Top PolitiFact Wisconsin stories in March

Posted at 6:28 PM, Apr 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-05 19:28:31-04

Claims about guns, school shootings and Hillary Clinton are the top Four at Four clicked items in March for PolitiFact Wisconsin. Tom Kertscher with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broke it down.

#4 "The Koch brothers have given" Paul Ryan "$500,000 in campaign contributions."

This statement was made by Clinton's rival for the 2016 nomination, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. He made the statement while campaigning for Randy Bryce, one of two Democrats running for the southern Wisconsin U.S. House seat held by Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.

It wasn't the two Koch brothers, Charles and David, but rather Charles Koch and his wife who contributed $495,400.

The money was given to a joint fundraising committee controlled by Ryan. But it primarily funds campaigns of other Republicans because, by law, only $10,800 could go to Ryan's own campaign fund.

Our rating: Half True.


#3 Did Hillary Clinton call Wisconsin "backwards"?

This was an In Context article, in which we fleshed out a soundbite from Clinton that was quickly pounced on by the Republican Governors Association, partly to boost the re-election campaign of GOP Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Our article laid out how the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee didn't specifically mention Wisconsin, though arguably she alluded to it when making her "backwards" remark.

No Rating.


#2 "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."

This claim was made on the day of the Florida school shooting by longtime network TV journalist and author Jeff Greenfield, a University of Wisconsin-Madison alumnus.

By one count widely cited in the news media, at the time there had been 18 incidents in which shots were fired inside or outside of a school or university building in the United States so far in 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.

Our rating: Mostly False.


#1 The National Rifle Association was "founded by religious leaders who wanted to protect freed slaves from the Ku Klux Klan."

The statement was made in 2013 by Harry Alford, president and chief executive officer of the D.C.-based National Black Chamber of Commerce, and was posted on the website of the Milwaukee County Republican Party.

The NRA itself says the group was formed by Union Civil War veterans to improve soldiers' marksmanship. And we found no evidence that religious leaders founded the NRA to protect freed slaves from the KKK.

Our rating: Pants on Fire.