Tuesday, February 7, 2017

False claims by the Trump administration

Fake protests, journalists suppressing info about terrorism, a rising murder rate...and other things that aren't happening.


Americans paid to protest?

Jen Hayden wrote:

"Republican Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner casually mentioned he believed the people turning up at his office and Colorado-area protests were 'paid protesters.' So did a Tennessee state senator, who provided evidence that was easily debunked and became an internet joke.

Now the White House itself is latching on to the laughable and insulting notion that these massive protests are the result of 'professional paid protesters.' This must be the largest top secret jobs program in the history of the world."

"Totally detached from reality, White House spokesman says protesters are 'paid professionals'," Jen Hayden, Daily Kos, Feb. 6, 2017.


Terrorist attacks 'not even being reported'?

The president told military leaders at U.S. Central Command on Feb. 6: "All over Europe, it’s happening. It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. And in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.” Press secretary Sean Spicer said, “We’ll provide a list later" and then produced a typo-ridden list of 78 incidents 'executed or inspired' by IS over the previous two years.

The BBC had this response:

"Before the list was published, press secretary Sean Spicer said there were 'several instances' of attacks that had not gained sufficient media coverage (without specifying which fell into that category).

We have reproduced the list below, explaining in each case what happened and whether we reported on it.

Just because the BBC covered an attack does not mean that incident was not under-reported, although it is unclear whether Mr Trump was referring to US or global news organisations.

Some terrorist incidents do get more coverage than others, a point hotly debated on social media."

Of the large number of attacks worldwide, Philip Bump wrote in the Washington Post: "Not every one of those attacks made your local nightly newscast. But filtering what to cover is very different than suppressing information."

"White House struggles to defend Trump’s allegations of a cover-up," Steve Benen, MSNBC, Feb. 7, 2017.

"Trump says terror attacks 'under-reported': Is that true?" BBC, Feb. 7, 2017.

"President Trump is now speculating that the media is covering up terrorist attacks," Philip Bump, Washington Post, Feb. 6, 2017.


Such as the Bowling Green Massacre?

On Jan. 29, Kellyanne Conway mentioned “the Bowling Green attack on our brave soldiers” to TMZ and “the Bowling Green massacre” to Cosmopolitan. Ben Mathis-Lilley explained that "what Conway was (sort of) referring to was the 2011 arrest in Bowling Green, Kentucky, of two Iraqi men who were caught in an FBI sting operation trying to send money and weapons to al-Qaida in Iraq, the group that became ISIS. Both men admitted to having used IEDs against U.S. troops in Iraq before they were admitted to the U.S. as refugees. They were both sentenced to long prison terms." On Feb. 2, she mentioned 'the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre' to MSNBC and was widely mocked for it. Philip Bump said that the laughter was "an undue amount, given the likelihood that her comments were a mistake rather than an intentional lie. Trump’s comments [about the media suppressing information about terrorist attacks] are of an entirely different order and magnitude."

"Conway Had Mentioned Imaginary Bowling Green Attack Twice Before She 'Misspoke' About It on MSNBC," Ben Mathis-Lilley, Slate, Feb. 6, 2017.

"President Trump is now speculating that the media is covering up terrorist attacks," Philip Bump, Washington Post, Feb. 6, 2017.


Murder rate higher than ever?

On Feb. 7, the president told sheriffs from the National Sheriffs Association that “the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years” and said that reporters weren't covering this problem. Tom Jackman pointed out that the opposite is actually true; the rate is "almost at its lowest point" for that time period, according to FBI data, which shows that the murder rate is "less than half the murder rate of 1980."

On Feb. 8, Sen. Rick Santorum told CNN host Poppy Harlow that he agreed with the president's general concern about urban violence, despite not having facts to support it. "I’m not going to defend Donald Trump’s recitation of the facts," Santorum said. "I think Trump speaks more from emotional and how he’s feeling than he does necessarily being bound by all the facts. That’s one of his characteristics. It’s not a strong one, it’s not one that helps him in the debate."

"Trump makes false statement about U.S. murder rate to sheriffs’ group," Tom Jackman, Washington Post, Feb. 7, 2017.


Sam Waterston wrote for the Washington Post on Jan. 31:

"The great issue of today is lying — constant lying in public. Lying is the ally of faction [i.e. partisanship] and, since President Donald Trump's rise to power, it is the greater danger. Yes, the word is lying — not negotiation, salesmanship, bluster, attention-getting, delusion, deception, braggadocio, exaggeration, bullying, alternative facts or any other euphemism. Once, President John F. Kennedy could say that our national problems were no longer ideological but technical. Lying on a grand scale has reversed that.

* * *

By the frequency of his lying, Trump has revealed a truth we have avoided confronting: Like partisanship, regular and habitual lying is an existential threat to us, to our institutions, our memories, our understanding of now and of the future, to the great American democratic experiment, and to the planet. It blurs the truth, subverts trust, interferes with thought, and destroys clarity. It drives us to distraction."

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