Pundits Credited Trump With Not Creating His Own Controversy This Weekend. Here's What They Ignored.

Pundits Credited Trump With Not Creating His Own Controversy This Weekend. Here's What They Ignored.

Joe Scarborough, Brian Kilmeade Congratulate Trump For Not Making A Mess

››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

Some media figures praised Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for not making “himself the story” this past weekend and thus allowing the press to focus on the news regarding the FBI’s investigation of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server. But in doing so they ignored a series of outrageous claims Trump made, including his baseless comment that Clinton could “triple the size of our country in one week” by admitting “650 million” immigrants, his call to reinstate banned torture techniques, and his accusation that Twitter, Google, and Facebook are burying new developments in the FBI probe.

Some Media Figures Say Trump Stayed Out Of The News Over The Past Week ...

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: “Donald Trump Over The Past Week Has Laid Back. He Hasn’t Made The News, I Mean, Compared To What He’s Usually Done.” Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough praised Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for lying back and not making news “compared to what he’s usually done.” Scarborough lauded Trump for not making “himself the story over the past four or five days.” MSNBC political analyst John Heilemann agreed, remarking, “As undisciplined as Donald Trump is, he’s somehow managed to stay out of the way of this story.” From the October 31 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): Do we notice this past week, John Heilemann, and then just very quickly pass it around, Donald Trump over the past week has laid back. He hasn't made the news, I mean, compared to what he’s usually done. He’s actually, and I think a lot of people are shocked even inside his own campaign, he hasn't made himself the story over the past four or five days, and the impact has been devastating for --

MIKA BRZEZINSKI (CO-HOST): This is kind of hard.

[CROSSTALK]

SCARBOROUGH: Not for Donald Trump, it wouldn’t be.

JOHN HEILEMANN: As undisciplined as Donald Trump is, he's somehow managed to stay out of the way of this story. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 10/31/16]

Fox’s Brian Kilmeade: “Trump Not Creating His Own Controversy Is Also Noteworthy.” Fox host Brian Kilmeade asserted that “Trump not creating his own controversy” is “noteworthy” during the October 31 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/31/16]

But They’re Ignoring The Outrageous Claims Trump Made This Weekend

CNN.com: Trump Told A “Baseless” Lie That The Clinton Administration Could Bring In “650 Million” Immigrants And “Triple The Size Of Our Country In One Week.” At an October 30 rally, Trump baselessly claimed that a Clinton administration could bring in “650 million people” and “triple the size of our country in one week.” According to CNN, Trump also claimed that more undocumented immigrants “would result ‘in the loss of American lives,’ even though undocumented immigrants do not commit crimes at a higher rate than legal US residents.” From the October 30 article:

The Republican nominee also issued a dire -- and baseless -- warning to Americans that a Clinton administration could usher a flood of hundreds of millions of people crossing into the US.

"You could have 650 million people pour in and we'd do nothing about it. Think of it. That's what could happen. You triple the size of our country in one week. Once you lose control of your borders you just have no country folks, you have no country," Trump said, speaking in this Democrat-leaning border state.

Trump also stoked fears about undocumented immigrant crime, warning that continued illegal immigration would result "in the loss of American lives," even though undocumented immigrants do not commit crimes at a higher rate than legal US residents. [CNN.com, 10/30/16]

CNN.com: Trump “Bemoaned Criticism For Waterboarding And Appeared To Once Again Call For Bringing Back The Since-Banned Technique.” In the same October 30 rally, Trump questioned why “‘we can’t do waterboarding’” in the fight against ISIS. Trump, who has repeatedly “called for reinstating waterboarding and ‘much worse’ methods of torture,” mocked critics of waterboarding and asserted that “we have to be in some cases pretty vicious.” From CNN’s October 30 article:

Speaking just nine days before Election Day, the Republican nominee also bemoaned criticism of waterboarding and appeared to once again call for bringing back the since-banned technique for use in the fight against ISIS.

"These savages are chopping off heads, drowning people. This is medieval times and then we can't do waterboarding? 'It's far too tough,'" Trump said, mocking critics of the technique used by the CIA in interrogations of terror suspects under President George W. Bush's post-9/11 administration.

Trump has previously called for reinstating waterboarding and "much worse" methods of torture if he becomes president.

"We have to be tough and we have to be smart. And we have to be in some cases pretty vicious I have to tell you," he added. [CNN.com, 10/30/16]

Trump Baselessly Claimed That “Twitter, Google And Facebook Are Burying The FBI Criminal Investigation Of Clinton.” Trump tweeted on October 30 that “Twitter, Google and Facebook are burying the FBI criminal investigation of Clinton,” calling them “very dishonest media!” Business Insider called these assertions “baseless” and noted Trump’s “lack of factual support,” saying his claim “largely mirrored other unsubstantiated assertions that media organizations and even poll workers were intentionally attempting to stop Trump from becoming president.” The October 30 article also noted that CNN’s Brian Stelter pointed out that the investigation, which already found no evidence of criminal activity, “was the top story on Google News on Sunday, and a top trending topic on Twitter”:

In a tweet on Sunday, the Republican presidential nominee baselessly asserted that technology companies were attempting to tamp down new revelations that the FBI is continuing to investigate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.

"Wow, Twitter, Google and Facebook are burying the FBI criminal investigation of Clinton. Very dishonest media!" Trump wrote.

In their lack of factual support, Trump's claims on Sunday largely mirrored other unsubstantiated assertions that media organizations and even poll workers were intentionally attempting to stop Trump from becoming president.

As CNN host Brian Stelter pointed out on Sunday, the FBI's investigation into Clinton's emails was the top story on Google News on Sunday, and a top trending topic on Twitter.

And after taking heat earlier this year from suppressing some right-leaning outlets, Facebook removed human curation from its trending topics section altogether, allowing stories to rise to the top based on their popularity and importance in Facebook's algorithm. [Business Insider, 10/30/16]

Trump Questioned Vote-By-Mail Ballots In Colorado To Push His “Rigged” Election Narrative. At an October 29 campaign event, Trump said he has “real problems with ballots being sent” by mail to Colorado voters this year. According to The Washington Post, Trump “seemed to allege, without presenting specific evidence, that those collecting ballots might discard the ones marked with candidates they did not like.” Colorado’s Republican secretary of state issued a statement last month calling voter fraud “rare” and promising “to ensure all such incidents are prosecuted and that laws and rules are adjusted to make vote fraud as difficult as possible.” From the October 29 article:

Donald Trump launched a new round of claims about voter fraud Saturday at a rally here in Colorado, a state that is conducting its presidential election by mail for the first time.

“I have real problems with ballots being sent, does that make sense?” Trump said.

The Republican presidential nominee seemed to allege, without presenting specific evidence, that those collecting ballots might discard the ones marked with candidates they did not like: “Like people say, ‘Oh, here’s a ballot, bing, here’s another ballot, throw it away, throw. Oh, here’s one I like, we’ll keep that one.[’] I have real problems, so get your ballots in. We’re trying to have some pretty good supervision out there. We have a lot of people watching you people that collect the ballots.”

Voters in Colorado are receiving their ballots by mail this year. They can send them in or give them up to vote in person instead.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams (R) issued a statement last month that said: “While vote fraud is rare, it does indeed occur. Our office is working to ensure all such incidents are prosecuted and that laws and rules are adjusted to make vote fraud as difficult as possible.”

His statement came in response to a local report about potentially fraudulent votes.

Documented instances of voter fraud are extremely rare, studies show. An episode emerged this week when an Iowa woman who said she supports Trump was arrested and charged with voting twice. She told Iowa Public Radio that she voted for Trump the first time but was afraid her vote would be switched to a vote for Clinton. [The Washington Post, 10/29/16]

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