by Katie Dahl
As part of a new regular feature, the Internet Archive presents highlights from our national fact checking partners of TV news segments aired over the past week. These include President Donald Trump’s assertion that the number of police officers killed on the beat has increased; his latest attack on the press; his claim that sanctuary cities breed crime; the proposition that Nordstrom’s decision to drop Ivanka Trump’s apparel line was political; several Trump statements from his Super Bowl interview with O’Reilly, and background on the silencing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D., Mass., on the floor of the Senate.
Claim: Number of officers shot and killed in line of duty increased (true)
Trump earned a rare “Gepetto’s checkmark” for truthfulness from The Washington Post’s Fact Checker when he told a gathering of law enforcement that, “The number of officers shot and killed in the line of duty last year increased by 56 percent from the year before.” Reporter Michelle Ye Hee Lee wrote, “Trump’s grim statistic seemed too remarkable to be correct:…But the figure is solid. Last year was a notable year in police deaths, largely because of the number of police officers who were fatally shot in ambush attacks across the country.”
Claim: press doesn’t want to report on terrorism (wrong)From our Trump Archive: in describing “radical islamic terrorist” attacks around the world, President Trump claimed the “very very dishonest press doesn’t want to report” them. The fact-checkers at PolitiFact found no evidence for this assertion, rating the claim as “Pants on Fire”: “The media may sometimes be cautious about assigning religious motivation to a terrorist attack when the facts are unclear or still being investigated. But that’s not the same as covering them up through lack of coverage.” Reporters at FactCheck.org called Trump’s claim “nonsense.”
Claim: Sanctuary cities breed crime (no evidence)
Also from the Trump Archive: in an interview on FOX News, host Bill O’Reilly asked for Trump’s reaction to news that officials in California are discussing whether to become a sanctuary state. Trump responded that he is opposed to sanctuary cities, saying they “breed crime.” PolitiFact reporter Allison Graves wrote that there isn’t much research on the impact of sanctuary cities on crime, but that at least one recent study shows no effect on crime rates. Michelle Ye Hee Lee gave the claim “three Pinocchios” from The Washington Post’s Fact Checker: “Trump goes too far declaring that the cities “breed crime.” He not only makes a correlation, but also ascribes a causation, without facts to support either.”
Claim: Putin’s a killer (experts say yes)
In the Super Bowl interview, O’Reilly pressed President Trump about his respect for Putin, saying “Putin’s a killer.” Trump’s response was “We got a lot of killers. You think our country is so innocent?” PolitiFact’s Graves reported on O’Reilly’s assertion that Putin is a killer, writing that “the political climate in Russia is responsible for a sizable amount of journalists murders in the country…. Many of the perpetrators are thought to be government and military officials and political groups.”
Claim: Three million undocumented immigrants voted illegally in November elections (no evidence)
Trump continued his unsubstantiated claim that three million undocumented immigrants voted illegally in the November election. When pushed on the need for evidence, Trump was undeterred, saying “[m]any people have come out and said I’m right. You know that.” PolitiFact repeated its finding that there is no evidence for this kind of voter fraud: “Trump’s claim is undermined by years of publically available information such as a report that found just 56 cases of noncitizens voting between 2000 and 2011.”
Claim: Nordstrom’s decision to drop Ivanka Trump’s apparel line was political (No evidence)
After Nordstrom dropped his daughter Ivanka Trump’s apparel line, President Trump attacked the decision as political. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, followed at a news conference saying, “[T]his is a direct attack on his policies and her name.” Reporting for The Washington Post Fact Checker, Lee cited an internal company email from November 2016, which states the company would continue to sell the brand as long as it was profitable. Then on February 2, Nordstrom announced it was dropping the line, because of “poor sales.” Lee gave the claim “four Pinocchios.”
Explainer: what is “Senate rule XIX” (rarely invoked)
During a Senate floor debate about the nomination of then Sen. Jeff Sessions, R., Ala., to be attorney general, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R., Ky., silenced Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D., Mass., as she read from a letter by Corretta Scott King. In doing so, he cited an obscure rule, known as Senate rule XIX, which reads: “[N]o Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.” PolitiFact reporter Louis Jacobson provided a useful primer on the rule, including statistics on how often it’s been invoked in Senate history: most likely, only twice, once in 1915 and another tie in 1952.
Katie Dahl is a research associate with the TV New Archive.