Trump’s Fake News Awards

Stephen Colbert refers to them as the Fakies.  He was hoping his comedy show would win one of these awards.

Fact checkers have been working overtime, as the White House produces one false statement after another.   It is wonderful to have politifact.com,  factcheck.org and other fact checking websites, drill down on the many statements made by politicians.  Trump now has a historical low rating of 4% true and 12% mostly true statements, so 84% of his statements are Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire according to Politifact.

The media is not 100% accurate.  Mistakes are made.  What really differentiates a mistake from a lie, is whether the news organization corrects itself, in a timely and public manner.    The awards were given out for 9 mistakes which were quickly corrected.  Even Paul Kruger’s  opinion on the future of the economy was rescinded a couple of days later when he changed his mind.  No facts were in dispute, so it is hardly reason for a fake news award.

The White House does push back, as it should, when incorrect information is released.  For example, the tweet from Times reporter Zeke Miller stated  that a bust of Martin Luther King was no longer in the Oval Office, was corrected within an hour.  A picture of the statue was tweeted the same day by the White House.  Another pretty silly mistake was made by Dave Weigel who posted a picture of a Pensacola rally, showing the room to be only partially filled, however the picture was taken before the rally began.  Weigel works for the Washington Post, but this tweet came from his personal account, and was never published in the Washington Post.  But, it qualified for a fakie award – go figure!

Then there is the silly  fish food dumping incident.  CNN broadcast a clip showing Trump shamelessly dumping an entire box of food for the ritual feeding of Koi fish during his visit in Japan.  It was Politifact, which caught the error, after examining the entire video, which shows Trump was only following the lead of the Japanese Prime Minister.   The video clip went viral, but so did a host of retractions very soon afterwards with a clip of the Prime Minister also doing the same thing –  dumping the entire small box.   This clearly demonstrated that Politifact will back the president when the reporting is unfair as occurred in this case.  Koigate and the subsequent retraction all occurred on Nov 6, 2017 with the initial mistake occurring two minutes after midnight from a tweet by a CNN reporter, Veronica Rocha.  Glad to see she survived Koigate and is still tweeting (up to 9600 tweets!) for CNN.

I particularly enjoy Gizmodo’s comment, “In the wide world of media mistakes, Koigate is probably somewhere between a spelling error and posting the wrong hyperlink. But you can be sure that we’ll be talking about Koigate for some time as an example of what’s wrong with the media.” It does qualify as a mistake because they quickly admitted the error.     If Koigate can qualify as one of the top ten mistakes made by CNN in 2017, then you really have to give CNN credit for some pretty accurate reporting.

What the awards actually show, is the mainstream media is very concern about accuracy, and has no problem admitting their occasional mistakes.  In fact, when CNN really screwed up by incorrectly stating Antony  Scaramucci,  had  links to a Russian investment fund supposedly being investigated by the United States Senate.  CNN quickly issued a retraction and forced the resignation of three reporters. CNN  suspended Brian Ross for four weeks, without pay, after the Scaramucci mistake.

CNN also reported that according to their sources,  Comey’s testimony would contradict Trump’s on the critical issue of whether he was under investigation.   He did not contradict Trump’s statements on this issue, and CNN reported their original expectation was wrong.   Their sources were wrong on what Comey was going to say.  So what? Stock analysts make hundreds of wrong predictions every day.

The last Fake Award (#11) is really just a Trump’s attack on the Russian investigation in general.  It reads as follows:

And last, but not least: “RUSSIA COLLUSION!” Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!

The GOP.com website, adds this tweet by Donald Trump:

Well, now that collusion with Russia is proving to be a total hoax and the only collusion is with Hillary Clinton and the FBI/Russia, the Fake News Media (Mainstream) and this phony new book are hitting out at every new front imaginable. They should try winning an election. Sad!

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, appointed by the Trump administration, continues his investigation, as do congressional committees led by Republicans.

The fakies awards missed  their target 11 to 0.   In fact,  if that is the best the White House has,  CNN and the others should feel pretty good.  (“hit me with your best shot, fire away”, Pat Benetar, still a classic).  On petty, silly and absolutely non consequential mistakes, I still find Koigate as # 1,  followed quickly by the Martin Luther King bust as # 2, and the Polish first lady non-handshake mistake  (see link from GOP.com) as # 3 and the Pensacola half empty stadium as #4.   See links.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Politifact: Fact-checking Donald Trump’s ‘results’ from his fake news awards

Washington Post Fact-checking President Trump’s ‘Fake News Awards’

GOP.com The Highly-Anticipated 2017 Fake News Awards

Donald Trump and the fish food dump: How early reports got it wrong

Steve Colbert: Fake News Awards (Youtube)

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Quick Updates

Few really quick comments:

US Tax Cuts:   Headlines in the NYT on Tuesday, sums it up pretty nicely, “Rosy Forecast for Economy Defies Evidence.”   with the lead line, “When President Trump adds his distinctive signature to the tax bill, he will be making a huge bet that the Republican strategy of deep cuts for businesses and wealthy individuals will fuel extraordinary growth across the board.”    He’s termed the tax cuts as “rocket fuel.”   It’s a bet, and there are many doubters including Goldman Sachs, which forecasts a meager 2.5% GDP growth rate,  which will mean big deficits for 2018.    A few House Republicans voted against the  tax bill,  as Republicans are supposed to be conservative minded, and want to reduce not increase the national debt.   The reductions in corporate tax rates are permanent, but all benefits to individuals expire in 2025.

Hezbollah:  Just as my Hezbollah story was posted,  a story published by Politico  slammed the Obama administration for not investigating Hezbollah criminal activities, to push forward with the Iran nuclear deal.   There were many immediate strong denials from officials close to the investigation at the time.  It really got out of control, not about Obama administration, but the fact that a number of newspapers did not immediately make this their lead story with 2″ headlines.   Republicans immediately attacked the press for lack of coverage.      See links at bottom of page.

Backlash on Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem:  VP Mike Pence “2017 Christmas Pilgrimage”  was being planned in October, but it’s not going to happen.   It would have been a nice TV show, made to order for the Republican conservative base.   NYT reports,  “When he first floated the idea of a trip in October, Mr. Pence, an evangelical Christian, vowed to highlight the persecution of Christians at the hands of Islamic State extremists, and he scheduled meeting with several Christian leaders, which was sure to play well with his conservative American base. ‘Christianity now faces an exodus in the Middle East unrivaled since the days of Moses,’ he said in a speech sprinkled with biblical references. ‘Help is on the way.’   NYT reports many leaders both Christian and Arab have cancelled, as they can see this simply as a political stunt.  There are real humanitarian crises in the area, but they relate to the Palestinian refuge camp in Lebanon, and Syrian refugee camp in Jordan.  Not likely stops for Mike Pence – too many Muslims there. See NYT link below.

Mike Pence went to Afghanistan to visit troops over Christmas – which was very successful.

The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn the US for recognizing Jerusalem.    Seven countries sided with the US (Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, Nauru and Palau, Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia).

Fact Check Whoppers of 2017 (Fact Check) and Liar of the Year  (Politifact)

And the winner is,  (drum roll)  President Dald J. Trump    He has not wasted a minute, from inauguration day (crowd size largest in history) to just last week, on the tax bill (tax bill will raise taxes for the rich, my taxes will go up).   And how can we forget, “Obama had the Trump tower bugged.”    Bob Corker wonderful quote, “Donald Trump has difficulty dealing with the truth.”

 

Politifact.com:  Trump is now a 3 time winner of “Lie of the Year”  (2015, 2015 and 2017) for the lie of the year.  He takes the honors for (drum roll) “Russian election interference is a ‘made-up story.'”    He’s called the media’s reporting of Russian interference as “Fake News.”   His attacks are way out of the ballpark as he calls reporters both disgusting and dishonest.

In 2016,  Donald Trump was the winner as one who would promoter of false news stories.   Politifact stated: “Fake news found a willing enabler in Donald Trump, who at times repeated and legitimized made-up reports.”

Candidate Donald Trump did not disappoint in 2015, taking first place again, and this time not for any one single lie, but for a constant stream of false statements as he hit the campaign trail.  “Trump’s 2015 inaccurate statements exhibited range, boldness and a disregard for the truth. By December 2015, we had rated 76 percent of Trump’s claims Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire. No other politician had clocked more falsehoods on our Truth-O-Meter, and our only real contenders for Lie of the Year were Trump’s. We rolled all them into one big trophy in 2015.”

See links below.

Well, have a Merry Christmas.   I’m giving this blog a rest until next year.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Fact Check – Whoppers of 2017

VP Mike Pence Trip to the Middle East is Canceled

Politico:  The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook

Washington Post: Former Obama officials criticize Politico story alleging weakness against Hezbollah

Sessions orders review of abandoned Hezbollah-linked drug prosecutions

AG Sessions chose his words carefully.   He’s simply is saying  Department of Justice will review this matter, without addressing whether the Politico story is correct.     This is not the first attempt by Josh Meyers to allege something terribly wrong with Obama’s nuclear deal negotiations.

Much Ado About Nothing: Politico’s Iran Deal Investigation Debunked

 

Most recent lies and half-truths

Summary of President Trump,  Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Nikki Haley more important  lies and half truths in the past  4 weeks.

Trump mislabels Obamacare subsidy as gift to insurers

 Mostly False by Politifact.com.   

This piece of Obamacare was designed to protect lower-income families from hefty out-of-pocket costs. The policies they bought on the Obamacare exchanges came with deductibles and co-pays, but instead of paying those themselves, the insurance companies do.Who gets the money? The doctors, hospitals and labs that provide the services.  At the end of the day, the federal payment covers the insurer for footing the bill…  Every health care economist we reached said if the companies don’t gain any cash from the transaction, then there is no gift, no bailout or whatever term one might use. The one grain of truth is that anything that makes insurance more affordable increases sales, even if by a small amount.

“We’re the highest developed nation taxed in the world.”  Donald Trump

False by Politifact.com

Looking at tax collections relative to the size of the U.S. economy and the number of people, the numbers tell a different story. The United States ranks 28th in tax revenues as a percentage of GDP and 13th on a per-capita basis. Trump said his view is “exactly correct.” In fact, it is exactly incorrect. We rate this claim False.

“And I think that his [Trump’s]  engagement with Congress is something that never happened under President Obama. They were never allowed to debate it. They were never allowed to discuss it. So, now Congress is going to be fully engaged on the threats of Iran.” Nikki Haley,  US Ambassador to the UN.

Mostly False by Politifact.com

Haley wrongly says Congress had no input on Iran nuclear deal… Senators considered a separate, and ultimately unsuccessful, measure that would have given them the the power to block the agreement through a resolution of disapproval. A procedural vote on the resolution fell short of the 60 votes needed to override a Democratic filibuster. Despite the resolution’s failure, by passing the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, Congress was able to have some authority and say in the final agreement. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who spearheaded the bill, has touted the legislation for taking “power back from the president” and forcing the executive office to be transparent.

“I think if you look to Chicago, where you had over 4,000 victims of gun-related crimes last year, they have the strictest gun laws in the country. That certainly hasn’t helped there.” White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Pants on Fire by Politifact.com. There was a brief time between 2008 and 2010 — the window during which Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban had been invalidated but Chicago’s still stood — where that might have been true. But federal court rulings effectively undid city and state laws severely restricting gun use and ownership in the Chicago. When it comes to the concealed carry of weapons, Chicago has less authority to impose limitations than do many other large U.S. cities.

(Personal note-  this is recycled  Trump BS used in the 2016 election.  It was untrue then, as it is now.)

  “Ending the estate tax would “protect millions of small businesses and the American farmer.” Donald Trump

Pants on Fire by Politifact.com.  For 2017, the Tax Policy Center estimated, based on past tax data and modeling, that 11,310 individuals will have estates big enough to file an estate tax return. “After allowing for deductions and credits, 5,460 estates will owe tax,” the center concluded. “Over two-thirds of these taxable estates will come from the top 10 percent of income earners and close to one-fourth will come from the top 1 percent alone.”

Trump Misleads on High U.S. Drug Costs,  Factcheck.org

Prescription drug experts say it is broadly accurate that branded prescription drug prices are higher in the U.S. than other countries, though they say Trump is stretching, or cherry-picking, when he says prices are “double, triple, quadruple” what people pay in other countries.

Trump says this means, “as usual, the world is taking advantage of the United States.” But experts say the U.S. is responsible for the high cost of drug prices, not other countries.
“It is more the drug companies that are taking advantage of the U.S.” Glen T. Schumock, director of the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomic Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told us via email. “We allow the drug companies to do this by not regulating drug prices. Other counties are just doing what makes sense, and what we should do.

Fact-checking President Trump’s speech on the Iran deal,  Washington Post Fact Checker, October 14, 2017

The outright lies and half truths are pretty astonishing.  See link:

Fact-checking President Trump’s speech on the Iran deal

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Lies are free but truth is not

Every day of the week, are flooded with misinformation.  But, it’s really nice to have politifact.com,   factcheck.org and snopes.com  doing their job in fact checking.

Case in point from Trump:

My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before….
7:56 AM – Aug 9, 2017

I thought this would deserve a “Pants on Fire” from politifact.com,  but they just pur it in the FALSE statement.   Everyone seems to have caught this one, because it can take years to add to the nuclear arsenal.

But other lies take some investigation, and the folks at these organizations really are great.   Trump has made 302 statements (60%) considered mostly false, false or pants on fire category,  far surpassing Obama’s 150 statements (26%) according to politifact.com.   Now Obama was president for 8 years so perhaps this is 20 false statements a year, while Trump is average is closer to a lie every day.

But every day, they catch people in high places making all sorts of unsupported claims.   It doesn’t matter if who they are, it is what they say.

But, these organizations depend on individual contributions.   You can donate  to these groups   by going to their website, and making an online contribution.  An informed public is vital to the democratic process.  A public which has been fed lies, loses the ability to make informed decisions.

Stay tuned,

Dave