"The King Of Whoppers": Fact Checkers Call Out Donald Trump's Year Of "Campaign Misstatements" And Lies
Research ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY
Fact checkers ended 2015 by calling out Donald Trump's endless "political falsehoods," noting that the GOP presidential frontrunner "stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims, but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong."
Fact Checkers Excoriate Trump's "Many Campaign Misstatements"
PolitiFact: All Of Trump's "Campaign Misstatements" Win "2015 Lie Of The Year" Because "It Was Hard To Single One [Lie] Out From The Others." PolitiFact awarded its annual Lie of the Year award to Donald Trump's "many campaign misstatements," because "it was hard to single one out from the others." Politifactnoted that 76 percent of the statements they checked from Trump were "Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire" and "no other politician has as many statements rated so far down" as Trump. The organization included his falsehoods about thousands of Muslims cheering in New Jersey on September 11, the Mexican government encouraging criminals to immigrate to the U.S., and racially-charged crime statistics, noting that "bending the truth or being unhampered by accuracy is a strategy he has followed for years":
It's the trope on Trump: He's authentic, a straight-talker, less scripted than traditional politicians. That's because Donald Trump doesn't let facts slow him down. Bending the truth or being unhampered by accuracy is a strategy he has followed for years.
"People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts," Trump wrote in his 1987 best-seller The Art of the Deal. "People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration -- and a very effective form of promotion."
That philosophy guided Trump in luxury real estate and reality television. This year he brought it to the world of presidential politics.
Trump has "perfected the outrageous untruth as a campaign tool," said Michael LaBossiere, a philosophy professor at Florida A&M University who studies theories of knowledge. "He makes a clearly false or even absurdly false claim, which draws the attention of the media. He then rides that wave until it comes time to call up another one."
PolitiFact has been documenting Trump's statements on our Truth-O-Meter, where we've rated 76 percent of them Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire, out of 77 statements checked. No other politician has as many statements rated so far down on the dial.
In considering our annual Lie of the Year, we found our only real contenders were Trump's -- his various statements also led our Readers' Poll. But it was hard to single one out from the others. So we have rolled them into one big trophy.
To the candidate who says he's all about winning, PolitiFact designates the many campaign misstatements of Donald Trump as our 2015 Lie of the Year.
Trump hasn't apologized or backtracked on his statements. Instead, when challenged, he offers flimsy explanations and suggests he shouldn't be held accountable -- or simply insists he's right. [PolitiFact, 12/21/15]
FactCheck.Org: "The Evidence Is Overwhelming" And "Conclusive" That Trump Deserves "The Title 'King Of Whoppers.'" FactCheck.org conferred "for the first time ... the title 'King of Whoppers'" to Donald Trump, stating that "in the 12 years of FactCheck.org's existence, we've never seen his match" when it comes to"political falsehoods." The organization explained that Donald Trump "stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims," like claiming President Obama wants to confiscate guns via executive order or that autism is linked to vaccinations, "but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong":
It's been a banner year for political whoppers -- and for one teller of tall tales in particular: Donald Trump.
In the 12 years of FactCheck.org's existence, we've never seen his match.
He stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims, but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong.
He is by no means the only one telling whoppers, of course. Once again this year there are plenty of politicians, in both parties, who hope voters will swallow their deceptive claims. Hillary Clinton, for one, said she was "transparent" about her use of a private email server, when in fact she wasn't. That was one of the bogus claims she made about her unusual email arrangement while secretary of state.
But Trump topped them all when he claimed to have seen nonexistent television coverage of "thousands and thousands" of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11 -- and then topped himself by demanding that fact-checkers apologize for exposing his claim as fantasy. And that's only one example.
Here we've assembled, as we do every year at this time, a generous sampling of the most far-fetched, distorted or downright fallacious claims made during 2015.
In past years, we've not singled out a single claim or a single person, and have left it to readers to judge which whoppers they consider most egregious.
But this year the evidence is overwhelming and, in our judgment, conclusive. So, for the first time, we confer the title "King of Whoppers." [FactCheck.org, 12/21/15]
Wash. Post Fact Checker: Trump's "Easily Debunked" Lies Far Outpaced "Any Other Candidate['s]." When detailing "the biggest Pinocchios of 2015," The Washington Post fact checker singled out Donald Trumpexplaining that he had, "in particular ... kept [them] busy" as he earned more Four-Pinocchio ratings -- the most extreme rating the Post awards falsehoods -- "than any other candidate." The newspaper's fact checker noted that "most politicians drop a claim after it has been fact-checked as false. But Trump is unusual in that he always insists he is right, no matter how little evidence he has for his claim":
It's time for our annual round-up of the biggest Pinocchios of the year.
The 2016 presidential campaign has dominated our coverage of false claims. In particular, businessman Donald Trump -- who has soared to the top of the GOP field -- kept us busy. In the space of just six months, he earned 11 Four-Pinocchio ratings, far more than any other candidate.
Most politicians drop a claim after it has been fact-checked as false. But Trump is unusual in that he always insists he is right, no matter how little evidence he has for his claim. Frankly, it's really not interesting to fact check The Donald, as his assertions are so easily debunked. Still, he scores a hat trick on this list.
"I watched thousands and thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheer as the World Trade Center fell."
Donald Trump falsely and repeatedly asserted that he saw television images of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the collapse of the twin towers after the 9/11 attacks. Despite repeated debunking of this claim, Trump continued to assert he was correct, even though he could produce no evidence except a handful of news stories that made brief mentions of alleged celebrations -- which never could be confirmed.
"The Mexican Government is forcing criminals, drug dealers and rapists into the United States."
Donald Trump repeatedly defended this claim, but a range of studies show there is no evidence immigrants commit more crimes than native-born Americans. Moreover, the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants in prison do not belong in the category that fits Trump's description: aggravated felons, whose crimes include murder, drug trafficking or illegal trafficking of firearms.
"Obama plans to admit 250,000 Syrian refugees."
Donald Trump first said President Obama planned to admit 200,000 Syrian refugees, a figure conjured out of thin air. Then it became 250,000. But the real figure is 10,000. The United States is only planning to admit 180,000 refugees from all countries in the next two years. Trump's false rhetoric inspired other GOP candidates to offer wildly inflated figures as well. [The Washington Post, 12/14/15]