5 – True as can be: The statement contains factual assertions, and the key factual assertions can be confirmed with multiple credible sources, quantitative studies with sufficiently large sample sizes, or in-depth qualitative studies that have been subjected to some sort of peer review.
4 – Truth, but not the whole truth: The statement is true, but it may be used in a way that doesn’t provide an accurate picture of the facts on the ground. Or: the statement is based on studies or polls that were conducted properly, but have few data points and represent a “snapshot” view of the phenomenon being discussed.
3 – Half-true: Some elements of the statement are true, per the standards of 4 and 5 above. But the true statements are used in a way that seem to be intended to mislead, or to spin the argument in a direction that really isn’t supported by the facts. Or: the statement includes factual assertions per 4 and 5, but concludes with an assertion that doesn’t seem to be logically consistent with the facts.
2 – Mendacious, but not bodacious: Statements that are completely unsupported by any external factual evidence but not actually contradicted by the facts. Or: Statements that include a significant factual assertion, but draw only on the speaker’s personally-collected anecdotal evidence and can’t be falsified through an independent source. Or: statements that draw on research or polls that are known to be flawed.
1 – A big fat one: Statements that are contradicted directly by facts that would be available to anyone who did a reasonable search for the information. Or: statements that are unsupported by the quantifiable facts and are intended to depict a certain person or group of persons in a negative light.