Commentary

Trump's Political Lies Blanket TV, Twitter - And They Are Being Tracked

Lies can be fun -- especially in fictional TV dramas and comedies, and maybe even with some reality shows. Political lies? It's not a game show. On TV and other media, falsehoods have real-life consequences.

At the beginning of his administration, President Trump’s false claims from his words/statements/tweets, on TV and other media platforms, had been running around eight lies a week.

Now -- through late June -- it is up to 40 lies a week, according to research from The Toronto Star.

Most of his lies comes in speeches, 648. Why? His speeches aren’t always fact-checked. Or they spill from off-the-cuff, improvisational stuff, according to analysis. Lies in interviews are now at 380; informal remarks at events, 369; Twitter, 339; and press conferences and so-called “scrums” -- informal gathering of the press -- 192.

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Toronto Star’s research -- working with website, Factba.se, which tracks all of Trump’s public comments -- looked at the time period January 20, 2017 (the start of the Trump Administration) through July 1, 2018.

The Toronto Star found a total of 1,929 false statements involving over 68,000 words. This came from more than 1 million words Trump has said publicly since taking office. Looking at yearly averages, Trump made 2.9 false claims per day in 2017; and 5.1 false claims per day in 2018.

But maybe The Toronto Star doesn’t have it right. Consider The Washington Post, which has done similar research. Its total of President Trump lies is now at 3,251. Obviously, someone is lying.

Is Trump just talking more? Yep, around 20% more public words. Also the percentage of Trump’s words that were part of a false claims are also higher. At the start, 2% of his words were part of a lie; now that is up to 8.5%.

Trump’s claims of “fake news” come, in large part, in response to reporters either fact-checking or simply reporting what he has said and/or done. Mr. President: You reap what you sow.  

At a recent news interview, Trump also claimed that an audio recording of him speaking to the U.K. newspaper The Sun was fake news. Is he suggesting some kind of AI (artificial intelligence) stuff is at work?

Have other U.S. presidents made false claims? Sure. But we have no comparative data as yet.

TV, print, online and other journalists have rules when it comes to sources who make repeated false claims: They stop listening to them and using their information.

3 comments about "Trump's Political Lies Blanket TV, Twitter - And They Are Being Tracked".
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  1. PJ Lehrer from NYU, July 22, 2018 at 12:50 p.m.

    Unfortunately if you tell a lie often enough people think it's true.  More here...
    http://pjlehrer.blogspot.com/2018/01/if-you-tell-lie-often-enough-people.html

  2. Jonathan Hutter from EMHS (Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems), July 23, 2018 at 2:10 p.m.

    Your last paragraph is most telling. In the case of this source, the media/journalists/whatever you feel like calling them, keep coming back to the well over and over. Not just right-leaning media either.

  3. Alan COX from Dan Fife Communications and Marketing, July 23, 2018 at 2:52 p.m.

    Lying is wrong. I do not care who lies it is wrong. Lying causes the citizens not to trust people.  I know Trump is our President. I again I state lying is wrong. I wonder if the you or the Toronto Star would count the lies from Senator Chuck Schuner, Nancy Pelosi. Hillary Clinton or Former President Obama. Let's see what we can remember: You can keep your Doctor, your cost of Health Care will be reduced, the attack on Benghazi was caused by a video. 
    Obviously, the action is to discredit President Trump. Please get you calculator out and run total on all the TV Networks and Newspapers. 

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