Internet Archive to help First Draft News debunk fake news

We are delighted to announce a new partnership with First Draft News, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to ferreting out misinformation online.

In its short existence–it was founded in June 2015–First Draft News has already spearheaded innovative projects that bring together news organizations, social technology companies, and human rights organizations to verify the information that flows to online audiences. First Draft also helps define the problem: in February, Claire Wardle, the group’s research director, published a helpful taxonomy of the different types of fake news and misinformation that proliferate online.

Example: with French elections fast approaching on April 23, 2017, First Draft News launched CrossCheck, a project combining the efforts of more than 37 newsroom partners, as well as journalism students across France and beyond. They’ve been working together to debunk false rumors and news reports in a much-watched contest pitting the far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen against centrist Emmanuel Macron, defender of the European Union, as well as other candidates.

This partnership has quashed reports that 30 percent of Macron’s campaign funding comes from Saudi Arabia, that France is spending 100 million euros to buy hotels to house immigrants, and that the country is planning to replace Christian public holidays with Muslim and Jewish holidays, plus many more. These false stories had been shared thousands of times on social media.

When the elections are over, First Draft News will research whether CrossCheck’s efforts were effective, or how they may be modified to become more so. “CrossCheck is a living laboratory,” says Aimee Rinehart, manager of First Draft’s Partner Network. Wardle will lead the efforts to determine whether the CrossCheck model, where several news organizations sign off on a fact-check or verification, builds public trust in the media, an increasing problem worldwide.

Already, First Draft News partners rely heavily on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to verify information online. With our new collaboration, we hope to increase use of other Internet Archive resources, including our searchable collection of TV news and curated archives such as the Trump Archive, with its linked fact-checks by national fact checking organizations. We also hope the collaboration provides valuable input for our plans to apply more tools of machine learning to the TV News Archive that could help inform reliable news reporting in the future.

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TV News highlights: sanctuary cities, cabinet wealth, and more

By Katie Dahl

In our weekly highlights reel of fact-checked TV appearances by public officials, we feature our fact-checking partners’ reports on sanctuary cities, what Roger Stone knew about the Podesta emails, the financial wealth of Trump’s cabinet, the loss of U.S. factories as a result of China joining the World Trade Organization, and the percentage of the Texas state budget spent on Medicaid.

Claim: 80% of Americans oppose sanctuary cities (depends on the question)

On March 27, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new policy: the U.S. Department of Justice would start holding back funding from cities–known as “sanctuary cities–that don’t enforce immigration law. In doing so, he cited public opinion polling: “According to one recent poll, 80 percent of Americans believe that cities that arrest illegal immigrants for a crime should be required to turn them over to immigration authorities.” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has also used this statistic.

Providing context, Michelle Ye Hee Lee wrote for The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, “There’s no perfect polling question, and we recognize sanctuary policies and immigration detainers are not easily distilled into one question.” She noted that other polls show that “when specifically asked about pulling federal funding from sanctuary cities” just 42 percent of Americans agreed. She also pointed out that the 80 percent figure comes from a poll using an opt-in Web panel sample, “which we often warn readers against relying on” unless other measures have proven it accurate over time.

Claim: Roger Stone predicted John Podesta would be a victim of a Russian hack (no evidence)

At a hearing on March 20, Rep. Adam, Schiff, D., Calif., said, “Is it a coincidence that Roger Stone predicted that John Podesta would be a victim of a Russian hack and have his private emails published, and did so even before Mr. Podesta himself was fully aware that his private emails would be exposed?”

Writing for FactCheck.org, Robert Farley reports that one of these assertions is not established fact: “There is nothing in the public record so far that proves Stone, a political operative and longtime Trump associate, predicted the Podesta email hack…”

“Stone says his Aug. 21 tweet about Podesta—that it would soon be Podesta’s ‘time in the barrel’ — had nothing to do with hacked emails, though. Two days prior, Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, quit the campaign amid media reports about prior business dealings with Russia-aligned leaders in Ukraine. Stone said he was aware that Podesta also had business ties to Russia, and that journalists were beginning to look into those. That’s what prompted the tweet, he said.”

Claim: Trump cabinet worth more than 100 million Americans (mostly true)

While talking about the president’s budget proposal and calling into question his campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D., N.Y., claimed that “if you add up the net wealth of his cabinet, it has more wealth than a third of the American people total–close to 100 million people.”

PolitiFact’s Jana Heigl reported that although “[i]t is impossible to calculate the exact net wealth of Trump’s cabinet… It also doesn’t really matter how rich Trump’s cabinet members exactly are.” According to Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the University of Berkeley, “‘The bottom one-third of American households ranked by wealth own approximately nothing.’” Heigl added that it’s “‘because some either have a very low or even negative net wealth, due to high debt.’” She concluded “‘it does not take a lot to ‘have more wealth than a third of the American people,’ like Schumer claimed, Zuchman added.”

Claim: U.S. lost 60,000 factories since China joined WTO (mostly true)

During a speech in Louisville, Ky., President Donald Trump claimed: “Since China joined—that’s another beauty—the WTO in 2001, the U.S. has lost many more than 60,000 factories.”

Lauren Carroll reported for PolitiFact that “the United States has, in fact, lost more than 60,000 factories since 2001, when China joined the WTO and became a bigger player in the world economy. And quite a few economists believe opening up trade with China has had a significant and negative effect on American manufacturing, though it’s not a universal view.” However,  economic historian Bradford DeLong with the University of California, Berkeley, told PolitiFact, “about one-tenth of factory closures over the past decade or so have had to do with China, but that would have happened whether or not China joined the WTO.”

Claim: Texas spent close to 1/3 its budget on Medicaid last year (mostly true)

While advocating the passage of the American Health Care Act, Rep. John Cornyn, R., Tex., said,  “We know that the states and the federal government spend an awful lot of money on Medicaid. In Texas, for example, my state spent close to a third of its budget on Medicaid last year, a third of all state spending.”

According to a report from the Texas Legislative Budget Board, as reported by PolitiFact’s W. Gardner Selby, “the 2016-17 Texas budget devoted $61.2 billion in funds from all sources, including state and federal aid, to Medicaid… and that amount over the two years running through August 2017 accounted for 29.3 percent of $209.1 billion in All Funds appropriations.” If you narrow the view to Texas funds spent on Medicaid, “22 percent of state funds alone was appropriated for Medicaid.”

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Books Donated for MacArthur Foundation 100&Change Challenge from BookMooch Users

Thank you, Richard from Georgia, for Theories of Development.

Thank you to the people that are starting to send books to the Internet Archive to be digitized.  The Internet Archive digitizes already, but as semifinalists for a $100million grant from the MacArthur Foundation, we are ramping up. Our proposal is to bring 4 million of the most beloved and important books to learners by helping all libraries become digital libraries.

Bookmooch is an online book exchange community whose members list what books they have and which books they want. When you send a book, you earn a point, to receive a book you spend a point. Some people have surplus points which they have generously donated to the Internet Archive to help us build our collection.

To start on our 4 million book quest we are looking at the most assigned books on course syllabi (as aggregated by the OpenSyllabus project).  We gave this list to the founder of BookMooch, John Buckman and he found 61,000 were held by community members and hundreds available right now.

Thank you, Suzanne from North Carolina, for Independence and Nationhood: Scotland, 1306-1469

The first books are starting to arrive, and there is much rejoicing!  Onward!

Thank you to Cindy from Massachusetts for Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir

Thank you, S Krashen, from California for Language Two

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TV News highlights: NATO, Russian influence, coal miners, and more

By Katie Dahl

This week’s highlight reel of TV News moments fact-checked by our partners at PolitiFact, FactCheck.org, and The Washington Post’s Fact Checker feature the presidential tweet during the congressional hearing about Russian influence on the election, what Germany does and doesn’t owe to NATO and the U.S., what a coal miner and single mom do and don’t pay in taxes, whether GOP amendments were included in Obamacare, and a breakdown of the statistics we’ve been hearing about the 9th Circuit.

Claim: Germany owes money to NATO and the U.S. for defense (false)

After a face-to-face meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House, President Donald Trump tweeted: “Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!” The tweet was featured on “BBC World News Today.”

PolitiFact’s Allison Graves’ analysis was that “Trump is misunderstanding how NATO’s joint defense is paid for, and that Germany doesn’t owe anything.” She explained that “[a]s of 2014, NATO’s collective agreement directed members to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense spending by 2024… Trump likely was alluding to the fact Germany has not yet met the NATO target commitment for overall defense funding… Germany only pays 1.2 percent of their GDP on defense spending.” The misunderstanding was that “Germany doesn’t pay that money to NATO or the United States… [t]he United States decides what level of military spending it wants to have, as do all other NATO  members.”

Laicie Heeley, a military budget expert at the Stimson Center, a defense policy think tank, told Graves, “‘Trump seems to represent the NATO alliance as a licensing deal — one in which countries like Germany pay the United States for its power and influence…This is not the case.’”

Claim: NSA, FBI said ‘Russia did not influence electoral process’ (false)

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing on March 20, FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency (NSA) Director Michael S. Rogers were asked questions about Russian influence in the U.S. presidential election. While the hearing was still going on, President Trump tweeted, “NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process.”

According to Eugene Kiely and Robert Farley of FactCheck.org, “that’s not what Comey or Rogers told the committee.” Lauren Carroll wrote for PolitiFact: “Comey and Rogers said they believe Russia meddled in the race leading up to Election Day, chiefly by cyber-infiltrating the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations. Contrary to Trump’s tweet, they also said the intelligence community did not assess whether Russia’s actions actually had a measurable impact on the election outcome or public opinion.”

The president’s tweet itself became part of the hearing: “When later asked about the presidential tweet, Comey said it did not reflect what he and Rogers had said: ‘It certainly wasn’t our intention to say that today,’” reported Glenn Kessler from The Washington Post’s Fact Checker.

Claim: Coal miners and single moms pay for public broadcasting (it’s $.20 and $0)

While talking about the president’s proposed budget cuts, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney asked, “can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no. We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

By asking the question, he seemed to insinuate that coal miners and single moms pay for public broadcasting now. Kessler looked at the numbers using the H&R Block tax calculator and the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that “single mothers in Detroit, most of whom are living in poverty, likely pay no taxes at all and instead would be receiving funds from the U.S. government via the Earned Income Tax Credit.” And in three examples of coal mining jobs, Kessler reported that a coal miner “owed no income taxes,” a loading machine operator “paid about 20 cents of his taxes to the CPB,” and supervisors of production workers “paid 60 cents.”

Claim: Hundreds of Republican amendments were adopted in Obamacare (half true)

During a conversation about political maneuvering and obstructionism related to the proposed American Health Care Act, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D., Ill., defended the actions of Democrats offering amendments and said “hundreds of Republican amendments were adopted in the ACA.”

Reporting for PolitiFact, Gabrielle Healy found “788 amendments were submitted during the ACA’s markup in the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee (HELP). Three quarters of them were filed by the committee’s Republican members… Of those, 161 were adopted in whole or revised form.” She also noted that many of the Republican amendments were “technical in nature.” An expert, “Timothy Jost, emeritus professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law,” told her that ‘the basic statement that hundreds were adopted is wrong.’”

Claim: less than 1/10 of 1 percent of 9th Circuit decisions are overturned by the Supreme Court (not very helpful)

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has been in the news recently because of its decision to halt the president’s travel ban executive order. President Trump said in a news conference last month that “80 percent” of the court’s decisions are overturned. Then more recently, Rep. John Conyers Jr., D., Mich., used a very different figure, saying “less than one-tenth of one percent of 9th Circuit decisions are overturned.”

Michelle Ye Hee Lee reported “it’s more complicated than that… Most cases reviewed by the Supreme Court get reversed, so the number or rate of reversals is not necessarily reflective of the court’s performance.” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker also reported that in: “the 2014-2015 term, the 9th Circuit’s reversal rate was about 60 percent, below the average rate of 72 percent. In the 2015-2016 term, the latest year of data available, the 9th Circuit court’s reversal rate was 80 percent, and the average rate was 67 percent. This is the figure that Trump cites. …But the 80 percent figure represents a small fraction of the cases that the 9th Circuit hears in a given term — roughly one-tenth of 1 percent. This is the figure that Conyers cites.” In the end, Lee wrote, the statistics both Trump and Conyers used “[do] not add much to the debate,” because they “lack context.”

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KittenFeed– sometimes a suddenly popular site leverages the Wayback Machine

From of the leader of the Wayback Machine project:

Lucy (17 year old girl from SF) setup TrumpScratch.com

Press reports suggest she received a cease and desist letter from the Trump organization in New York (update: now that letter is contested).

She changed the site to KittenFeed.com

At some point KittenFeed.com was re-directed to the Wayback Machine.

It overwhelmed our servers so our engineers re-configured our cache to support the 5 meg MP3 on the page (the Rick Roll audio).

KittenFeed.com appears now to have re-directed to facescratch.com, thereby not leveraging the Wayback Machine.

We found it interesting to see the Wayback Machine, meant for historical research, used on a live site.

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TV news highlights with fact checks: proposed health care reform

By Katie Dahl

In this week’s roundup of fact-checked TV news from the TV News Archive, our fact checking partners–FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, and The Washington Post‘s Fact Checker–dug into statements from congressional leaders and the Trump administration about the proposed American Health Care Act.

Claim: the Congressional Budget Office reported the American Health Care Act will decrease premiums (yes and no)

Although one of the most popular headlines that came out of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report was that 24 million fewer Americans would have health insurance as a result of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), House Speaker Paul Ryan, R., Wis., chose to emphasize another significant one–the prediction that the AHCA would lower premiums.

PolitiFact’s Tom Kertscher wrote, one, that this claim is specific to “the roughly 7 percent of Americans who buy health insurance on their own because they aren’t covered by an employer or a program such as Medicaid.” Two, “[i]n 2018 and 2019, average premiums would be 15 percent to 20 percent higher than under Obamacare… mainly because the penalties under Obamacare for not getting insurance would be eliminated, ‘inducing fewer comparatively healthy people to sign up.’” But then, three, “[p]remiums would start to drop in 2020. And by 2026, the premiums, on average, would be 10 percent lower than they would have been under Obamacare.

That’s expected for several reasons: The GOP legislation would provide grants to states that could be used to reduce premiums; the bill would eliminate a requirement for insurers to offer plans covering certain percentages of health care expenses; and a younger mix of enrollees.”

That’s one angle. Another is that although premiums may go down for some, like younger people, they will be “‘20 percent to 25 percent higher for a 64-year-old’ by 2026, even though average premiums would be 10 percent lower compared with current law,” wrote Lori Robertson and Eugene Kiely at FactCheck.org.

If you want information about the 24 million fewer people being uninsured claim, read more from Robertson and Kiely at FactCheck.org.



Claim: 1/3 of counties only have one health insurer left (true)

President Donald Trump, while talking about current health insurance options for people looking for coverage through the exchanges, made this statement. “One-third of the counties–think of it, one-third—only have one insurer left.” According to Lauren Carroll of PolitiFact, this is true. “In 32 percent of counties, individuals looking to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act online marketplace have just one choice for their insurance provider, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, last updated in November 2016.” She went on to write “of the approximately 9.2 million people enrolled in the Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2017, about 1.9 million could only purchase insurance from one company.”

Claim: Obamacare didn’t have any hearings in the House (clearly wrong)

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney hit the Sunday political talk show circuit this weekend to, among others, make this claim about the proposed American Health Care Act. “We already had two committee hearings, which I believe is two more than Obamacare had in the House.” Glenn Kessler, reporting for The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, looked into the legislative history of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, and found this. “We have about 20 hearings, many aired on C-SPAN. That’s 18 more than the current replacement bill…. So Mulvaney’s comments are clearly wrong.”

He admitted, though, that while the trip through the legislative process for the Affordable Care Act included hearings, it was also complex, and as one expert he interviewed put it, “the ‘ad hoc’ process that led to the ACA is ‘an illustrative example of modern lawmaking, especially for major initiatives.’”

Claim: Emergency room visits increased under the ACA (mostly true)

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price talked about a specific Obamacare goal to lower visits to the emergency room, where, PolitiFact noted, they “by law cannot turn patients away, [but] they can become a health care provider of last resort, even for more minor conditions that could be handled just as well–and more inexpensively–in a doctor’s office.” Price said that the Obama administration claimed “they were going to be able to drive folks away from one of the most expensive areas for the provision of health care, and that is the emergency rooms… In fact, they did just the opposite.”

Louis Jacobson reported for PolitiFact that “Price has a strong case.” He went on to write that while “the data varies a bit from study to study, the findings generally fail to provide any evidence that emergency room use has decreased after the law [Affordable Care Act] took effect. Indeed, several studies found increases in emergency room use, though modestly. Price overstated the case slightly, but he’s basically correct. We rate the statement Mostly True.”

Claim: The number of people who weren’t eligible for Medicaid coverage before the ACA, but have it now, is small (false)

While Secretary Price got it right on emergency rooms, a statement he made on Medicaid was rated “False” by PolitiFact’s Aaron Shockman. On “Meet the Press” last Sunday, Price said the “number of individuals who actually got coverage through the exchange who didn’t have coverage before, or who weren’t eligible for Medicaid before is relatively small. So we’ve turned things upside down completely for 3 million, or 4 million, or 5 million individuals.”

Shockman’s analysis is that Price “made the case that the number of new people insured as a result of Obamacare can be overstated.” But, “[n]onpartisan health care analysts at the Kaiser Family Foundation have concluded that, as of March 2016, more than 11 million Americans have gained access to health care as part of the Medicaid expansion. As we noted, an additional 3.2 million Americans signed up for Medicaid but were previously eligible.”

The second pool of people Price referred to also seems problematic. “Finding data on the number of previously uninsured people who signed up for care through a health care exchange is more challenging. But the numbers that do exist further undercut Price,” reported Sharockman. “In 2015, researchers at the nonpartisan RAND Corporation estimated that 4.1 million previously uninsured Americans had gained access through a health care exchange or marketplace. That’s roughly 15 million Americans who weren’t insured who now are, which is three to five times the number Price used.”

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TV news highlights: wiretaps, Gitmo detainees, and more

By Katie Dahl

Our weekly TV News highlight reel features fact checks by reporters at The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, PolitiFact, and FactCheck.org of President Donald Trump, his spokespeople, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Claim: Obama wiretapped Trump Tower (unsupported)

President Donald Trump took to Twitter this week with an allegation that President Barack Obama tapped his phones during the election. He wrote: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

FactCheck.org’s Eugene Kiely broke down Trump’s claims, the sources he used, and the White House press team’s response, writing “there is no evidence that the FBI wiretapped Trump’s phone or his campaign offices in Trump Tower. Indeed, the director of national intelligence flatly denied it. [hyperlink added]”

Glenn Kessler, reporting for The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, wrote that the author of the Heat Street article, the “most important one” of the articles the White House provided as evidence for the president’s claims, now says she “never reported there was wiretap and instead pointed the finger at Breitbart.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy press secretary for the White House, said “[e]verybody acts like President Trump is the one that came up with this idea and just threw it out there… There are multiple news outlets that have reported this.” For PolitiFact, Allison Graves wrote that Huckabee’s defense of the tweets is “False.” Lauren Carroll went further and concluded that “given recent comments from White House spokespeople, it appears more likely that Trump took several media reports about legitimate intelligence investigations into his associates’ possible Russia ties and wove them into a new, unsubstantiated theory that Obama himself did something illegal.”

Claim: Clinton impeached for far less (two Pinocchios)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D., Calif., drew a comparison between the circumstances of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment and the disclosures about communications between Attorney General Sessions and the Russian ambassador. “I remind you that this Congress impeached a president for something so far less, having nothing to do with his duties as president of the United States,” she said. Michelle Ye Hee Lee of The Washington Post’s Fact Checker examined the two cases and observed: “If one were to weigh Pelosi’s claim based on whether Sessions and Clinton lied under oath, it’s clear Clinton’s case is not ‘far less’ than Sessions’s. But the content of Clinton’s lies (his sex life) was ‘far less’ important than the content of Sessions’s statements (about potential foreign influence in U.S. elections).”

Claim: Jeff Sessions lied to Congress (unclear)

During Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing in January, Sen. Al Franken, D., Minn., asked “what will you do” if evidence surfaces to support a CNN report that “‘[t]here was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump’s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.’” In answering the question, Sessions said “I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians.” Then March 1, The Washington Post reported that Jeff Sessions met with the Russian ambassador twice.

In response to the now confirmed meetings, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted Sessions “lied under oath” and called for his resignation. FactCheck.org’s Robert Farley reported, though, that “legal experts say it would be difficult to prosecute a perjury charge against Sessions, given the ambiguity of the context of his statement.” In defending himself, Sessions said “I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,” which he argues was the focus of Franken’s question.

Lauren Carroll for PolitiFact similarly reported, “[I]t’s not 100 percent clear that Sessions made an intentionally false statement, though he appears to have omitted relevant information.” One result is that the attorney general has recused himself from “any existing or future investigations of any matter relating in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States.” Louis Jacobson offered additional context in answering “four questions about when senators meet with ambassadors.”

Claim: People go to Planned Parenthood for mammograms (referrals mainly)

Echoed in a statement in a press conference yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D., N.Y.,  claimed in a tweet that “#Trumpcare cuts @PPFA funds, hurting millions of women who turn there for mammograms, maternity care, cancer screenings & more.” Michelle Ye Hee Lee wrote that “[m]ammograms have come to symbolize whether Planned Parenthood truly is a health-care organization, as supporters say, or mainly an abortion provider that masquerades as a reproductive health organization, as opponents say.” But, reported Lee, “Planned Parenthood does referrals for mammograms… It does not have mammogram machines at its affiliate clinics.”

Claim: Obama released 122 Gitmo detainees now back on battlefield (mostly false)

A former Guantanamo Bay detainee released under the Obama administration was killed in a U.S. military airstrike in Yemen this month. President Trump reacted on Twitter, writing, “122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!” But Robert Farley reported “it’s only nine former detainees. The other 113 were released under President George W. Bush.”

Lauren Carroll weighed in as well, writing “Trump’s claim that the Obama administration released 122 prisoners from Guantanamo that “returned to the battlefield” is right on the numbers but wrong on who is to blame.”

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Due to an editing error now fixed, we inadvertently referred to Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D., Calif., when we meant to refer to Sen. Chuck Schumer, D., N.Y., March 10, 2017.

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TV news highlights: overtime pay, Middle East, murder rate and more

by Katie Dahl

President Donald Trump addressed Congress for the first time this week and the Democratic National Committee elected a new chair, Thomas Perez. Here are five claims our fact-checking partners examined this week, paired with corresponding clips from the Trump Archive and the TV News Archive.

Claim: Trump wants to eliminate overtime pay for people (mostly false)

In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, newly elected Democratic National Committee Chair Thomas Perez said, “Donald Trump wants to eliminate overtime pay for people.” PolitiFact’s Allison Graves hadn’t heard that one before, so she looked into it and found that while Trump “has not talked about eliminating overtime pay, he has supported rolling back an Obama-era regulation that would expand the number of people eligible for overtime.” Robert Farley from FactCheck.org confirmed with the DNC’s press office that “Perez was referring to the overtime rule proposed by President Barack Obama (while Perez was the labor secretary), and the possibility that Trump may squash it.” But Farley says “[v]iewers of NBC’s Meet the Press on Feb. 26 were left with the false impression from Perez that Trump wants to do away with federal overtime pay requirements altogether. And there is no evidence Trump wants to do that.”

Claim: Murder rate increase fastest in nearly half century (basically correct)

In his first address to Congress, President Trump claimed that the 2015 murder rate “experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century,” and that in “Chicago, more than 4,000 people were shot last year alone.” Louis Jacobson and Amy Sherman found for PolitiFact that “FBI data shows a clear spike in homicides between 2014 and 2015–a 10.8 percent increase. This does rank as the biggest year-to-year jump in murders since 1970-71, when the number rose by 11.1 percent.” The Washington Post fact-checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee agreed, but wrote “overall, violent crime is on a decades-long decline… This is why criminologists do not make generalizations about crime trends based on short-term comparisons of rates, such as annual or monthly changes.” FactCheck.org’s Farley reported similar data, saying the murder rate “did go up by 10.8 percent from 2014 to 2015, the long-term trend has been a decrease in murders. The 2015 rate, 4.9 per 100,000 people, is less than half the peak rate of 10.2 in 1980, according to FBI data.” Trump’s Chicago statistics are also correct, say Jacobson and Sherman. According “to data released by the Chicago Police Department shortly after the close of 2016, the city had 762 murders, 3,550 shooting incidents, and 4,331 shooting victims in 2016.”

Claim: NATO partners aren’t meeting their financial obligations (true)

Continuing a familiar campaign talking point, President Trump said that our NATO partners “must meet their financial obligations,” and went on to claim that because of his “very strong and frank discussions… the money is pouring in.” Jacobson and Sherman found that yes “only a handful of NATO’s 28 members have fulfilled the pledge to spend at least 2 percent of their economy on defense — Great Britain, the United States, Greece and Estonia.” Kessler and Lee, though, wrote that the comment about the money pouring in is a “bit nonsensical,” presumably because “the money would not be going to the United States or even necessarily to NATO; this is money that countries would spend to bolster their own military forces.”

Claim: Defense budget one of the biggest increases in history (mostly false)

In touting his budget proposal, President Trump said it “calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.” Sherman and Jacobson looked at just the last 30 years and found “there have been 10 years when the base defense budget has gone up by more than what Trump has requested. In some years, the increase was more than double Trump’s.” The defense analysts they talked with “confirmed that while the proposal is a significant increase, it is not remarkable.” They rated the statement Mostly False.

Claim: We’ve spent $6 trillion dollars in the Middle East (not correct)

President Trump told Congress that “America has spent approximately $6 trillion dollars in the Middle East,” but fact-checkers indicate he’s off by some trillions. Robert Farley reported the number is $1.7 trillion: “In a report released this month, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service said that the Department of Defense estimates that the U.S. has spent $1.7 trillion on ‘war-related activities’ from 2001 through Sept. 30, 2016. That includes military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya.” The PolitiFact reporters wrote “he is confusing money that’s been spent with money that researchers say will be spent,” and The Washington Post’s agreed, writing the “$6 trillion figure adds in estimates of future spending, such as interest on the debt and veterans care for the next three decades.”

Read here about tips to use  the Trump Archive. To receive the TV News Archive’s email newsletter, subscribe here.

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How to Use the Trump Archive to find TV news appearances, fact checks, and share clips

by Katie Dahl

The experimental Trump Archive, which we launched in January, is a collection of President Donald Trump’s appearances on TV news shows, including interviews, speeches, and press conferences dating back to 2009. Now largely hand-curated, the Trump Archive is a prototype of the type of collection on a public figure or topic possible to make with material from our library of TV news. We are starting to reach out to machine learning collaborators to develop tools to make it more efficient to create such collections, and we have plans to publish similar collections on the Congressional leadership on both sides of the party aisle.

The growing Trump Archive contains a lot of content–928 clips and counting–so we’ve put together some pointers and ideas for how to use the collection. 

Anna Wiener at The New Yorker used the Trump Archive for “immersion therapy: a means of overcoming shock through prolonged exposure,” while the The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey A. Fowler proposed the Trump Archive could be used to hold politicians accountable by people doing own fact-checking: “At a time when facts are considered up for debate, there’s more value than ever in being able to check the tape yourself.”

Fact-checking in the Trump Archive

The Trump Archive is a great place to spend time if you’re hungry for aggregated fact-checking and added context around President Trump’s statements. We incorporate fact checks from our partners at FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, and The Washington Post’s Fact Checker in a variety of ways.

From this page you can explore TV programs that include at least one fact-checked Trump statement. After choosing a program, look for the fact-checked icon   on the program timeline. When you click on that icon, you’ll be able to watch the video of the statement and then click through to a fact-checking article by one of our partners.

And if you’re eager to look for a specific topic, such as “terrorism,” or “immigration,” this table is a great place to start. You can search for a topic using the trusty find function on your computer, or download the table and view the list as a spreadsheet. Find a list of topics at PolitiFact and FactCheck.org.

Search the Trump Archive

The search function, on the left side of the screen on the front page of the Trump Archive, allows you to find words or phrases within the closed captioning for a particular clip. Since those transcribers are working in real-time and at lightening speed, the captions don’t produce a perfect transcript, but they will get you really close to where you need to be.

For example, I searched for “believe me” in the Trump Archive and came up with hundreds of results. While that particular example may only be useful for artists and linguists, the functionality can be applied in many ways. For example, there are almost 200 results for a search of “Iran Deal,” 70+ results for “radical Islamic terrorists,” and when you search “jobs,” the results almost match the number in our total collection, revealing how often Donald Trump talks about jobs.

When we heard the President would be taking action to remove an expansion of rights for the transgender community, we looked for what he may have said about it before by searching “transgender” in the caption search. It yielded six programs in which he spoke publicly about it.

Because of the imperfect nature of closed captioning transcripts, your search is often more successful if you don’t try for an exact quote. For example, you may know Trump said something like “we can make the kind of change together that you dream of.” The closed captioning quote may actually be “an make the find a change together that you beam of.” But in those circumstances where you need to search for an exact quote, try using this, ~0. For example, “the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe”~0  . The ~0 tells the search box to look for all these words without any other words in between them, thus next to each other.

Browse the Trump Archive by TV show

If you know the program name of the Trump statement you’re looking for, you can use the “Topics & Subjects” filter on the left side navigation. So for instance, you may recall that Trump said something you want to find on an episode of 60 Minutes. Find Topics & Subjects on the left side of the page and click on “More.”

Then check the boxes of the relevant program(s), in this case, 60 Minutes. Hit “apply your filters,” and then browse all the 60 Minutes programs in the Trump Archive.

Make your own shareable TV clips

Once you find that video clip where Trump says something you want to share, you can make your own video clip of up to three minutes that can be easily embedded into a post. If you post the link on twitter, the clip appears within the body of the tweet and can be played without clicking through to the TV News Archive.

To start, click on the icon to “Share, embed or refine this clip!” 

A window will then open up to present (highlighted in orange) the closed captioning of the 60-second pre-defined segment—and the captioning of the 60 seconds before and after (not highlighted) for context. Important: the captions come from real-time closed captioning, which means they are often incomplete, garbled and not precisely aligned. This is all still an experiment, remember. Be sure to watch your clip before you post to make sure you captured what you meant to.

“Grab” the quote marks at the beginning and end of the highlighted segment and through a bit of trial and error, find the right in and out points for the clip. Note that each time the quote marks move, the player starts to play and the URL changes to update the “start” and “end” points of the clip — named to reflect the number of seconds into the entire program. Remember: Watch your clip before you post.

Pro tip: If you clip a quote that’s fewer than 10 seconds it might not play, so give it a bit of time to run. Copy the URL and paste it elsewhere. Click one of the variety of share method icons on the bottom of the edit window (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) The embed icon </> will offer two flavors of embed codes for the portion you have selected—one for an iFrame, the other for many WordPress sites.

Fun, right? Now go share another. Let us know if you have any questions by emailing us at politicalad@archive.org; and please, do share what uses you find for the Trump Archive.

 

 

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TV news highlights with fact checks

By Nancy Watzman and Katie Dahl

Last week, our national fact checking partners concentrated on two events featuring President Donald Trump: a press conference on February 16, and his rally in Melbourne, Florida on February 18. The Conservative Political Action Conference is being hosted this week. Look out for fact-checking of President Trump’s speech soon.  Here are some highlights, along with TV news segments from the Trump Archive and TV News Archive.

Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus addressed the conference yesterday. Bannon again called the press the “opposition party.”

Claim: Obama released Gitmo detainee that recently became a suicide bomber (wasn’t him)

Deputy assistant to the president, Sebastian Gorka, on Fox & Friends: “So President Obama released lots and lots of people that were there for a very good reason, and what happened? Almost half the time, they returned to the battlefield. This individual… goes and executes a suicide attack in Iraq.” At FactCheck.org, Farley wrote “Gorka wrongly suggested the man was released by President Barack Obama. He was transferred… President George W. Bush… then wrongly claimed that among detainees released by Obama, ‘almost half the time, they returned to the battlefield.’ According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, about 12.4 percent of those transferred from Gitmo under Obama are either confirmed or suspected of reengaging.”

Claim: there are 13, 14, 15 million undocumented people in the country (too high)

At a press briefing this week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said “12, 14, 15 million people [are] in the country illegally,” but Yee gave him Three Pinocchios for The Washington Post’s Fact Checker. “Spicer’s statement that there are about 12 million people in the country illegally is safely within the margin of error in credible demographics research. But once he enters the realm of ‘13, 14, 15 million’ or ‘potentially more,’ his claim becomes problematic.”

Claim: Thomas Jefferson said “nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper.” (out of context)

At his rally in Florida, Trump said President Thomas Jefferson had said that “nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself….becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”

However, “Trump selectively quotes from Jefferson here, who, for most of his life, was a fierce defender of the need for a free press,” Kessler wrote for The Washington Post’s Fact Checker. PolitiFact staff made a similar point, using this quote as evidence: “And were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Claim: something happened in Sweden. (Not exactly)

By far the quote that received the most attention from the president’s rally were his comments about Sweden: “We’ve got to keep our country safe … You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden… Sweden? Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”

“This was a very strange comment. Nothing had happened the night before in Sweden,” wrote Kessler for The Washington Post’s Fact Checker.  A White House spokesperson said later that he “was talking about rising crime and recent incidents in general and not referring to a specific incident.”

PolitiFact reporter Miriam Valverde reported on the Fox news interview on Swedish crime rates, which aired the night before the rally and purportedly inspired Trump’s comments. Valverde quoted several Swedish experts countering the argument that crime rates are rising in Sweden, including political scientist Henrik Selin, who said that “[i]n general, crime statistics have gone down the last (few) years, and no there is no evidence to suggest that new waves of immigration has lead to increased crime.”

Robert Farley reported for  FactCheck.org, “Swedish authorities and criminologists say President Donald Trump is exaggerating crime in Sweden as a result of its liberal policy of accepting refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries.”

Claim: The stock market has hit record numbers (mostly true)

The President mentioned the economy at a press conference, saying “The stock market has hit record numbers, as you know. And there has been a tremendous surge of optimism in the business world.” At PolitiFact, Miriam Valverde rated this as “Mostly True,” reporting “All three major stock indexes closed at record highs for five days in row on Feb. 15.”

Claim: the media is less trustworthy than Congress (mostly false, but…)

Also at the press conference, President Trump excoriated the media, saying journalists “will not tell you the truth and treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that they deserve,” that the “press is out of control,” and that the media has a “lower approval rate than Congress, I think that’s right, I don’t know.”

PolitiFact reporter Jon Greenberg rated the trust claim as “mostly false”: “Congress actually ranks below the news media, according to surveys from three different research groups spanning several years. In two polls, mistrust in the media broke 40 percent, which is hardly anything to brag about. But in those studies, mistrust in Congress was over 50 percent.”

Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee at The Washington Post’s Fact Checker agreed that Congress ranks lower than the media–but that that isn’t saying much: “[B]esides Congress, only ‘big business’ ranks lower than the media — but it’s enough to make Trump’s claim incorrect.”

FactCheck.org chimed in, noting that the “public’s approval of Congress is lower than its trust in the media,” but pointed out there’s more public trust in Trump than in the media: “Trump would have been correct to say that trust in the media is even lower than approval of himself. According to Gallup, Trump’s approval rating stood at 41 percent, as of the week ending Feb. 12, while the public’s trust in the media was down to 32 percent.”  

Claim: Trump had biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan. (False)

President Trump claimed his victory marked “the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.” NBC reporter Peter Alexander challenged him on the spot, saying, “Why should Americans trust you when you have accused information they have received as being fake when you have been providing information that is fake?” Trump didn’t answer the question, but rather pivoted by asking whether the reporter agreed that his victory was substantial.  

According to our fact-checking partners, there have been three presidents since Reagan who received more electoral college votes than Trump. FactCheck.org noted “Trump’s Electoral College victory margin ranks 46th out of 58 presidential elections.” Kessler and Lee wrote: “Of the nine presidential elections since 1984, Trump’s electoral college win ranks seventh.”

Claim: Hillary Clinton gave away 20 percent of the uranium in the United States (false)

President Trump asserted a claim the Washington Post Fact Checker has given Four Pinocchios, that Hillary Clinton “gave away 20 percent of the uranium in the United States,” going on to say, “you know what uranium is, right? This thing called nuclear weapons and other things like lots of things are done with uranium, including some bad things.” insinuate that the uranium could be used in a Russian nuclear weapon. FactCheck.org wrote: “The deal Clinton had a role in approving gave Russia ownership of 20 percent of U.S. production capacity — not existing stocks of uranium. Furthermore, Clinton alone could not have stopped the deal; only the president could have done that with a finding that national security would be endangered. Lastly, none of the uranium goes to Russia. That would require export licenses.”

 

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