Friday, 30 November 2018

Fact Checker: President Trump’s factually flawed interview with the Washington Post

Democracy Dies in Darkness
Fact Checker
The truth behind the rhetoric

President Trump's factually flawed interview with the Washington Post

In a wide-ranging interview with the Washington Post earlier this week, President Trump made new false claims and treaded familiar territory.

He claimed the Democrats are blocking the wall, when there isn't enough Republican support. He claimed the water and air is the cleanest it's ever been. It's not. He repeated his misunderstanding of the trade deficit, how NATO works and the deals with Saudi Arabia. And then there was a section on the federal reserve that led to a Washington-wide head scratch in an attempt to decode his thoughts.

We rounded up these claims and a number of other false or misleading statements from the interview. The kitten below is a good illustration about how we feel when we write these round-ups.

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No, Trump hasn't changed the game for Hispanics and African-Americans

To hear the president tell it, he's accomplished what Democrats could not: reversing the economic prospects of African Americans and Hispanics.

In the run up to the midterms, Trump claimed poverty for both demographics had "reached its lowest rate ever" or "an all-time low." He pointed to "all-time high" median income Hispanics and went so far to say "it's at the best it's ever been in the history of the country" for African Americans. He capped his argument by saying more Hispanics own homes today than in the last decade and homeownership for African Americans is "way up."

Regular readers know we tend to award Two Pinocchios anytime a president is given (or takes) sole credit for the state of the economy. In this case, three of the six statistics that Trump referenced are numerically accurate. And in each of those cases — the poverty rate for African Americans and Hispanics as well as median income for Hispanics — the underlying trends started before Trump took office. For twisting data, Trump earns Three Pinocchios.


The future of fact finding

There is no such thing as good facts and bad facts, right? A recent article from the Urban Institute lays out the challenges for researchers in an era when politicians and policymakers cite their own version of the facts. Researchers point not only to the increasing distrust, but also toward new constituencies, and changing methods to collect and analyze data as challenges for the future of fact finding.

We're always looking for fact-check suggestions.

You can also reach us via email, Twitter (@GlennKesslerWP, @mmkelly22, @rizzoTK or use #FactCheckThis), or Facebook (Fact Checker). Read about our rating scale here, and sign up here for our weekly Fact Checker newsletter.

Scroll down for this week's Pinocchio roundup.

— Meg Kelly

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