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Fact Checking the ABC Fact Checkers
By Gary F. Zeolla
After President Trump’s First Solo Press Conference on Thursday, February 16, 2017, ABC News posted an article titled, Trump press conference fact-check: What the president got wrong and right. It was linked to from my Google new page, so I read it. In this article, I will fact check their fact checking point by point.
Despite the name of the article, the article focused on what Trump supposedly got wrong in his press conference. ABC went through a list of 14 of these supposed inaccuracies. I will go thorough each item in order.
1. Trump said his electoral college win was the biggest since Ronald Reagan’s in 1984. But ABC pointed out that Obama’s win was bigger in 2012. That is true, but as Trump said later, “it was a big margin,” and that was his point. He won by a landslide. That is what matters given all of the attempts to delegitimize his victory.
2. Then Trump said his administration was setting a record “in the time of approval of a cabinet,” meaning how slow Congress has been in approving his appointments. And ABC confirms that claim is true. He has less cabinet officials confirmed at four weeks than any previous President. But then they add, “But, here’s a point of reference: President Obama’s cabinet was not complete until April 28, 2009, when his pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, was confirmed.”
But so what? That Obama had one cabinet official that took a long while to confirm does not negate that Trump was correct. The obstructionist Dems in the Senate are slowing down the speed at which Trump’s cabinet appointments are being confirmed, despite the fact that they cannot stop any of his appointments, and that is hindering Trump’s administration.
The Republicans did not do this in 2008 when Obama first too office, or in 1992 when Clinton first took office. And that is the point. Thus Trump was both technically correct and correct in his general point. But ABC simply cannot leave at that but must add an irrelevant point.
3. Trump used Senator Dan Coats not being confirmed as an example of the obstructionism of the Senate Dems. But ABC says that is because his “paperwork” has not been filed. The Dems have been using this excuse throughout the confirmations process. But I have heard several Senate Republicans say that it is not true. The paperwork is there, but the Dems are claiming it is not as a stall tactic.
4. Next Trump said, “Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars,” referring to illicit drugs, not prescription drugs. But ABC says this is not true—candy bars only cost a buck, while illicit drugs cost far more. Seriously? Doesn’t ABC recognize hyperbole when they hear it? In case ABC cannot use a dictionary, hyperbole means, “exaggeration for effect and not meant to be taken literally” (YourDictionary.com).
IOW, a hyperbole is an exaggeration used to make a point. Jesus used the same device when He said, “it is easier [for] a camel to pass through an eye of a needle, than [for] a rich [person] to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matt 19:24b). Of course, a camel cannot pass through the eye of a needle, but Jesus was using that hyperbole to indicate that not no one can earn their way into heaven, not even rich people, who were considered especially blessed by God at that time.
Similarly, Trump was saying illicit drugs were cheap and easy to get and that is why they are destroying our youth, especially in the inner cities. And that is a very true observation that Trump promises to fix. And that is what matters.
5. Trump said “Jobs are pouring out of the country.” And ABC agrees that “the U.S. has lost nearly 5 million manufacturing jobs over the last two decades.” And that is what Trump was referring to. But ABC cannot say just that. They first must indicate that jobs have grown “every month since October 2010.” But that is only because of the great number of jobs that were lost in 2008 recession.
And let me use that to make an important point. I am tired of people comparing Obama’s final economic numbers to the numbers when he first took office. Of course there would be an improvement as Obama had the “good fortune” of entering office at the depths of a recession. As such, the economy had nowhere to go but up.
To explain, in a capitalistic society, there will always be an ebb and flow of recession and boom. If Obama had done nothing, jobs would have come back and the stock market numbers would have increased. In fact, both would have happened much faster and be much higher today if Obama had done nothing. But his unsound economic policies, excessive government regulations, and Obamacare have been a drag on the economy. And that is why there never was a “boom” during his Presidency, and he was the first President to not have economic growth over 3%.
That is why the less than 5% unemployment rate is a joke, as it does not count the millions of Americans who have been out of work for so long they have given up looking for work. The real number would be much higher if all of the over 95 Americans who are out of work would be counted. Add to this illegal immigration, and this whole situation has led to depressed wages.
Going back to Trump’s statement, it is that slow rate of growth, high unemployment number, and depressed wages that Trump is referring to and that Americans are suffering through. And for those Americans who are suffering economically, the relief that Trump’s economic and immigration polices will bring will be more than welcomed.
6. Trump said, “Hillary Clinton gave [Russia] 20 percent of our uranium.” I’ve heard this claim elsewhere worded in this manner. But ABC claims it is actually only referring to Russia buying land on which uranium is produced and not actual uranium, and that Hillary had no control over it. Not knowing the exact details on this one, I cannot say if that is true or not. But the overall point is Hillary was not able to reign in Russia, and on that idea, Trump was correct.
7. Next Trump referred to the 9th circuit court of appeals being overturned by the US Supreme Court 80% of the time and called it “a record number.” ABC admits Trump is correct in that that very liberal court is overturned 80% of the time, but they point out another court is overturned 87% of the time. That might be true, but Trumps point remains: the 9th circuit court of appeals is a very liberal court whose decisions do not stand, and that is why his executive order on immigration was appealed to it by its opponents, as they knew that court would put a halt to it, no matter that it was both Constitutionally and statutorily sound.
8. Next Trump claims that more people came out vote in the November election that ever before. To disprove this one, ABC goes back to 1876 to get a higher voter turnout rate. 1876? Seriously? They really had to dig to find that one. 2016 had the highest voter turnout rate in the lifetimes of anyone alive today, and that is what matters.
9. Next Trump said “There has been a tremendous surge of optimism in the business world.” ABC appeals to the “consumer confidence index” to disprove this statement. But as we found out in the 2016 election, polls are meaningless. Moreover, Trump is referring to businesses having the optimism to expand not to the consumers in this particular statement.
10. Next Trump said the media has a lower approval rate than Congress. ABC points out that is not technically true, appealing to a poll in September that showed Congress had a problem rate of 19% while the press was at 32%. But that was back in September. Given all of the bias and fake news coming out of the mainstream media since Trump’s election and especially since his inauguration, the approval rate of the press is probably much lower today. I know this writer’s opinion of the press has fallen dramatically, and that was Trumps’ point.
11. Next Trump referred to him getting 306 electoral votes, which he did, on Election Day. But ABC is quick to point out that the final vote was only 304. That is because two electors went against the will of the citizens of their state and voted for someone else. But that does not change the fact that Trump won 306 electoral votes by the vote of the people. And whether 304 or 306, it was a landslide. Incidentally, five electors who were supposed to vote for Hillary voted for someone else, making Trump’s final margin of victory even greater than it was on Election Day. Of course, ABC does not mention that.
12. Next Trump refers to the incredible progress his administration has made in four weeks, saying it is greater than any previous demonstration. But ABC points out “Trump has signed 12 executive orders vs. 15 executive orders for Obama.” But the number of orders is not what matters; what matters is the effect those orders had. But that is an interesting point, given that many liberals, including in the media, are complaining that by signing so many executive orders Trump is trying to turn the Presidency into a kingship. Why then were they not complaining when Obama signed even more executive orders?
But back to the point, it is not just executive orders that Trump has in mind. He is also referring to the great number of foreign leaders he has met with or at least talked with on the phone. By doing so, he is restoring the strained relations that American had with foreign counties under Obama. Most noble among these was meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, restoring our relations with Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East, that Obama had all but destroyed.
13. Next Trump said, “He [Alexander Acosta] is a member and has been a member of the National Labor Relations Board and has been through Senate confirmation three times.” ABC points out that Acosta is not currently a member of the NLRB, though he was in the past. Technically true but missing the point that he was confirmed three times by Congress, so there is no reason to hold up his confirmation now.
14. Finally, Trump referred to Ford and Fiat Chrysler building plants or investing in jobs in America rather than in Mexico, indicating it was due to his election. ABC admits these moves by these companies are true, but they claim it is not due to Trump. But such is hard to prove one way or the other. Moreover, every President takes credit for any good economic news, whether they had anything to do with it or not.
One a few points, ABC is technically correct in that something Trump said was technically incorrect. But on other points, Trump was correct. But most of all, ABC is ignoring Trump’s overall point on each issue, and one each of those main points, Trump was correct. And that is what matters. ABC is just nitpicking to try to make it sound like Trump is being disingenuous, when he is not.
That is what has been happening in the mainstream media ever since Trump was elected. They are latching onto some minor point in one of his statements that is not technically correct and making that minor misstatement into a major issue, trying to make Trump out to be a liar and a fool who doesn’t know what he is talking about. When in fact Trump’s overall message is always correct, and he in fact knows what he is talking about.
Fact Checking the ABC Fact Checkers. Copyright © 2017 By Gary F. Zeolla.
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The above article was posted on this website February 19, 2017.
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