How Conservative Media Enabled Trump’s Outrageous Lies

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and conservative media figures repeatedly enabled each other to spread baseless smears and outright lies throughout the Republican presidential primary election cycle. Voices in conservative media repeatedly legitimized Trump’s debunked conspiracies, policy proposals, and statistics, some of which echoed longtime narratives from prominent right-wing media figures.


He Opposed The Iraq War

Thousands Of Muslims Celebrated The 9/11 Terror Attacks

9/11 Hijackers’ Wives Had Prior Knowledge Of Attacks


The Mexican Government Is Sending Criminals And Rapists To America

There Are More Than 30 Million Undocumented Immigrants In The United States

Many Recent Migrants In America Carry Terrorism Charges

Life Story

There Is Nothing To Learn From His Tax Returns

He Built His Empire With A “Small Loan” From His Father

He Doesn’t Know Anything About David Duke


My Plan Can Eliminate America’s National Debt In Eight Years

The “Real” Unemployment Rate Is 42 Percent 


His Tax Plan Would Cost Him “A Fortune”

America Is Taxed Higher Than Any Other Nation


Hillary Clinton Wants To “Abolish” The Second Amendment

Bernie Sanders Will Tax People At 90 Percent

Ted Cruz Didn’t Deny National Enquirer Story On His Father 

Michelle Fields’ Story Changed Once She Learned Of Security Footage 


Global Warming Is A “Hoax”

Vaccines Lead To Autism


Common Core Is “Education From Washington, D.C.” And He Would “Get Rid” Of It As President


Trump Claim: He Opposed The Iraq War All Along

In Foreign Policy Speech, Trump Says He Said He Opposed War In Iraq “For Many Years." Trump told audience members at his April 27 foreign policy speech at the Center for the National Interest that he was “totally against the War in Iraq” and that for “many years” he warned of its potential consequences. [, 4/27/16] Debunks Claim “There Is No Evidence ... He Spoke Against The War Before It Started.” reported in February that it and its fellow fact-checking institutes were unable to confirm that Trump publicly voiced opposition to the Iraq invasion, despite his repeated assertions throughout the campaign that he had. [, 2/19/16]

Fox Pushed Trump’s Iraq Opposition Myth

Sean Hannity: Trump Was “Against The War From The Beginning.” During a February 18 interview with Trump, Hannity said to Trump, “You were against the war from the beginning.” Trump agreed, responding, “Totally against the war.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/18/16]

Trump Claim: Thousands Of Muslims Celebrated The 9/11 Terror Attacks

Trump Repeats Claim That Thousands Of Muslims Celebrated The 9/11 Attacks. At a December 1 New Hampshire campaign rally, Trump doubled down on his claim that he had witnessed thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. A Trump campaign adviser pointed to clips from New York's WCBS and MTV in 2001 as evidence, but according to CBS News, neither source “showed a large celebration” like Trump had claimed. [, 12/2/15]

Fact Check Debunks Claim

Wash. Post Fact Checker Called The Claim “Another Case Of Trump's Overactive Imagination.” The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler wrote on November 22 that “an extensive examination of news clips from that period turns up nothing” showing American Muslims celebrating the 9/11 attacks, and that Trump “must provide real evidence or else issue an apology.” Kessler gave Trump’s claim the “Four Pinocchios” rating. [The Washington Post, 11/22/15]

Right-Wing Media Run With Trump’s False Claim

Fox's Eric Bolling: “I Know There Were Muslims” In The U.S. “Who Were Happy That The World Trade Center Came Down.” The Five co-host Eric Bolling said, “I remember specifically the news reports about Jersey City. They said people were on the roofs watching the planes fly in" on September 11. Bolling added on the December 1 edition of the show, “I know there were Muslims and Muslim groups in the United States who were happy that the World Trade Center came down.” [Fox News, The Five, 12/1/15]

Radio Host Laura Ingraham: “There Were Individuals In The United States, Muslim Background, Who Were Celebrating” The 9/11 Attacks. Right-wing radio show host Laura Ingraham asserted on December 1 that “individuals in the United States” of “Muslim background ... were celebrating” the 9/11 attacks. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 12/1/15]

Fox's Neil Cavuto Defends Trump's Claim That Muslim Americans Celebrated After 9/11. Fox News host Neil Cavuto said on December 1 the “only mistake Trump might have made” in claiming thousands of Muslim Americans celebrated the 9/11 terror attacks was “assigning a number to it.” [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 12/1/15]

Trump Claim: 9/11 Hijackers’ Wives Had Prior Knowledge Of Attacks

Trump Says 9/11 Hijackers’ Wives “Went Home To Watch Their Husbands Knock Down The World Trade Center.” Trump accused families of terrorists of having prior knowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks during the December 6 edition of CBS’s Face the Nation, saying that “those wives knew exactly what was happening” and that terrorists booked family members flights home before the attacks. [CBS News, Face the Nation, 12/6/15]

Fact Check Debunks Claim

Wash. Post Fact Checker: Trump Is “Trying To Reinvent The Well-Established History” Of The 9/11 Attacks. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler reported “there is no way the alleged wives could have known what was going to happen” before the 9/11 terror attacks. Most of the men, Kessler reported in his December 6 article, were unmarried, and none brought female companions into the United States. Kessler gave Trump’s claim the “Four Pinocchios” rating. [The Washington Post, 12/6/15]

Washington Times Repeats Trump’s False Claim

Washington Times Uncritically Repeats Trump Making False 9/11 Claim In Fox Interview. The Washington Times on December 4 uncritically repeated Trump’s false claim about the 9/11 attackers’ wives that he also made in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. [The Washington Times, 12/4/15]


Trump Claim: The Mexican Government Is Sending Criminals And Rapists To America

Trump: When Mexico Sends Its People, They Are Not Sending Their Best. In a June 2015 speech announcing his bid for the presidency, Trump asserted that the Mexican government is sending people to the United States. The now-presumptive Republican nominee went on to call these Mexican immigrants “rapists” who are bringing “drugs” and “crime.” [The Washington Post, 6/16/15]

Fact Check Debunks Claim

Wash. Post Fact Checker: “The Facts Are Just Not There” To Back Up Trump’s Claim. The Washington Post’s Michelle Ye Hee Lee acknowledged that drug trafficking and violent crimes do exist within the undocumented immigration population, but she noted that these crimes “are not indicative of larger trends.” Ye Hee Lee continued in her July 8 article that while Trump’s comments tapped into a larger public perception about crime and immigration, “that is a misperception” with “no solid data” to support it, and gave Trump’s claim the “Four Pinocchios” rating. [The Washington Post, 7/8/15]

Right-Wing Media Laud Trump’s Claim As True

Fox’s Steve Doocy Excuses Trump's Comments Because “He's Probably Right. Our Unsecured Southern Border Is A Problem.” Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy excused Trump's extreme rhetoric on June 30, saying, “When you think about it, he's probably right. Our unsecured southern border is a problem.” Later in the show, Doocy praised Trump's unwillingness to apologize for his offensive remarks, saying, “The thing with Donald Trump, after it was announced that NBC was severing ties with him, he didn't back down, he essentially doubled down. People like that about Donald Trump.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/30/15; 6/30/15]

Fox’s Sean Hannity: “I Agree With Mr. Trump. ... I Have Seen The Drug Warehouses.” Fox News host Sean Hannity defended Trump during a June 29 panel discussion about him parting ways with NBC, saying, “I agree with Mr. Trump. As somebody who has been down to the border 11 times, I have seen the drug warehouses, I was there when criminals were arrested, I know the human trafficking side and the impact on our educational system, criminal justice system, [and] our health care system.” [Fox News, Hannity, 6/29/15]

Radio Host Laura Ingraham Insists Trump’s Claim Is True. Radio host Laura Ingraham said Trump’s statements had been “misconstrued” by “the fog of bias” and that his assertion was based in fact during the April 29 edition of her radio show. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 4/29/16]

Trump Claim: There Are More Than 30 Million Undocumented Immigrants In The United States

Trump Claims There Are “30 Million, It Could Be 34 Million” Undocumented Immigrants In America. Trump disputed MSNBC host Joe Scarborough’s comment that there are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, instead claiming on July 24 that “various newspapers” and “other people” have said there could be more than 30 million. [MSNBC, 7/24/15]

PolitiFact Debunks Claim

PolitiFact: Trump’s 30 Million Figure Is “Wildly Inflated.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security most recently estimated that 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants were in the United States, not 30 million, PolitiFact’s Amy Sherman reported. Sherman reported on July 28 that Trump’s claim was “wildly inflated” and tied the figure back to conservative columnist Ann Coulter, rather than any consensus among immigration researchers. Sherman gave the claim a “Pants on Fire” rating. [PolitiFact, 7/28/15]

Trump Ripped His False Statistic From Conservative Media

Ann Coulter On Immigration Reform: We Are “Bringing In 30 Million Unskilled, Law-Breaking” Immigrants. Ann Coulter in June 2013 accused Democrats of bringing in “30 million” voters who support socialism, Obamacare and abortion to “turn the country into California” so Republicans will “never win another election.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 6/28/13]  

On Fox, Dennis Michael Lynch Claims His “Research” Shows “Closer To 30 Million”  Undocumented Immigrants In The U.S. On the July 28 edition of Fox & Friends, film producer Dennis Michael Lynch claimed that “there's no 11 million people in this country illegally ... the research that I've done shows more that it's closer to 30 million people illegally. ... I know it's far more.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/28/15]        

Trump Claim: Many Recent Migrants In America Carry Terrorism Charges

Trump: “Scores” Of Migrants Inside U.S. Borders Have Terrorism Charges. In his April 27 foreign policy speech, Trump claimed that for every instance of an immigrant entering into the U.S. with terrorism charges known to the public, “there are dozens more.” [, 4/27/16

Fact Check Debunks Claim

Wash. Post Fact Checker: There Is “No Evidence” To Support Trump’s Claim. The Washington Post’s Michelle Ye Hee Lee wrote on May 2 that it's “unclear” where Trump is getting his information and that after checking with the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and various research groups, she could not find one statistic to back up Trump’s claim. Ye Hee Lee gave Trump’s claim “Four Pinocchios.” [The Washington Post, 5/2/16]

Right-Wing Media Proclaim That “Immigrants Are More Dangerous Than ISIS”

Ann Coulter Compared Immigrants To Terrorists: “Very Easy To Avoid Being Killed By ISIS,” But “If You Don't Want To Be Killed By A Mexican, There's Nothing I Can Tell You.” Conservative commentator Ann Coulter doubled down on her past comparison of immigrants to terrorists from the Islamic State in a May 26 Fusion interview. After host Jorge Ramos questioned her assertion, Coulter replied that “yes,” Americans should fear immigrants more than the terror group because “If you don't want to be killed by ISIS, don't go to Syria. If you don't want to be killed by a Mexican, there's nothing I can tell you.” [Fusion, America With Jorge Ramos, 5/26/15]

Fox’s Andrea Tantaros: “Taking Islamic Refugees Would Be Suicide” Because They May Be Terrorists. Outnumbered co-host Andrea Tantaros asserted on September 8 that “taking Islamic refugees would be suicide” for the United States because terrorists may be disguising themselves as refugees. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 9/8/15]

Fox’s Brian Kilmeade: “Should We Really Be Opening Our Doors At The Risk Of Letting In Terrorists?” Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade suggested on September 8 that taking in refugees would “be opening our doors at the risk of letting in terrorists.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/8/15]

Life Story

Trump Claim: There Is Nothing To Learn From My Tax Returns

Trump Tells AP “There’s Nothing To Learn” From His Tax Returns. Trump told the Associated Press in a May 11 article that he would release his taxes after an audit was complete, but not before the election if the audit is not yet complete. According to the Associated Press, Trump said that he didn’t think voters were interested in the documents and that there is “nothing to learn” from his returns. [Associated Press, 5/11/16]

Fact Check Debunks Claim

Wash. Post Fact Checker: “There Is A Lot To Learn.” Glenn Kessler gave Trump’s suggestion that there is nothing to learn from from his tax returns The Washington Post’s most critical rating: “Four Pinocchios.” Kessler wrote on May 12 that releasing tax returns can reveal significant information that could validate Trump’s claims about his mass income and charitable donations or confirm that he’s just “a bombastic man behind the curtain akin to the Wizard of Oz.” [The Washington Post, 5/12/16]

Right-Wing Media Urge Trump Not To Release Tax Returns

Sean Hannity Tells Caller That Wanting To See Trump’s Taxes Makes Him “Political.” Fox News host Sean Hannity, on his radio show, told a caller who said he would like to see Trump’s tax returns that the caller must be “political.” Hannity said on the May 16 edition of his radio show that he doesn’t care about Trump’s taxes because the IRS audits him “with a fine-toothed comb.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 5/16/16]

Lou Dobbs: Trump Should “Absolutely Not” Release His Tax Returns. Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs on May 11 urged Trump to not release his tax returns “when he is facing a hostile national media.” Dobbs asserted that no matter how “pristine” Trump’s tax returns are, the media are going to “find something to pick at  and blow up into and then use it as some sort of shiny object to distract from the issues.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 5/11/16]

Trump Claim: He Built His Empire With A “Small Loan” From His Father

Trump Claims He Built An Empire With A “Small Loan” Of $1 Million. CNN’s Jeremy Diamond reported that during an October 26 CNN town hall, Trump said that his life “has not been easy” and that he started his business with a “small loan” of $1 million. Trump later conceded that getting a million-dollar loan from his father may seem easy to most people, but he noted that “a million dollars isn't very much compared to what I’ve built.” [CNN, 10/27/15]

Fact Check Debunks Claim

Wash. Post Fact Checker: Trump’s Loan Wasn’t So Small. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler reported that Trump’s claim that he built his empire from a “small” loan was false because Trump had numerous loans, family connections, and trust funds working in his favor. Kessler’s March 3 article continued, reporting that Trump “glosses over” the ways his father “paved the way for his success” and rescued him from financial turmoil. Kessler gave Trump’s claim the “Four Pinocchios” rating. [The Washington Post, 3/3/16]

Fox: Trump Made Billions On A “Small” Loan

Fox Host: Trump Made Billions From “Small” Million-Dollar Loan, Unlike Liberals Who Would Blow It Because They “Know Nothing” About Business. Outnumbered co-host Andrea Tantaros downplayed criticism of Trump's claim that he started his business with only “a small loan of a million dollars,” which a CNN analysis concluded would be roughly equal to $6.8 million today, saying on October 27 that he did more with that loan than a liberal ever could “because they know nothing about running a business.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 10/27/15]

Trump Claim: He Doesn’t Know Anything About David Duke

Trump: “I Don’t Know Anything About David Duke, OK?” Trump repeatedly declared on February 28 that he knows “nothing” about white supremacists or David Duke, after CNN’s Jake Tapper asked the presumptive nominee to disavow Duke’s endorsement twice. When pressed, Trump claimed he doesn’t know about the Ku Klux Klan or David Duke’s association with the KKK. [CNN, State of the Union, 2/28/16]

Trump Previously Criticized Duke

Trump: “I Hate Seeing What [Support For David Duke] Represents.” In an interview on Larry King Live on November 19, 1991, shortly after Duke lost a race for Louisiana governor, Trump acknowledged that those supporting Duke represent “anger” and “hostility.” HKing mentioned that President George H.W. Bush spoke out against Duke, saying that he  “morally had to come out against him," and Trump agreed that “Bush had to come out against him.” Others have noted that prior to his 2016 run, Trump didn't play dumb about knowing Duke. He wrote in 2000: “Although I am totally comfortable with the people in the New York Independence Party, I leave the Reform Party to David Duke, Pat Buchanan and Lenora Fulani. That is not company I wish to keep.” [Media Matters, 2/29/16]  

Right-Wing Media Dismiss Trump Denial That He Knows About David Duke

Laura Ingraham Calls Questioning Trump's David Duke Answers “Gotcha Politics.” Radio host Laura Ingraham slammed media for focusing on Trump’s refusal to disavow David Duke rather than the “issues that really matter to Americans,” calling it “repugnant.” Ingraham said on February 29 that talking about Trump’s comments regarding Duke isn’t “going to help any black American get a job.” [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 2/29/16]

Bill O'Reilly: Media Using “David Duke Stuff” To Run Down Donald Trump. Bill O’Reilly complained that if Trump becomes the nominee, we will see “a media assault on him that will be unprecedented in America.” During the February 29 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, he called Trump’s David Duke comments a “completely non-story” and the media response a “preview” of his predicted media assault. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 2/29/16]


Trump Claim: My Plan Can Eliminate America’s National Debt In Eight Years

Trump Predicts He Can Erase $19 Trillion National Debt In Two Terms As President By Renegotiating Trade Deals. During April 2 interview with The Washington Post, Trump claimed he could eliminate the country's $19 trillion national debt “over a period of eight years” while still pushing a “very big tax cut.” According to the Post, Trump claimed “economic growth he foresees as a consequence of renegotiated deals would enable the United States to pay down the debt.” [The Washington Post, 4/2/16]

Fact Check Debunks Claim

Wash. Post Fact Checker: Trump's Proposal Is “A Fantastical Notion.” In a fact check, The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler gave Trump's claim that he can eliminate the debt in eight years “Four Pinocchios” -- the highest rating for the most egregiously incorrect claims -- writing on April 2, “We regret we have only Four Pinocchios to give for this whopper” in an April 2 article. To back up this rating, Kessler pointed to “basic math” to explain “why this is a fantastical notion,” noting that first, Trump would need to eliminate the deficit, which is set to increase over the next eight years. Then, even if he reduced discretionary spending, renegotiated trade deals, and increased revenues, that would still not eliminate the debt in eight years. [The Washington Post, 4/2/16]

Right-Wing Media Defend Trump’s Laughable Plan To Eliminate National Debt

Art Laffer: Trump Can Sell Strategic Assets To Erase Debt. Arthur Laffer, an economist who advised President Reagan on economic issues, defended Trump’s claim that he can eliminate the national debt. Speaking with CNN’s Poppy Harlow on April 4, Laffer suggested Trump could “make a huge hit” with a combination of “asset sales” and “economic growth.” [CNN, CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello, 4/4/16]  

Right-Wing Economist Steve Moore Pushes Trump Tax Plan In USA Today. Conservative economist Stephen Moore lambasted President Obama’s performance on the economy in a May 10 USA Today op-ed championing Trump’s plan to cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations, which will drive up even more debt and is virtually guaranteed not to grow the economy. [Media Matters, 5/12/16]

Trump Claim: The “Real” Unemployment Rate Is 42 Percent

Trump: Unemployment Is “Probably 28, 29, ... 35” Percent; “I Even Heard Recently 42 Percent.” After winning the New Hampshire primary in February, Trump told the crowd not to believe the 4.9 and 5 percent unemployment numbers. The presumptive Republican nominee told supporters the actual unemployment rate is closer to 30 percent, and that he “even heard recently 42 percent.” He had previously made the same claim. [Time, 8/20/15; The Washington Post, 2/9/16]   

Fact Check Debunks Claim

Wash. Post Fact Checker: Trump's Estimate Is “Ridiculous.” In an August fact check of Trump's 42 percent unemployment claim, The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler ruled that “Trump has asserted a ridiculous estimate.” Kessler clarified that though Trump backed up his statement with the figure that 93.7 million people are out of work, “the vast majority of those people do not want to work.” Kessler gave Trump's claim his most extreme rating for untruthfulness, “Four Pinocchios.” [The Washington Post, 8/21/15]

Trump Lifts Debunked Stat From Conservative Media Figures

Rush Limbaugh: The “Actual Unemployment Rate” Is “42.9 Percent.”On June 30  radio host Rush Limbaugh ranted against the official unemployment rate provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and, citing a blog post written by former Reagan Office of Management and Budget director David Stockman, claimed that “the actual unemployment rate in the United States of America is not five and a half percent ... it is 42.9 percent.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/30/15]

Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo Pushed The Debunked Statistic While Moderating A Republican Debate. During Fox Business' November 10 Republican primary debate, moderator Maria Bartiromo pushed the debunked statistic, saying that “almost 40 percent of Americans” are out of work and not looking, while asking candidate Jeb Bush about job creation. [Fox Business, Republican Presidential Candidates Debate, 11/10/15]


Trump Claim: My Tax Plan Would Cost Me “A Fortune”

Trump Says Tax Plan Would Close Loopholes For Rich And Cost Him “A Fortune.” Politico’s Ben Schreckinger and Nick Gass reported on September 28 that upon releasing his tax plan, Trump told reporters his tax plan will “cost me a fortune” because the plan closes some of the loopholes and removes deductions that help the rich eliminate much of their tax burden. [Politico, 9/28/15]

Economist, Media Debunk Claim

Economist Chad Stone: Trump’s Tax Plan Benefits Millionaires The Most. Economist Chad Stone of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) wrote that Trump’s proposed tax plan would disproportionately benefit millionaires and would not necessarily lead to economic growth, writing, “Millionaires would get nearly 40 percent of Trump's tax cut, compared with less than a third for the bottom 80 percent.” Stone added in his April 29 op-ed, “Forget claims that these tax cuts would spur enormous economic growth that would benefit people of all incomes. Though tax cut proponents proclaim otherwise, there's little to no evidence that tax cuts unleash such economic growth, and promises of benefits at all income levels are belied by decades of rising inequality. [U.S. News & World Report, 4/29/16]

AP Fact Check: “It Appears Likely That Trump's Plan Would Be A Financial Boon For Someone Of His Wealth.” A September 29 Associated Press fact check of Trump’s claims when he introduced his tax plan explained that it’s likely he would pay much less in taxes under his own tax plan:

TRUMP: “It reduces or eliminates most of the deductions and loopholes available to special interests and to the very rich. In other words, it's going to cost me a fortune.”

THE FACTS: Only Trump and his accountant can be sure, since he does not specify in his proposal exactly which deductions and loopholes he plans to eliminate and has yet to release any of his tax returns.

But it appears likely that Trump's plan would be a financial boon for someone of his wealth. Trump and his wife would pay 25 percent, instead of the current 39.6 percent, on any income above $300,001. An income statement he released alongside his personal financial disclosure report this past summer reported his 2014 income as $362 million.

His proposal to eliminate the 40 percent tax on inheritances of more than $5.4 million would allow him to pass on his estate to heirs tax-free, a savings worth billions given his estimated net worth of more than $10 billion.

And by cutting 10 percentage points from the current corporate tax rate of 35 percent, the Trump Organization and its hundreds of subsidiaries would pay less - assuming they don't already use tax strategies to reduce their effective rate below 15 percent. [Associated Press, 9/29/15]

Time: Trump’s Tax Plan Could “Save Him Millions In Taxes Each Year.” Time reported that a Tax Foundation analysis of Trump’s plan shows his claim that his tax plan could cost him “a “fortune” was unlikely to be true. The September 29 Time article cited the Tax Foundation analysis to report that because of the plan’s effects on the top 1 percent of income earners, “a tax cut that deep could be worth millions to him.” [Time, 9/29/15]

Right-Wing Media Praise Trump’s “Populist Plan”

Fox Business' Gerri Willis: Trump's Tax Plan Is “Good News For Regular Americans.” Fox Business’ Gerri Willis hyped Trump's plan as “fantastic” on the September 29 edition of Fox News’ Your World, claiming that it would help by “incentivizing growth” since high taxes are “not a big incentive to work.” [Media Matters, 9/28/15]

Daily Caller: Trump Released A “Populist-Sounding Plan.” The Daily Caller wrote on September 28 that Trump’s tax plan was “populist-sounding” because it cuts some loopholes for wealthy hedge fund managers. [Media Matters, 9/28/15]

Newsmax: Trump Plan Would Cost Him “A Fortune.” On September 28, Newsmax repeated Trump's claim that the plan will cost him “a fortune” without mentioning that it would bring his own personal and corporate tax rates down. [Media Matters, 9/28/15]

Trump Claim: America Is Taxed Higher Than Any Other Nation

Trump: “We’re The Highest Taxed Nation In The World.” Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on May 8 that he wants lower taxes on businesses and the middle class because the U.S. is the “highest taxed nation.” [Media Matters, 5/8/16]         

PolitiFact Debunks Claim

PolitiFact: “The United States Is Far From The Most Taxed Nation.” Looking at 2014 data from 33 other industrialized countries, PolitiFact determined that the U.S. “does have one of the highest top marginal corporate tax rates in the world,” but that is “far from” the highest taxed nation in the world. Based on a report from the World Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers, a case-study company in the U.S. would have a total tax rate of 43.9 percent, making it 64th out of 189 countries. [PolitiFact, 5/8/16]    

Fox Pushed This Myth During 2012 Election

Fox's Neil Cavuto: “When It Comes To Who Pays The Highest Taxes, [The World] Can't Hold A Cash-Collecting Candle To [The United States].” Fox’s Neil Cavuto said no other nation can hold “a candle” to the U.S. in terms of tax rates. Cavuto claimed that Japan “reliquinsh[ed]” the title of country with the highest taxes and that rates are “far lower” in Mexico and Canada, where the economies are growing “far faster.” [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 4/2/12]  

Fox's Dana Perino On U.S. Corporate Tax Rate: “We're Number One, But It's Not Something To Necessarily Brag About.” On Fox News’ The Five, co-host Dana Perino lamented that the U.S. “became the number one highest corporate tax rate in the world,” and said this is “not necessarily something to brag about.” [Fox News, The Five, 4/2/12]

Smears Against Opponents

Trump Claim: Hillary Clinton Wants To “Abolish” The Second Amendment

Trump Accuses Clinton Of Wanting To Do Away With Second Amendment Rights. Trump said that in addition to wanting to “abolish” the Second Amendment, Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nominee, wants “to take your bullets away.” He made the remarks during a May 7 rally in Washington state, according to CNN. [, 5/7/16]

PolitiFact Debunks Claim

PolitiFact: Clinton’s Position On Second Amendment Is “In Line With The George W. Bush Administration … Of Recognizing The Right But Allowing Reasonable Curtailment.” Linda Qiu of PolitiFact debunked Trump’s claim on May 11, declaring it “false” by highlighting Clinton’s numerous comments on protecting the Second Amendment and explaining that Clinton seems to have a view of the Heller decision “that’s more or less in line with the George W. Bush administration’s position on Heller of recognizing the right but allowing reasonable curtailment.” Qiu added, “We found no evidence of Clinton ever saying verbatim or suggesting explicitly that she wants to abolish the Second Amendment, and the bulk of Clinton’s comments suggest the opposite. She has repeatedly said she wants to protect the right to bear arms while enacting measures to prevent gun violence.” [PolitiFact, 5/11/16]

NRA Parrots Trump’s Claim To Fearmonger About Clinton

NRA Debuts 2016 Conspiracy: Clinton Is Coming For Your Guns. NRA’s magazine and lobbying website have declared that Clinton has a secret plan to steal gun rights from American citizens. [Media Matters, 5/13/15]

Trump Claim: Bernie Sanders Will Tax People At 90 Percent

Trump: Bernie Sanders “Wants To Raise Your Taxes To 90 Percent.” Trump called the Democratic presidential candidate a “total disaster” during a South Carolina campaign stop in December, telling supporters that Bernie Sanders would increase their taxes to 90 percent. [The Hill, 12/30/15]

PolitiFact Debunks Claim

PolitiFact: “Sanders Hasn’t Released An Official Tax Plan.” When Trump made a similar statement in Virginia on October 14, Sanders had yet to release an official tax plan. PolitiFact’s Linda Qiu noted on October 20 that based on previous comments, Sanders has advocated for higher taxes “targeted at corporations and affluent Americans.” Qiu also reported that Sanders has “dismissed” the idea that he wants to create “marginal tax rates for billionaires at 90 percent,” and gave Trump’s claim a “Pants on Fire” rating.  [PolitiFact, 10/20/15]

Fox Speculates Over What A 90 Percent Tax Rate Would Do

Fox's Eric Bolling: If Sanders Taxed Businesses His Way, “We Wouldn't Have The iPhone.” Fox’s Eric Bolling repeated Trump’s false claim on January 6, lamenting that if Sanders “and the socialist had their way and tax corporations at 90 percent, we wouldn't have the iPhone.” [Fox News, The Five, 1/6/16]

Trump Claim: Cruz Didn’t Deny National Enquirer Story On His Father

Trump Tours Morning Shows To Claim Ted Cruz “Didn’t Deny” National Enquirer Story Connecting Cruz’s Father To Lee Harvey Oswald. The morning after Ted Cruz suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination for president, Trump toured morning television shows to push a conspiracy theory claiming Cruz’s father met with Lee Harvey Oswald three months before Oswald shot and killed President John F. Kennedy, citing the National Enquirer. [Media Matters, 5/4/16]

Fact Check Debunks Claim

Wash. Post Fact Checker: Claiming Cruz’s Father Met With Oswald Is “Ridiculous.” The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler reported on May 4 that there is no corroborated evidence to suggest that Cruz’s father ever met with Oswald and that the Cruz campaign had dismissed the story as “garbage” 11 days before Trump repeated it on Fox News, and he gave the claim “Four Pinocchios.” [The Washington Post, 5/4/16]

Conservative Media Excuse Trump’s Accusation

Fox’s Bill O'Reilly Writes Off Trump's Accusation Against Cruz's Father, Saying Trump Was Just Being “Emotional.” After Trump pushed the conspiracy theory that Cruz’s father met with Lee Harvey Oswald, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly chalked it up to “emotion.” O’Reilly claimed on May 3 that Trump “gets emotional, but then he steps back and it’s a different guy.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 5/3/16]

Sean Hannity Won't Rebuke National Enquirer Story Accusing Ted Cruz's Father Of Helping JFK Assassination. On May 3 edition of The Sean Hannity Show, Trump mentioned the idea that Cruz’s father met with Lee Harvey Oswald. Instead of pushing back, host Sean Hannity said he hasn’t seen the article, and doesn’t “know know the truth or veracity of it.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 5/3/16]

Trump Claim: Michelle Fields’ Story Changed Once She Learned Of Security Footage

Trump: “When [Fields] Found Out There Was A Security Camera … Her Story Changed.” Trump defended his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, to CNN’s Anderson Cooper during a March town hall event, after reporter Michelle Fields accused Lewandowski of battery. Trump charged that Fields “changed” her story when she realized the incident was on camera, using her tweets to back up his claim. [, 3/29/16]

PolitiFact Debunks Claim

PolitiFact: Fields Gave Her Story “And Hasn’t Backed Off.” Fields recalled being “jolted backwards” and almost falling to the ground. PolitiFact’s Lauren Carroll wrote on March 30 that she was unable to find to find an instance of Fields walking back, or retelling her story, as Trump claimed. Carroll noted that Fields stood by her statement in a March 14 interview with Fox’s Megyn Kelly, and wrote that she saw “no evidence” that Field’s story ever changed, giving Trump’s claim a “Pants on Fire” rating. [PolitiFact, 3/30/16]

Right-Wing Media Downplay Fields’ Accusation

Frequent CNN Guest And Trump Stumper Scottie Nell Hughes: “I Can Show Bruises Having A 6- And A 7-Year-Old That Are Worse.” CNN guest and Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes on March 29 downplayed the bruises Fields received, saying she's received worse bruises from “having a 6- and 7-year-old.” [CNN, Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield, 3/29/16]

Fox Guests Downplay Battery Charge: Politics Is “A Contact Sport.” Fox News guests Lis Wiehl and Robert Bianchi on March 29 downplayed the charges faced by Lewandowski, with Wiehl calling Fields a “quote-unquote 'victim'” and Bianchi calling politics a “contact sport.” [Fox News, Happening Now, 3/29/16]

CNN Contributor Dismisses Battery Charge As “A Side Story.” CNN contributor and Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany called Lewandowski's battery charge a “distraction” and a “side story” on March 29. [CNN, At This Hour With Berman And Bolduan, 3/29/16]


Trump Claim: Global Warming Is A “Hoax”

Trump Repeatedly Calls Global Warming A “Hoax.” Trump has tweeted on several occasions that global warming is a costly “hoax” meant to “justify higher taxes” and make the U.S. manufacturing industry non-competitive. Most recently, during a campaign rally last December, Trump stated that global warming is a “money-making industry” and “a lot of it is a hoax.” [, 11/6/12; 1/29/14; 1/26/14; 1/25/14; News Universe, 12/30/15, via League of Conservation Voters]

PolitiFact Points To 2014 “Pants On Fire” Ruling

PolitiFact: Claim That Climate Change Is A “Hoax” Received “Pants On Fire” Rating. After Bernie Sanders stated that Trump “thinks that climate change is a hoax, invented by the Chinese,” PolitiFact’s Louis Jacobson clarified that Trump has indeed “used the word ‘hoax’ repeatedly in describing climate change,” adding that PolitiFact previously “rated the claim that climate change is a ‘hoax’ Pants on Fire.” [PolitiFact, 1/24/16; PolitiFact, 8/1/14]

Fox Hosts Have Agreed With Trump That Global Warming Is A Hoax

Fox & Friends Agrees With Trump On Global Warming. After Trump railed against the “global warming hoax” during a January 2014 interview with Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy asked in response, “now, what do you mean hoax?” Co-host Brian Kilmeade then agreed with Trump’s answer that “I think the scientists are having a lot of fun … The problem we’re doing is we’re making our manufacturing, our factories, and other things, we’re making them non-competitive to other countries. And if you look at what’s going on in China, if you look at what’s going on in India, they’re not spending ten cents in their factories. So how are we supposed to compete?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/6/14]

Trump Claim: Vaccines Lead To Autism

Trump Suggests Childhood Vaccines Could Cause Autism. During the second GOP presidential primary debate on September 16, Trump claimed that “Autism has become an epidemic,” adding that he is “in favor of vaccines” but he “want[s] smaller doses over a longer period of time.” He then said, “Just the other day, two years old, two and a half years old, a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.” He concluded that if vaccines are carried out “over a longer period of time” and “in little sections” then “you’re going to see a big impact on autism.” [Time, 9/18/15]

Fact Checks Debunk Claim “The Link Between Childhood Vaccinations And Autism Has No Scientific Basis.” In a post-debate fact check, stated that “the link between childhood vaccinations and autism has no scientific basis — a point that was made by one of Trump's rivals, Dr. Ben Carson.” The fact check noted that “There is no evidence that the vaccine schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually raises risk of any complications.” [, 9/17/15]

Arizona Republic: Trump’s Claim “Is Unsupported By Scientific Data And Medical Opinions” And “Has Been Widely Debunked By Many Studies.” Arizona Republic cited a series of statements from health organizations rebutting Trump’s autism claim, noting that there is “a wealth of scientific evidence debunking any link between autism and vaccinations” and that “all vaccines are crucial and postponing receiving them poses a greater threat to children's health.” The Republic concluded that “Trump’s claim is unsupported by scientific data and medical opinions” and that “The theory that vaccines cause autism has been widely debunked by many studies.” [Arizona Republic, 10/16/15]

Right-Wing Media Have Allowed Trump To Air False Autism Claims

Fox Hosts Trump To Push Autism-Vaccine Lie. During a 2012 interview with Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy asked Trump to weigh in on an uptick in autism diagnoses. Trump asserted, “I’ve gotten to be pretty familiar with the subject. And, you know I have a theory, and it’s a theory that some people believe in. And that’s the vaccinations. I mean, we never had anything like this. This is now an epidemic.” Gretchen Carlson noted that “most physicians disagree with that,” but Brian Kilmeade later said Trump made a “good point” and posited that vaccines might be “related” to the autism of football player Doug Flutie’s son. From the interview:

DONALD TRUMP: I’ve seen people where they have a perfectly healthy child, and they go for the vaccinations and a month later the child is no longer healthy.

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): This sounds like something Doug Flutie, a former quarterback, said happened to his son. At about two-and-a-half he stopped talking, and I don’t know if that’s related at all to the vaccines.

TRUMP: Well, it happened to someone that worked for me recently. They had this beautiful child, not a problem in the world, and all of a sudden they go in, they get this monster shot -- did you ever seen the size of it? It’s like they’re pumping in -- it’s terrible, the amount. And they pump this into this little body, and then all of a sudden the child is different a month later, and I strongly believe that’s it. Now they have vaccinations, but do them separately and over an extended period of time, not all at one time.

KILMEADE: That’s a good point, I had no idea you were this involved in that, but we will definitely look into it. We are doing a segment a little bit later on autism today. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/2/12]

Radio Host Hugh Hewitt Also Allowed Trump To Push Autism Lie. During a February 2015 interview, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Trump to clarify his claim that “massive combined inoculations to small children is the cause for a big increase in autism.” Trump reaffirmed his position that vaccines should be spread out with “smaller doses over a longer period of time,” adding, “There’s no harm in that, and I believe autism will go way down.” [Salem Radio Networks, The Hugh Hewitt Show, 2/25/15 via]


Trump Claim: Common Core Is “Education From Washington, D.C.” And He Would “Get Rid” Of It As President

Trump Attacks Common Core As “Education From Washington, D.C.” And Promises To Eliminate The State Standards As President. In a campaign video uploaded to Facebook in February, Trump said t, “We’re getting rid of Common Core. We’re taking Common Core, it’s going to be gone. There won’t be education from Washington, D.C. There’ll be education locally.” [, 2/27/16]

Education Experts And Fact Checks Debunk Claim

Fact Checkers And Writers From At Least Six Major Outlets Have Debunked Trump’s Common Core Claims Multiple Times. Multiple fact checks at The Washington Post, the Associated Press,, and PolitiFact have examined Trump’s talking points on Common Core and concluded Trump’s statements about the standards were false or incorrect. Education writers at the Post, The New York Times, and U.S. News & World Report have also tackled Trump’s false statements about Common Core. These fact checks have explained that the Common Core standards were created -- and are adopted -- at the state and local levels and that the standards can’t be controlled or eliminated by the federal government or the president because Common Core is not a federal program. [Media Matters, 5/11/16]

Fox News Has Pushed The Same Common Core Myths For Years

Fox Presidential Debate Pushed Trump’s Common Core Claims. At Fox News’ August GOP presidential debate, Trump attacked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for being “in favor of Common Core, which by the way is a total disaster.” Moderator Bret Baier then stated in a question to Bush that most Republican presidential candidates oppose the state standards as “federal involvement in education.” Baier then asked Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to explain why Bush was “wrong on Common Core.” [The Washington Post, 8/6/15]

Fox Figures Have Long Smeared Common Core As A Forced “National Curriculum.” Fox has repeatedly pushed bogus smears about Common Core, especially about the federal role in developing and implementing the standards. Notably, several Fox figures have falsely alleged the state-driven standards are a “federally controlled” “national curriculum.” [Media Matters, 2/26/14, 7/23/14]