Checking the Checkers: Trump Speech

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The AP (Administration's Press) did a comedy piece, playing a DNC water carrier, poorly disguised as fact checking. It's embarrassingly bad journalism, and really just an op-ed piece by a Clinton supporter.

They put 12 partisans on fact checking all his speeches, and this is the best spins they could find.

If you look at the actual facts, Trump was materially correct in all of them. But since saying that, wouldn't fit the meme, they picked nits, changed topics, filled it with fluff or side topics, or had a wonky standard that will never apply the same way to Hillary.

Facts they checked

(1) True : Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America's 50 largest cities. the largest increase in 25 years

  • The AP knows it's true, so instead of admitting it, they talk about Obama's spending trends or about how historically (over 25 years) it's down. Well, Trump wasn't talking about general trend, he was talking about the recent one, and Washington Post analysis said last year, it was up by exactly that amount. If they had any ethics, they'd just admit his point is true at the top, then be willing to give greater context : not obfuscate that he was right with distractions that he wasn't talking about.
  • They omitted the last line which was also true "[Homicides] are up nearly 60% in nearby Baltimore." Or the next paragraph on Chicago, all true.

(2) True : The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015, and they're being released into our communities.

  • The AP knows it's true, so instead of admitting it at the top, they distract with, "this isn't the Obama admins fault, it was a court ruling", on the latter part, and ignore the first part. Again, fact checking isn't defending the administration.
  • I think there's a lot that can be said about our immigration policy, and of course it's not all Obama's fault. But that's another long Op-Ed piece, it's not for a fact checking article.

(3) True : When a secretary of state illegally stores and deletes her emails... and faces no consequences"

  • The AP still doesn't realize that using a private server violated the law, when it does. You can not store secure materials on an insecure device in your home. And Trumps claims all came from Comey (FBI director). So instead they whine that while she wasn't prosecuted (what Trump obviously meant), "she did face consequences" of public perception. Logic yoga : we know it's right, but the AP really, really try to twist it to make it seem untrue. Embarrassing.

(4) True'ish : The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50 percent compared to this point last year.

  • USA Today reported it was 44%. That's "almost 50%". Instead of looking for the source, the AP goes to a different source and includes traffic accidents or heart attacks, and says it's not that high, instead of what was obviously meant. Then admits that in intentional shootings (what Trump likely meant) it's actually up 77% (there had been a lot more since the July 8th article Trump was using). Then they whine about how the trend has been down since 1956.

(5) True : My opponent has called for a radical 550 percent increase in Syrian Refugees... despite the fact that there's no way to screen these refugees.

  • AP tries to say, "we do screen" and it can take months. But the point is that when someone has fled a country, you're taking other people's word, and you can't go to the area, so the FBI and others admitting the screening was completely ineffective. (E.g. you do the kabuki theater of pretending to screen, but you're just taking other refugees words for it, in countries that have poor or missing documentation and you can't actually do an investigation on). The AP tries to muddle that with there's a process, and understates that the process means there's no EFFECTIVE way to screen these refugees.

(6) True : Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when President Obama took his oath of office... Another 14 million people have left the workforce. President Obama has almost doubled our national debt to more than $19 trillion.

  • First, the AP shaved off the first part of the sentence which included "Nearly Four in 10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58% of African American youth are not employed." -- because that was true.
  • Second, they change the topic to the general economy, and try to use the cooked unemployment numbers to change the topic, then even there have to admit (in confusing ways) that even that's way down -- but try to say it's not ALL his fault.
  • Third, instead of checking Trump's debt numbers increase (which is true), they change it to as a percent of GDP, while GDP is a contested number and not what Trump said.
  • Fourth, they finally get to the latino numbers, and change the topic, of as a percent of Latino's it might be down according to Pew, but never admits that Trump's core numbers are actually correct.
  • So that's the perfect example of taking the DNC position on defending the claims, instead of doing just checking the accuracy of what was said.
  • Again, we can get into long debates about each area, and how the AP is misrepresenting those topics, or what they mean. But that's for Op-Ed's, not fact checking articles.

(7) True : President Obama drew a red line in Syria, which meant absolutely nothing...

  • They admit one in a soft way, "and he's basically on target". He's "basically" on target, by being 100% correct? Why the wiggle word? Why the reluctance to say, "He's correct"? No, he's "basically" correct. You can see the bias, and how hard it is for them to just say, "Trump is right", even on areas that their entire staff can't think of a way to spin it into less than completely right.

(8) True : Secretary of state rakes in millions of dollars trading access and favors...

  • "That's a somewhat overheated take on a legitimately troublesome issue for Clinton" -- in other words, "Trump is correct", but they just can't bring themselves to admit it clearly, and have to imply it's overstated. But then have to admit that it really isn't. They dodge, and try to play gotcha, but then ignore stories written in other papers that say exactly what Trump said.

(9) True : After four years of Hillary Clinton we got ISIS empowered, Libya ruined, Benghazi, Egypt ruined, Iraq in chaos, Iran getting nukes, Syria in civil war...

  • AP changes the rules by claiming, "It's an exaggeration to suggest Clinton, or any secretary of state, is to blame for the widespread instability and violence across the Middle East". I think that's true, but that's no the job of a fact checker. The job of a fact checker is to say whether what he said was true or not. And it was true. Done. Everything else on this topic is water carrying or op-ed.
  • Again, we could debate all the failures that lead to each of these things, but Clinton isn't going to come out looking good if you present both sides arguments, so the AP just throws out platitudes to try to make it look like it's not all her fault. And it isn't -- but she was on the wrong side of every decision that went bad. So she wouldn't come out smelling good. But defending Democrat positions is not the job of fact checkers, it's just what they keep trying to do.

(10) True'ish: America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world

  • Now the AP denies it's true by looking at total taxes as a percent of GDP, as reported by a left of center tax institute. But that's exactly unbiased fact checking. Trumps mistake is that he didn't qualify it -- in an hour long speech he left out a word, "corporate" or "business". And instead of doing their jobs and reporting it, AP played "gotcha".
  • Trump has said elsewhere, as have others that we have one of the highest corporate taxes in the world, and the section he mentioned it in was talking about businesses and how to create jobs. We're actually 3rd from the top in worst corporate taxes, but Trump left out a word, and instead of the AP getting the context, and admitting the sub-point and criticizing the overly broad nature, they spun it so it would look like he was just wrong and ranted about that: showing they're either stupid or partisan.

(11) True : My opponent wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment.

  • The AP goes full DNC on this, "Hillary doesn't want to violate the 2nd, she just wants to ban the most popular sporting rifles in America, and you can't transfer/loan guns to kids or family, and supports unconstitutional suspension of your rights if you're put on a list by a bureaucrat, and so on. Hillary Clinton is quoted as saying, ""the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment, and I am going to make that case every chance I get." (Now that was in reference to the Heller decision, which said Cities and States don't supersede the Constitution). We don't know what aspects exactly she was referring to, but there's no way that's not a strong refutation against the 2nd, or that if Heller had gone the other way, it wouldn't have essentially abolished the 2nd (since "shall not be infringed" would have meant, "any city or state government can complete ban every class of gun". The AP forgot to find that reference, and why Trump and others who are informed on the topic, might think she doesn't agree with it.
  • Fact Check plays the same game, saying her stated policies are FOR NOW, to only eliminate classes of weapons, and so on. But politicians cooking the frog in increments, doesn't mean that they're going to stop. What does Hillary WANT to do (not what she says she'd do in her first term)? Everyone that's heard her talk on guns, believes she wants to ban as many guns as she can get voters to buy into, which essentially abolishes the idea that your right to own a gun and defend yourself is a natural right, recognized by the constitution.

Now those were the cherry picked softballs that the AP felt they could make Trump look bad on. And still, they had a very hard time coming up with any examples of lies. A few mistakes or dropped words, but far, far more correct than the average Democrat speech (which they fawn over). But if you want to understand the bias, or lies of omission, you have to look at the facts, they forgot to check because they support Trump. So let's remember a few of those other true ones, that AP forgot to include.

Facts that they didn't check

  1. But we will also be a country of law and order. - (Hillary's acquittal and Obama ignoring immigration law prove that we're currently not).
  2. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life.
  3. The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.
  4. Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.
  5. In the President’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 have been the victims of shootings this year alone. And more than 3,600 have been killed in the Chicago area since he took office.
  6. Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens
  7. One such border-crosser was released and... ended the life of an innocent young girl named Sarah Root. One more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders.
  8. Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000.
  9. Our manufacturing trade deficit has reached an all-time high – nearly $800 billion in a single year.
  10. Our roads and bridges are falling apart,
  11. our airports are in Third World condition,
  12. and forty-three million Americans are on food stamps.
  13. one international humiliation after another. We all remember the images of our sailors being forced to their knees by their Iranian captors at gunpoint.
  14. This was just prior to the signing of the Iran deal, which gave back to Iran $150 billion and gave us nothing – it will go down in history as one of the worst deals ever made.
  15. In Libya, our consulate – the symbol of American prestige around the globe – was brought down in flames.
  16. America is far less safe – and the world is far less stable – than when Obama made the decision to put Hillary Clinton in charge of America’s foreign policy.
  17. In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map. Post Hillary: ISIS has spread across the region, and the world.
  18. Pre Hillary: Libya was cooperating. Post Hillary: Libya is in ruins, and our Ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers.
  19. Pre Hillary: Egypt was peaceful. Post Hillary: Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control.
  20. Pre Hillary: Iraq was seeing a reduction in violence. Post Hillary: Iraq is in chaos.
  21. Pre Hillary: Iran was being choked by sanctions. Post Hillary: Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons.
  22. Pre Hillary: Syria was under control. Post Hillary: Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis that now threatens the West.
  23. Big business, elite media and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place. They are throwing money at her because... She is their puppet, and they pull the strings.
  24. When the FBI Director says that the Secretary of State was "extremely careless" and "negligent," in handling our classified secrets, I also know that these terms are minor compared to what she actually did. They were just used to save her from facing justice for her terrible crimes. In fact, her single greatest accomplishment may be committing such an egregious crime and getting away with it – especially when others have paid so dearly.
  25. the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders – he never had a chance.
  26. On Sunday, more police were gunned down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Three were killed, and four were badly injured.
  27. This Administration has failed America’s inner cities. It’s failed them on education. It’s failed them on jobs. It’s failed them on crime.
  28. Once again, France is the victim of brutal Islamic terrorism. Men, women and children viciously mowed down. Lives ruined. Families ripped apart. A nation in mourning.
  29. The damage and devastation that can be inflicted by Islamic radicals has been over and over – at the World Trade Center, at an office party in San Bernardino, at the Boston Marathon, and a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee
  30. Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist.
  31. Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African-American and Latino workers.
  32. On Monday, we heard from three parents whose children were killed by illegal immigrants Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden, and Jamiel Shaw. They are just three brave representatives of many thousands.
  33. Instead, my opponent wants Sanctuary Cities.
  34. Yet Hillary Clinton is proposing mass amnesty, mass immigration, and mass lawlessness. Her plan will overwhelm your schools and hospitals, further reduce your jobs and wages, and make it harder for recent immigrants to escape from poverty. [These are likely consequences of her policies, but not guaranteed, or maybe not even intended]
  35. America has lost nearly-one third of its manufacturing jobs since 1997, following the enactment of disastrous trade deals supported by Bill and Hillary Clinton.
  36. My opponent, on the other hand, has supported virtually every trade agreement that has been destroying our middle class. She supported NAFTA, and she supported China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization – another one of her husband’s colossal mistakes. She supported the job killing trade deal with South Korea. She has supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  37. Hillary Clinton plans a massive tax increase
  38. I have proposed the largest tax reduction of any candidate who has declared for the presidential race this year – Democrat or Republican.
  39. Excessive regulation is costing our country as much as $2 trillion a year, and we will end it.
  40. My opponent, on the other hand, wants to put the great miners and steel workers of our country out of work
  41. My opponent would rather protect education bureaucrats than serve American children.
  42. My opponent dismissed the VA scandal as being not widespread – one more sign of how out of touch she really is.
  43. An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans.


So the total score is something like 51 facts that were true, and 3 that were mis-worded, but basically true (if you could understand context, or get that it was overstated but still on-target). That’s a far better score than Obama’s speeches usually get, but the AP can’t bring itself to do their jobs and report it.

The AP decided to cherry pick 11, and spin as hard as they could to mislead people to think that almost everything was wrong or deceptive. We'll see at the DNC if they do the same for Hillary. (Of course they have no history of treating the two sides equally in the past, but there's always hope).

The point isn't that politicians don't spin (including Trump). There's inferences that things that happened under Hillary/Obama are their fault, and of course we know that administrations are more victims of their times, than the causes of everything that happens in it. But again, that's not the point. If the AP was playing fair, they'd complain under the same terms that George Bush didn't cause the Iraq war, that had been festering for 14 years before him, and he just finally enforced the decade old terms of the cease fire that Clinton had ignored. So there's a lot of way to blame or absolve Presidents of things that happen under their administrations, and you can read the AP and see examples of both: blame under Republicans, and absolution and happenstance for everything that happens under Democrats. Just like this article showed how they pick nits, distract, cherry pick, and use other forms of propaganda and bias for Republican candidates. And soon we'll see the other side of the AP when Hillary does her acceptance speech.


You can contrast this to the same job the fact checkers did towards Trump at:

Checking the Checkers: Clinton Speech


The AP carried the DNC's water when "fact checking" the Trump speech, basically twisting 11 true (or mostly true) things into looking like he was lying, then ignoring 43 other true facts, to keep their ratios down: Checking the Checkers: Clinton vs Trump speeches

So of course you expect they'd treat Hillary Clinton the same way, and measure her by the same yardstick? Don't be absurd. The AP doesn't stand for the Administration's Press for nothing. They are to Journalism what Michael Moore was to Documentary Film Making: slovenly, hypocrtical, obnoxious propagandists. ABC news, Yahoo and a few others ran the AP piece, which means they agree (or were too lazy to vet the material before publishing).

Or the root article:

Checking the Checkers: Clinton vs Trump speeches


The AP (Administration's Press) did a couple of comedy pieces, playing a DNC water carrier, poorly disguised as fact checking. (WaPo, PBS, ABC, Yahoo, and a few other places ran these pieces, so they own that bias as well).

The idea appears to have been to cherry pick the worst 11 things Trump said, and play pedantics to make them look worse, while ignoring 57 things he said that were correct facts. Then compared that to the 11 best things Hillary said (with a few sacrifices to look objective), then excusing most of them, while ignoring 60 things they could have criticized her on, if they were measuring her by the same yardstick as Trump. Michael Moore couldn't have done it better.

The article's below summarize each of the two speeches and "FactChecks" to show not only how they use selection bias, standards bias, and other techniques within each "fact check" -- but also how massively obvious the bias is when you compare them side-by-side. (Assuming you believe that both side's politicians lie equally).

And for a scorecard of how the networks treated each candidate, there MRC/Newsbusters: