A biweekly round up on what’s happening at the TV News Archive by Katie Dahl and Nancy Watzman.
This week we take a dive into nearly six months of Face-o-Matic facial recognition data. We also display the news clips behind PolitiFact’s top picks for lies and misstatements of the year, most of them seen and heard on TV news.
Face-o-Matic reveals cable news persistent patterns
With nearly six-months of data available, we’re finding certain persistent patterns on how cable networks make editorial choices in displaying the faces of President Donald Trump and top congressional leaders on TV screens.
First, Trump trumps the congressional leaders for on-screen face time, by many degrees of magnitude.
Second, of the four congressional leaders, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R., Ky., gets the most face-time on TV, and MSNBC features his visage more than the other networks examined. Fox News features the face of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D., Calif. more than any other cable network.
Face-o-Matic, an experimental service, developed in collaboration with the start-up Matroid, tracks the faces of selected high level elected officials on major TV cable news channels: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. Face-o-Matic data is available to the media, researchers, and the public, updated daily here. Stay tuned: we are in the process of testing new faces to add to Face-o-Matic: living past presidents and recent major political party nominees.
PolitiFact announces “2017 Lie of the Year”
Our fact-checking partner PolitiFact has announced its annual Lie of the Year: President Donald Trump’s statement in May 2017 to NBC’s Lester Holt, “This Russia thing…is a made-up story.” Below is the interview on the Internet Archive’s TV News Archive.
Writes PolitiFact editor, Angie Drobnic Holan:
In both classified and public reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered actions to interfere with the election. Those actions included the cyber-theft of private data, the placement of propaganda against particular candidates, and an overall effort to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process.
Trump’s statement about Russia was both the PolitiFact’s editors pick for Lie of the Year, and the top one chosen by PolitiFact’s readers in an online poll by “an overwhelming margin.” Readers also called out other fact-checks to highlight for the year, choosing from a list of ten from the editors, or writing in their own nominations.
The top vote-getter after Trump’s statement on Russia was Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador’s claim that “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.” “While the exact number of deaths saved by having health insurance is uncertain, the researchers we contacted agreed that the number is higher than zero–probably quite a bit higher,” writes PolitiFact reporter Louis Jacobson, who rated the claim “Pants on Fire.”
In third place was Sean Spicer’s claim, “that was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period,” referring to the presidential inauguration in January 2017. PolitiFact at the time rated that claim “Pants on Fire”: “Spicer suggested 720,000 attended Trump’s inauguration, while organizers said they expected 700,000 to 900,000, and Trump himself estimated 1.5 million. All of those figures are less than the 1.8 million people who attended Obama’s 2009 inaugural.”
To see more video of fact-checks chosen by PolitiFact’s readers and editors as lies or misstatements of the year, see this list, which includes links both to TV news clips of public officals making statements on the air, along with links to fact-checks of those statements.