Fact Checking the Fact Checkers

By David Keptsi

 

After the mess that was the first presidential debate, many people were driven to fact checking websites to try to make sense of the B.S. coming out of both candidates mouths. Unfortunately the same websites/publications that have a supposed duty to objectively fact check the debate seem to have been either purchased by foreign interests or are outright trying to push an agenda with the selectiveness of their fact checking. As such, I have decided to fact check the fact checkers. While I would love to criticize the New York Times fact check, they were so highly selective with what they chose to fact check that only minor points were truly covered. While the fact checking on NPR’s website was also quite egregious, at least they provided a transcript so it’s easy to see what they left out. The following are the particularly annoying mistakes made by NPR in their coverage.

 

“I want us to invest in you. I want us to invest in your future. That means jobs in infrastructure and advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean renewable energy and small business because most of the new jobs will come from small business. We also have to make the economy fairer. That starts with raising the national minimum wage and also guarantee, finally, equal pay for women’s work.”-Hillary Clinton

The part of that statement fact checked was raising the minimum wage, the note given was that the minimum wage hasn’t risen since 2009. That wasn’t really worth fact checking, but it seems even worse in light of the following statement on equal pay for women’s work.

Fact Check: The wage gap is a myth that simple observation of economic data can dispel. The wage gap between single men and single women is practically nonexistent and much of the statistical difference comes from married women who drop out of the workforce to care for their children in addition to different general career choices among the genders.

 

“Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio, they’re all leaving.”-Donald Trump

The fact checkers nail trump here by saying the unemployment rates in Ohio and Michigan are lower than the national average.

Fact Check: Unemployment rates themselves are kind of iffy and the government uses them to manipulate public opinion. First off there’s several different levels of classification for unemployment not to mention another measured factor called labor force participation which is much lower than employment. In fact if you look at the data, you can compare unemployment with labor force participation and you can see the government is pretty clever in making it look like the unemployment rate went down more than it actually did since the peak of the recession.

Unemployment has dropped from a peak of 10% to 4.9 today( a 5.1 drop) but Labor force participation has also shrank from 65% to 62.8% showing that a significant amount of people stopped looking for work, lowering the official unemployment rate and making our recovery from the recession seem faster than it actually is.

 

“The kind of plan that Donald has put forth would be trickle-down economics all over again.”-Hillary Clinton

Fact Check: Okay this is more of a bad move on Hillary’s part than something requiring a fact check, she’s likening Trump to Reagan and republicans love Reagan. Way to give him more credibility Hilldog.

 

“ Let me give you the example of Mexico. They have a vat tax, we’re on a different system. When we sell into Mexico there is a tax when they sell an automatic sixteen percent approximately. When they sell into us there’s no tax. It’s a defective agreement.”

Fact Check:  It actually almost sounded like Donald Trump was going to support free trade here but he just decided to counter bad tariffs with more bad tariffs. I’m surprised this didn’t go fact checked as it’s a pretty big point. Apparently NAFTA actually obtained 0% tariffs on many select American goods, which is pretty good. Although I have a feeling these select goods are only produced by certain companies and the whole deal reeks of corporate welfare but I may be wrong, and so far the data outweighs my feelings.

 

‘Well, let’s stop for a second and remember where we were eight years ago, we had the worst financial crisis – the great recession, the worst since the 1930s. That was, in large part, because of tax policies that slash taxes on the wealthy, failed to invest in the middle class, took their eyes off of Wall Street and created a perfect storm’-Hillary

Fact Check: The bush tax cuts were not the primary causative factor of the housing crisis.

The housing bubble in a nutshell was a combination of several factors. Investors gambled on risky mortgage securities that they believed had a much lower chance of defaulting than they actually did. The reason they didn’t expect such huge rates of default was because the data they used assumed that the banks which issued the mortgages, actually ensured that the people getting them could pay the rates. A bunch of people were buying houses that couldn’t afford them previously and increased demand drove real estate prices up. Once people started defaulting on their mortgages, real estate prices stopped rising, and the investors had to dump their now toxic assets, bursting the bubble. You can blame the banks lowering the standards on their loans or you can blame the people stupid enough to buy things that they should have known they actually couldn’t afford. Also, recessions are a typical part of business cycles and are pretty much unavoidable every few years. (In fact, we’re actually due for another quite soon!)

 

The gun epidemic is a leading cause of death of young African-American men, more than the next nine causes put together.- Hillary Clinton

Fact Check: No that’s homicide, there’s a difference. You can pin these high rates of death by homicide on poverty, lack of educational opportunities, the drug war and many other shortcomings of the welfare state. Actually only, 5% of gun crimes in the united states were committed with a legally purchased weapon(Estimates range from 3-10%) so stricter gun laws probably won’t affect these rates much anyway. To be fair, Trumps solution of reenacting stop and frisk is the opposite of what should be the solution to this issue.

 

But when it comes to policing, since it can have literally fatal consequences, I have said in my first budget we would put money into that budget to help us deal with implicit bias by re- training a lot of our police officers.- Hillary

Fact Check but not really: You know what would really help fix this issue? Stop the stupid drug war that gives the few biassed police officers the power to screw over minorities. It would also be much easier to train and invest more in the police force if the absence of vice units drastically reduced their size

 

“I do want to bring up the fact that you were the one that brought up the word super predator about young black youth. And that’s a term that I think was that’s been horribly met as you know. I think you’ve apologized for it. But I think it was a terrible thing to say. And when it comes to stop and frisk, you know, you’re talking about taking the guns away. Well, I’m talking about taking guns away from gangs and people that use them.”

Fact Check: what’s really really annoying is that they fact checked hillarys stance on gun rights and not the super predator claim. By the way that claim is true and Bernie Sanders called her out on it during the primary. Critics might claim the context of the term did not point at african americans outright, but then Hillary wouldn’t have personally apologized for using the term.
There’s plenty more about the fact checking that bothered me but that would take a few more pages and these were some of the more glaring issues I thought were present in the transcript.

Leave a Reply

Top