Traverse City Record-Eagle


January 11, 2014

Fact Check: Most popular fact-checks of 2013

By Steve Contorno


As 2013 comes to close, it’s time again to share our most popular fact-checks from the past 12 months. Topics ranged from government surveillance to the national debt to the Obamas’ family vacation.

The following are the 10 fact-checks that received the most page views this year, in reverse order as a countdown to our most popular check.

n 10. Barack Obama says the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ‘is transparent’

The federal intelligence gathering community came under fire in 2013 after former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden leaked information on the government’s classified spying programs. Amid the fallout, President Obama told Charlie Rose that the federal court that oversees some of those programs is “transparent.” We rated the statement Pants on Fire.

n 9. Obama says Reagan raised debt ceiling 18 times; George W. Bush seven times

As Congress and the White House headed toward another impasse over the debt ceiling, Obama called on the nation to pressure Republicans to once again vote to increase the nation’s borrowing limit. He invoked his Republican predecessors to make his case, and we rated his statement True.

n 8. Sen. Ted Cruz says Obama ‘just granted all of Congress an exception’ to Obamacare

Just as uninsured Americans can purchase insurance on the federal or state-run health insurance marketplaces, Congress will to do the same. In fact, through a special provision in the law, members of Congress were forced out of the insurance programs for government employees and onto the online marketplaces. We rated Cruz’s statement False.

n 7. Al Sharpton defends Obama family vacation, saying George W. Bush spent more time away

Presidential vacations often draw the scorn of the opposing party, whether for the cost to taxpayers or to accuse the commander in chief of skirting his duties. Obama has certainly not been the exception, as Republicans have notably counted the rounds of golf he has played since taking office. Sharpton set to quiet the critics, telling his MSNBC viewers that Bush spent four times as much time vacationing as Obama. And for the most part, Sharpton was right and we rated his statement Mostly True.

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