close to a year now....
A new ad with an old complaint against Charlie Crist calls it "flippin’ unbelievable" -- then recounts how Crist has flip-flopped on, well, many things.
The ad, put out by the Republican Party of Florida, could have chosen any number of Crist’s positions to highlight, but this one focused on four significant issues: party affiliation, the health care law, abortion and the stimulus. For the most part, it uses clips of Crist’s own contradictory comments before concluding, "That’s flippin’ nuts" and "Charlie Crist, typical flippin’ politician."...
09/30/14 State Roundup
A new ad with an old complaint against Charlie Crist calls it "flippin' unbelievable" — then recounts how Crist has flip-flopped on, well, many things.
The ad, put out by the Republican Party of Florida, could have chosen any number of Crist's positions to highlight, but this one focused on four significant issues: party affiliation, the health care law, abortion and the stimulus. For the most part, it uses clips of Crist's own contradictory comments before concluding, "That's flippin' nuts" and "Charlie Crist, typical flippin' politician."...
We're looking back at 10 recent fact-checks from PolitiFact and PunditFact on climate change in light of the United Nations summit in New York last week. These fact-checks cover some of the key points of the climate change debate.
1. "Climate change is a hoax."
Earlier this year we looked at a detailed video from Louisiana congressional candidate Lenar Whitney, who repeated the assertion that climate change is a hoax. We found — as we have before — that there's an overwhelming consensus among respected scientists that human-caused global warming is real. In this fact-check, we looked at some of Whitney's supporting evidence to argue that global warming is a hoax and found that it was weak. We rated her statement Pants on Fire....
When it comes to claims about Medicare, some political talking points just never die.
In Iowa and Virginia, Republicans have accused Democrats of cutting Medicare to pay for Obamacare. In Florida, a Republican was slammed for ending the Medicare "guarantee." Other Medicare-related attacks have been deployed in Arkansas and Kentucky Senate races. The point of all the attacks is to convince midterm voters that one side or the other won't protect the program....
09/06/14 State Roundup
Gov. Rick Scott has had nearly four years to enact the agenda he promised as a candidate back in 2010: a relentless focus on jobs, a downsizing of government and a hard line on illegal immigration.
PolitiFact Florida has tracked 57 of his campaign promises over four years and found a mixed report. Scott is certainly trying on job creation. He has succeeded in shrinking government. But he has largely reversed himself on immigration. ...
If you're looking for a writer who can do any style or genre, then David Mitchell fits the bill.
His 2004 novel Cloud Atlas had it all, to an almost absurd degree: historical fiction, a detective story, modern literary farce and futuristic sci-fi fantasy. Cloud Atlas was more like a series of stitched-together short stories than a novel, but it pursued a unifying thematic thread: how human beings prey upon each other for their own ends, but occasionally do selfless things that point toward freedom. ...
School was out for most students this summer, but education attacks in the race for governor never took a vacation. PolitiFact Florida has been monitoring the claims and has a report card on how education spending changed under both Charlie Crist and Rick Scott. Both Scott and Crist cite numbers for education funding, but they omit context, including a historic recession and the role of the Legislature or the federal government. Read PolitiFact Florida's full report....
Fact-checking reports from Florida’s Truth-O-Meter can now be read in Halifax Media Group newspapers around the state, thanks to a new agreement between the Tampa Bay Times and Halifax Media Group.
Now, many of the Florida Truth-O-Meter rulings that appear in the Tampa Bay Times, the Miami Herald and online at politifact.com/florida will be available to newspaper readers in other Florida cities. The agreement will reach readers of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the Lakeland Ledger, the Winter Haven News Chief, the Gainesville Sun, the Ocala Star-Banner, the Panama City News Herald, the Northwest Florida Daily News of Fort Walton Beach and the Leesburg Daily Commercial....