Fact-checkers rule on Clintons, the measles vaccine and immigration


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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.

By Nancy Badertscher

Immigration, the measles vaccine, the Keystone Pipeline and the Clinton Foundation.

They all appeared on the fact-checking radar of PolitiFact and PolitiFact Georgia last week.

U.S Rep. Tom Graves, a Republican from Ranger, claimed the pipeline would have created 42,000 job, while U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican from Gainesville, said President Obama said 22 times he could not enact immigration reform on his own.

An alternative health website claimed that the measles vaccine is worse than the disease, and an advocacy group said the William J. Clinton Foundation took millions from foreign governments.

Abbreviated versions of our fact-checks can be found below. Full versions can be found at www.politifact.com/georgia/

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Abbreviated versions of our fact checks are below.

Tom Graves on Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 in a press release

President Barack Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL pipeline killed “42,000 jobs.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Georgia criticized President Barack Obama carried out his threatened veto of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying he killed “42,000 jobs.”

Graves said the veto was “putting partisan politics in front of all the families who would benefit from the good paying jobs” resulting from the pipeline project.

PolitiFact has checked several pipeline-related jobs claims, rating at least three, including one from President Obama, as “False” on the Truth-O-Meter. We decided to check Graves’ statement as well .

The State Department in January 2014 issued a report estimating that the pipeline project would create no more than 50 permanent jobs and about 42,000 other jobs, lasting no more than a year or two.

Graves was correct on the number of jobs. But his statement was misleading by not saying only 50 of the jobs will be permanent. That’s context the reader needs.

We rated his statement Half True.

The measles vaccine has killed 108 people in the last decade, while no one has died of measles.

NaturalNews.com in an article making the rounds on social media on Thursday, February 5th, 2015

The current measles outbreak has prompted some scientific-sounding claims about the dangers of vaccines, including this headline: “Measles vaccines kill more people than measles, CDC data proves.”.

The story goes on to say that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported no deaths from the virus in a decade,, while “at least 108 deaths” have been linked to measles vaccines according to the government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS.

Officially, the CDC shows the last verifiable deaths in the U.S. from acute measles were in 2003, when a 13-year-old boy and a 75-year-old man died from the disease.

A search of VAERS data reveals 105 deaths following one of the four measles vaccines. From the most common MMR vaccine, the count is 96.

The problem: anyone can file a report with VAERS, “even if the reporter cannot be certain that the event was caused by the vaccine.”

In other words, these are deaths that occurred after a vaccine. That’s very different that a death from a vaccine.

And, in the case of the measles vaccine, there have been no reported deaths caused by the shot. Rather, given the high incidence of deadly encephalitis, experts and data show that measles is far more dangerous than the vaccine, even if some kids do have a reaction to the shot.

We rated the claim from NaturalNews.com as False.

American Crossroads on Monday, February 23rd, 2015 in a video

“The Clintons’ foundation took millions from foreign governments” including United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

A group founded by Karl Rove launched one of the first salvos of the 2016 presidential election cycle with a Web video attacking presumed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

American Crossroads released a video Feb. 23 that includes text, alleging that “the Clintons’ foundation took millions from foreign governments” including “up to $5 million” from the United Arab Emirates and “up to $25 million” from Saudi Arabia.

Former President Bill Clinton started the William J. Clinton Foundation in 2001 as a nonprofit philanthropy for global development. We noted that it doesn’t violate campaign rules for a nonprofit philanthropy to accept donations from foreign governments.

Over the years, the Clinton Foundation has taken millions of dollars from foreign governments. This includes between $1 million and $5 million from the United Arab Emirates and between $10 million and $25 million from Saudi Arabia. At least a portion of those donations came in 2014, after Clinton left the State Department and formally joined the family’s foundation that had previously been in her husband’s name alone.

We rated the statement by American Crossroads as True.