Accuracy in Media

Thanks to an unprecedented day of supposed lying on Sept. 7, President Trump has passed the 5,000-lie mark, according to records compiled by the Washington Post.

On that day, according to the Post, he set a record by publicly making 125 false or misleading statements in a single 24-hour period that included visits to Billings, Mont., Fargo, N.D., and Sioux Falls, S.D. That followed a political rally in Billings, in which the president made 74 false claims in his speech, according to the Post.

“Trump’s tsunami of untruths helped push the count in The Fact Checker’s database past 5,000 on the 601st day of his presidency,” the Post claimed. “That’s an average of 8.3 Trumpian claims a day, but in the past nine days – since our last update – the president has averaged 32 claims a day.”

The 5,000th lie, according to the Post, was a tweet about the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller that “Russian ‘collusion’ was just an excuse by the Democrats for having lost the Election!”

That is Trump’s opinion, and nothing has occurred that renders it a lie or misleading in the least. After 20 months, the Mueller investigation and others have turned up no evidence of collusion with Russia but multiple links to questionable activities by Obama administration officials.  

The Post attributed nearly 140 of the 5,000 lies to Trump claiming the Russia investigation was made up or a hoax. It claims a report from the intelligence community had “’high confidence’ it was correct.”

What was correct? That Trump colluded with the Russians? No story has appeared to that effect. “Whether additional criminal charges will be brought is unclear, but the investigation continues,” the Post said.

To Trump’s claims that his administration did a good job of helping Puerto Rico recover, the Post “proved” this was a lie by pointing to a survey that found 80 percent of respondents rated Trump response to Hurricane Maria negatively.

The Post says 1,573 claims – about a third of the total – relate to economic issues, trade deals or jobs. “He frequently takes credit for jobs created before he became president or company decisions with which he had no role,” the Post states, ignoring the economic incentives to repatriate capital that have been the hallmark of Trump’s economic program.

It also takes on Trump’s claim that he has accomplished more than any other president in history in the same period of time. “Besides the tax bill, Trump has signed few noteworthy pieces of legislation,” the Post stated, ignoring that the tax legislation – with its corporate tax rate cuts and speeded up depreciation have become an engine for easily eclipsing the growth rates of the Obama administration.

To mark the progress presidents have made, the Post relied on bills signed into law – a suspect measure given that this depends on the cooperation of Congress, the wisdom of placing even more rules on the American people and the enormous number of regulatory policy reversals of the Trump administration.

“As of his 600th day, Trump had signed about the same number of bills as Obama and George W. Bush but is behind every other president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.” So it’s at least possible – given the last three presidents have signed about the same number of bills – that this is no longer a reliable indicator.

An example of how the Post counts so many Trump “lies” can be illustrated by an entry from Sept. 9. “If the U.S. sells a car into China, there is a tax of 25%,” Trump tweeted. “If China sells a car into the U.S., there is a tax of 2%. Does anybody think that is FAIR? The days of the U.S. being ripped-off by other nations is OVER!”

The Post responds: “The tariff is 25 percent, but Trump is wrong to suggest no American cars are sold in China. General Motors sells more cars in China (3.9 million) than in the U.S> (3 million) and saw its China business grow 13 percent in 2016.”

Nowhere in the tweet does Trump suggest no American cars are sold in China.

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