Accuracy in Media

CNN’s new fact-checker said on the air Thursday that he could not understand what President Donald Trump meant by his remarks on getting the Environmental Protection Agency to cite San Francisco for pollution because it allows people to shoot drugs and defecate on its streets. But he knows it is not correct.

“Speaking of New York, it’s one of the cities that gets a mention in this bizarro exchange with Tucker Carlson … here’s a clip,” said anchor Brooke Baldwin introducing the segment.

CNN then played a clip of Trump talking to Tucker Carlson about the filth in the streets of American cities. Carlson points out that Japanese cities don’t have these problems and asks why the difference.

“It’s a phenomenon that started two years ago. It’s disgraceful.” He then said he was considering measures and that “you can’t do that in our cities.”

It was word salad, but it made sense – Trump found the state of these cities unacceptable and was considering doing something about it.

Baldwin asked Daniel Dale, the fact-checker, “Where is that question coming from … in general … that conversation?”

“This is one of those Trump stories that’s so hard to fact check because it seems like there are nouns missing,” Dale said. “What is ‘it’? What is ‘that’? What are the phenomena? What is he thinking very strongly of doing? So it’s hard to be definitive. It seemed like he was talking about homelessness … in which case, you have to ask the question: Really? Homelessness started two years ago? Of course, you know, that’s a problem that’s plagued the United States for centuries, you know. And so, it’s very hard to determine what the president was saying, but we know that … that … he was incorrect in at least some way.”

The problem of homelessness was nearly non-existent in America until the late-1870s and was not a problem in the modern age until deinstitutionalization in the 1980s.

The president is referencing policy changes within the last five years that established San Francisco as a sanctuary city, decriminalized drug use and public defecation, and funded workers to clean up after the junkies by washing their detritus into the city’s drainage system and then into the Pacific Ocean. Homelessness in the city has jumped 13.7 percent between 2016 and 2017 and become a big issue in local, state and now national politics, and California, with 12 percent of the nation’s population, is now home to up to 30 percent of the nation’s homeless.

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