Skip to main content

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."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Castration at the Battle of Adwa (1896)

On March 1, 1896, the Battle of Adwa "cast doubt upon an unshakable certainty of the age – that sooner or later Africans would fall under the rule of Europeans." In this battle, Ethiopians beat back the invading Italians and forced them to retreat permanently. It was not until 1922 that Benito Mussolini would again initiate designs against Ethiopia; despite Ethiopia's defeat in 1936, the nation ultimately retained its independence. "Adwa opened a breach that would lead, in the aftermath of world war fifty years later, to the rollback of European rule in Africa. It was," Raymond Jonas wrote, "an event that determined the color of Africa." (p. 1) It was also significant because it upheld the power of Ethiopia's Christian monarchy that controlled an ethnically diverse nation (p. 333), a nation in which, in the late 19th century, the Christian Emperor Yohannes had tried to force Muslims to convert to Christianity. (p. 36)The Victorian English spelling…

Review of Cliff Sims' 'Team of Vipers' (2019)

After he resigned his position, Cliff Sims spent two months in Fall 2018 writing Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House. Many stories are told, some already well known to the public, some not. One buys this book, most likely, to gape at the colossal flameout spectacle that is Donald Trump, as with most things with Trump's name. Sims exposes the thoughtlessness, the chaos, the lack of empathy among his fellow insiders in the campaign and later in the White House, but he does not at all acknowledge the real consequences for ordinary Americans — there might as well be no world outside the Trump insider bubble, for all this narrative concerns itself with — and therefore falls far short of fully grappling with the ethical implications of his complicity.Previously, Sims was a journalist. "I had written tough stories, including some that helped take down a once-popular Republican governor in my home state," he says. "I had done my best to be acc…

It is not journalists' job to vet political nominees, but...?

The position of U.S. national intelligence director is open, following the resignation of Daniel Coats. John Ratcliffe withdrew his name from consideration on August 2, 2019, only five days after Trump nominated him. An article in The Guardian about why Trump picked Ratcliffe:Ratcliffe is a frequent Trump defender who fiercely questioned the former special counsel Robert Mueller during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee hearing last week.Even as Mueller laid bare concerns that Russia was working to interfere with US elections again, Ratcliffe remained focused on the possibility that US intelligence agencies had overly relied on unverified opposition research in investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.Unfortunately for Ratcliffe, he had embellished his credentials. According to Vox: He had "frequently boasted about overseeing the arrest of 300 illegal immigrants in one day at a poultry plant in 2008," but the operation was much smaller and his role w…