Fact-checkers focus on Clinton, Trump, Sanders and Zika virus

How does PolitiFact Georgia’s Truth-O-Meter work?

Our goal is to help you find the truth in American politics. Reporters from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution fact-check statements by local, state and national political leaders, including lobbyists and interest groups. We then rate them on the AJC Truth-O-Meter.

To fact-check a claim, reporters first contact the speaker to verify the statement. Next, the research begins. Reporters consult a variety of sources, including industry and academic experts. This research can take hours or a few days or even longer, depending on the claim. Reporters then compile the research into story form and include a recommended Truth-O-Meter ruling.

The fact check then moves on to a panel of veteran editors who debate the statement and the reporter’s recommended Truth-O-Meter ruling. The panel votes on a final ruling; majority prevails.

Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and a wild tale about the Zika virus.

They all took a ride last week on the AJC Truth-O-Meter, courtesy of those nonpartisan fact-checking scribes at PolitiFact and PolitiFact Georgia.

Abbreviated versions of our fact checks are below.

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Full versions can be found at www.politifact.com/georgia/.

Hillary Clinton on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in comments on “Meet the Press”:

“There really isn’t any kind of foreign policy network tha

t is supporting and advising Senator Sanders.”

It’s not a network in the same sense of Clinton’s.

But Sanders has met with several foreign policy experts. It doesn’t appear he has any team with which he regularly discusses foreign policy.

An expert who advised Mitt Romney said that’s not all together distressing or upsetting, given the nature of the campaign.

The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.

We rate Clinton’s statement Mostly True.

Donald Trump on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, during a campaign rally in Iowa:

“I’m self-funding my own campaign.”

As of the end of 2015, Trump’s own contributions account for more than half of all money the campaign has taken in. He’s contributed far more of his own money than any other candidate this cycle.

However, a significant portion of his money comes from individual contributions. For several months last year, the campaign received far more dollars from potential voters than it did from Trump. Additionally, most of Trump’s contributions have been loans rather than donations, so he may hope to recoup those funds.

The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details.

We rate Trump’s statement Half True.

Bernie Sanders on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, during a Democratic debate in New Hampshire:

“Not one Republican has the guts to recognize that climate change is real.”

We found four GOP presidential candidates who have said climate change is real and it’s man-made. And they have offered support for actions to deal with it.

Whether their proposed actions — or the actions proposed by Sanders — are the best way of tackling the problem is a matter for debate.

We rate Sanders’ assertion as False.

Viral image on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, in comments on YouTube:

“Bioweapon! Zika virus is being spread by GMO mosquitos (sic)”

There’s no evidence that this is true. The argument offered — where the Zika outbreak occurred matches up with where the transformed mosquitoes were released — doesn’t hold up. What’s more, the mosquitoes in question were specifically engineered to self-destruct before they can spread viruses.

This claim is both inaccurate and ridiculous.

We rate it Pants on Fire.