New York Times' Latest Flimsy 'Fact-Check' on Trump 'Deceit' Falls Flat on Its Face

December 16th, 2017 7:04 PM

New York Times “fact-checker” Linda Qiu's latest lame “gotcha” attempt against President Trump appeared under a strongly hostile headline, “Deceit and Confusion In Talk on Law and Order.” It comes on the heels of a backfired Times investigation -- a graph purporting to compare the lies of Donald Trump (103 after 10 months in office) and Barack Obama (just 18 during eight full years).

Qiu has previously used a misleading argument to falsely slam a defense of gun rights as “spurious.”

On Saturday, she focused on four alleged Trump falsehoods on Saturday, two of which aren’t actually false, and the other two of which are sufficiently vague as to avoid classification entirely:

At a ceremony on Friday honoring police officers and sheriffs, President Trump praised the courage and devotion of law enforcement -- and presented a not entirely accurate picture of the difficult conditions they face.

In the morning, before speaking at the F.B.I. Academy in Quantico, Va., Mr. Trump lamented the reputation of the bureau. Then, as he addressed police officers who graduated from the academy’s training program, he claimed that they and the bureau’s agents were “great people” and “heroes for all of us.”

The about-face kicked off a series of misleading statements Mr. Trump made about crime, his predecessor and immigration. Here’s an assessment.

[Editorial note: For the sake of clarity, numerals and italics have been added to Qiu’s four topics.]

1. He asked “what the hell is going on in Chicago,” where most types of violent crime have declined since last year.

Mr. Trump spoke of “the steepest two-year consecutive increase in murders in nearly half a century” in 2015 and 2016, and focused on Chicago.

“What the hell is going on in Chicago? What the hell is happening there?” he said, before offering a sobering statistic. “For the second year in a row, a person was shot in Chicago every three hours.”

The national murder rate climbed 20 percent from 2014 to 2016, the highest two-year increase since the 1960s. The steep rise concerned many criminologists. But the murder rate itself was far higher over all in the 1990s.

Did Trump say it wasn’t higher in the 1990s? No. Trump told nothing but the truth, but Qiu comes armed with useless context: that since 2017 is on track to have a decline in shootings from 2016, Trump’s point about Chicago’s high murder rate is somehow misleading.

In 2016, Chicago experienced its most violent year in nearly two decades, but Mr. Trump’s points require some context and updating.

The Chicago Tribune tracks shootings in the city and has reported that 3,429 people have been shot so far this year, as of Dec. 9. That does amount to the shooting of at least one person every three hours....

So Trump was right? Not so fast.

Shootings have declined 21 percent from the same period last year, according to the Chicago Police Department’s most recent crime report. Murder has declined 15 percent and aggravated battery 8 percent, while robbery has not changed and sexual assault has increased 12 percent.

Trump not including the Chicago Police Department’s most recent report for 2017 (which isn’t even over yet) does not make it a falsehood for him to state that the murder rate was historically high in 2015 and 2016. So why would Qiu suggest Turmp was wrong?

2. He misleadingly claimed the Obama administration refused to equip police with military gear.

In detailing his administration’s support for law enforcement, Mr. Trump said he was “allowing our local police to access surplus military equipment -- something the previous administration for some reason refused to do. Explain that one.”

In August, Mr. Trump fully restored a program supplying military equipment to local police. But he is exaggerating the restrictions placed on the program by President Barack Obama and inaccurately suggested that Mr. Obama’s decision came without a cause.


In 2015, the Obama administration prohibited police departments from obtaining track armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft grenade launchers and bayonets, among other weapons, at the recommendation of a task force it assembled after the Ferguson protests.

Since the program allowed other kinds of police equipment, Qiu labels Trump’s assertion false.

3. He claimed, without evidence, that countries give “us their worst people” through the diversity immigration visa program.

The program, known as the diversity visa lottery, provides an immigration pathway for people who come to the United States from countries with low levels of immigration, have no close relatives living here and lack special skills.

Mr. Trump’s claim that other countries use the program to expel undesirable members from their own societies is unfounded and implausible.

It certainly sounds possible, knowing that Cuba’s former Communist dictator Fidel Castro sent some violent prisoners and inmates of mental health facilities to the United States during the Mariel Boatlift in 1980.

4. He suggested that sanctuary cities protect criminals.

Sanctuary cities limit their cooperation with federal immigration officials. But they do not stop law enforcement from pursuing criminals, as Mr. Trump suggested when he claimed, “Our cities should not be sanctuaries for criminals.”

Did the case of Katherine Steinle, killed by an illegal immigrant and five-times deported felon, truly not reach Qiu?

This story appears the day after a ridiculous report, due to appear in the paper’s Sunday section, claimed President Obama told only 18 whoppers during his entire eight-year term got some pushback on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program. Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner focused on how Leonhardt’s compilation of Obama lies did not include some extremely obvious whoppers on the part of Obama.