The most well-liked reality checks of 2018


As soon as once more, we current an inventory of our hottest reality checks of the previous 12 months.

It’s a prime 10 record, however we even have 11 entries as a result of two reality checks about newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) ended up in a tie for 10th place.

Six of the most-read reality checks had been about President Trump, which shouldn’t be a shock given how he dominates the information. In compiling the highest 10 record, we targeted on full reality checks of particular claims. Thus we didn’t embrace roundups of speeches or bulletins on this record, but when we had, our dissection of the president’s op-ed for USA In the present day on Medicare would have made the lower. Our announcement of a brand new class, the Bottomless Pinocchio, additionally would have appeared within the prime 10 record.

When it comes to reader curiosity, it was but once more a banner 12 months for the Truth Checker, particularly for our movies, which have attracted an unlimited and rising viewers. Thus we additionally listed 5 of our hottest movies, in addition to the highest reality checks that had been printed in a 12 months earlier than 2017.

(In the meantime, we’re going to attempt to take a wanted break earlier than the brand new 12 months. We are going to publish an replace of our database of Trump’s false and deceptive claims earlier than 12 months’s finish, however apart from that, we don’t plan any reality checks. Solely one thing actually dramatic will trigger us to vary our plans.)

Click on on the headline if you wish to learn the total column.

1. The details about Trump’s coverage of separating households on the border

Trump and administration officers mentioned U.S. legal guidelines or courtroom rulings pressured them to separate households caught attempting to illegally cross the southern border. Officers would have you ever imagine their palms are tied. Besides they aren’t.

In April 2018, then-Legal professional Basic Jeff Periods rolled out a zero-tolerance coverage that orders Division of Homeland Safety officers to refer any grownup “believed to have dedicated any crime, together with unlawful entry,” for prosecution. Unlawful entry is a misdemeanor for first-time offenders, and conviction is grounds for deportation. The federal government, nevertheless, can also be required to position kids with relations every time doable, and if that isn’t doable, try to position them in foster care.

In different phrases, kids undergo a course of and are finally positioned with sponsors within the nation, whereas their dad and mom are prosecuted and probably deported. That is all as a result of the Trump administration, beneath its zero-tolerance coverage, is selecting to prosecute border-crossing adults for any offense, one thing earlier administrations have declined to do. (This reality examine earned the most important readership in The Truth Checker’s 11-year historical past.)

4 Pinocchios

2. Nearly all the pieces you’ve examine Sen. Warren’s DNA take a look at is unsuitable

After being egged on by Trump, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) launched the outcomes of a DNA take a look at Oct. 15 that indicated she had a Native American ancestor. The outcomes — which recognized Native American DNA from six to 10 generations in the past — had been instantly misinterpreted. Quickly it was reported that Warren had much less Native American DNA than the common European American.

However it seems reporters and politicians should not excellent at understanding genetics. So we set the report straight, after reviewing the leads to element and consulting with genetics specialists.

As one would possibly count on, the overwhelming majority of Warren’s DNA — 95 % — indicated European ancestors. However 5 genetic segments had been recognized, with 99 % confidence, as being related to Native American ancestry. Ancestors don’t contribute genetic materials equally over time. Opposite to the preliminary reporting, the proportion of Native American DNA in her genome doesn’t shrink as you return generations. There might be one particular person within the sixth era — residing across the mid-1800s, which is analogous to Warren household lore — or probably a dozen or extra ancestors again to the 10th era, which might be about 250 years in the past. Her outcomes are according to a single ancestor, nevertheless.

Backside line: Warren’s Native American DNA, as recognized within the take a look at, is probably not giant, but it surely’s unsuitable to say it’s as little as 1/1,024th or that it’s lower than the common European American.

3. As soon as once more, ‘faux information’ decried by Trump seems to be true

There have been a number of cases during which the president or his surrogates have flatly denied one thing — solely to have that denial contradicted weeks or months later by new paperwork or statements. Typically, by then the media protection has moved on to a brand new controversy.

So The Truth Checker checked out 4 occasions when both the administration admitted or official data confirmed the preliminary denial was false: Trump knew nothing about Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal or payoffs; the president had no function in Donald Trump Jr.’s assertion on the Russia assembly; Michael Flynn didn’t focus on sanctions with the Russians; the president didn’t give labeled info to Russia.

4. Truth-checking Invoice Clinton’s meltdown on NBC’s ‘In the present day’ present

The previous president, challenged about how his sexual transgressions look within the #MeToo world, responded with a protection that confused how a lot he had performed for ladies as a politician. He bragged girls had been overrepresented in his workplace “for his or her share of the bar” when he was lawyer common. That’s a weak argument contemplating between 1918 and 1970, solely 164 girls gained Arkansas legislation licenses. He touted the truth that he “had a sexual harassment coverage when [he] was governor within the ’80s.” Besides, Clinton wasn’t setting an instance with the coverage; his workplace was merely carried out new federal pointers.

Then, whereas saying “no one believes I acquired out of [the Lewinsky scandal] at no cost,” he famous that he left the White Home “$16 million in debt.” He didn’t. He did have giant authorized money owed, maybe a number of million as he as soon as mentioned, however $16 million is a transparent exaggeration. Regardless, the Clintons had been capable of dig themselves out of that gap pretty shortly.

Three Pinocchios

5. Truth-checking Trump’s error-filled tweetstorm on the Russia investigation

In a February tweetstorm that began late on a Saturday and continued into Sunday morning, the president railed in opposition to the investigation into Russian interference within the 2016 election.

We supplied a information to Trump’s many misstatements and deceptive claims on this Twitter barrage, together with that he “by no means mentioned Russia didn’t meddle,” that the FBI is “spending an excessive amount of time attempting to show Russian collusion” and that “Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems.”

6. Not simply deceptive. Not simply false. A lie.

The primary denial that Trump knew about hush-money funds to silence girls got here 4 days earlier than he was elected president, when marketing campaign press secretary Hope Hicks mentioned, with out hedging, “We have now no information of any of this.”

The second got here in January of this 12 months, when then-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen mentioned the allegations had been “outlandish.” By March, two of the president’s spokespersons — Raj Shah and Sarah Sanders — mentioned publicly that Trump denied all of the allegations and any funds. Even Cohen’s lawyer, David Schwartz, acquired in on the motion, saying the president “was not conscious of any of it.”

In April, Trump lastly weighed in, answering a query about whether or not he knew a couple of cost to porn star Stephanie Clifford, who makes use of the stage title Stormy Daniels, with a flat “no.”

The Truth Checker reviewed the indeniable proof that Trump and his allies had been intentionally dishonest at each flip of their statements relating to funds to Daniels and Playboy mannequin Karen McDougal. For the primary time, we labeled a politician’s assertion a lie.

7. What’s the immigration standing of Melania Trump’s dad and mom?

Because the congressional debate over immigration ramped up, Trump usually railed in opposition to “chain migration,” together with the granting of immigration visas to oldsters of U.S. residents. This left a number of readers questioning how, precisely, the president’s in-laws had been within the nation. First girl Melania Trump is, in spite of everything, an immigrant, and if she sponsored their visas, Trump’s rhetoric can be hypocritical.

Based on numerous information stories, the primary girl’s dad and mom had been residing in the US for at the least a 12 months and possibly longer — probably for the reason that mid-2000s. Immigration specialists mentioned there have been 4 doable explanations: They’d authorized everlasting residence, an prolonged vacationer visa, parole or a pupil visa. Essentially the most logical chance (and, it seems, the right one) can also be probably the most problematic contemplating the president’s coverage place — they had been authorized everlasting residents. Their lawyer declined to inform The Washington Publish how or once they gained their inexperienced playing cards.

In August, they turned U.S. residents.

8. President Trump publicizes a significant U.S. Metal growth that isn’t occurring

Trump introduced the chief govt of U.S. Metal instructed him the corporate was opening six new main amenities. As a result of it’s a publicly traded firm, it’s alleged to disclose any materially necessary info. This could have been big information.

The president has a behavior of citing conversations that didn’t happen fairly the best way he describes them. One would suppose this may be pretty straightforward to clear up however neither the White Home nor the chief govt of U.S. Metal responded to inquiries. A spokeswoman for the corporate famous that each one main bulletins had been posted on-line. There was no announcement of six new amenities.

Translation: The president is unsuitable, however U.S. Metal was afraid to say that out loud, even after Trump stored making the declare and inflating it to eight or 9 new amenities. Ultimately, Trump mentioned it sufficient occasions that it ended up on our record of Bottomless Pinocchios.

4 Pinocchios

9. Beto O’Rourke’s false declare that he didn’t depart scene of DWI

Throughout a debate along with his rival, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.) was requested point-blank a couple of drunken-driving incident when he was 26: Did he attempt to depart the scene of the crash?

Texas newspapers had obtained police stories of the collision and reported that O’Rourke had performed so. O’Rourke flatly denied attempting to go away the scene of the crash, however that’s contradicted by a witness assertion within the police stories, which additionally mentioned O’Rourke was so drunk that he may barely get out of the automobile with out falling. Given his blood alcohol content material on the time of the crash, O’Rourke’s reminiscence 20 years after the actual fact isn’t practically as credible because the police stories written simply hours after the crash. (In an announcement after the actual fact examine appeared, O’Rourke claimed he had reached out to the passenger in his automobile — whom he didn’t establish — and he or she mentioned he didn’t attempt to flee.)

4 Pinocchios

10. Truth-checking Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s media blitz

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old self-described “democratic socialist” who received a seat in Congress, got here beneath hearth dismissing considerations in regards to the anticipated prices of her proposals and providing too-glib solutions. This reality examine supplied a dissection of a few of her eyebrow-raising claims, together with: “Unemployment is low as a result of everybody has two jobs. ICE is required to fill 34,000 beds with detainees each single night time. The upper-middle class doesn’t exist anymore in America. The rationale that the Supreme Court docket upheld the Reasonably priced Care Act is as a result of they dominated that every of those month-to-month funds that on a regular basis American make is a tax.”

10. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s $21 trillion mistake

Ocasio-Cortez, in a December tweet, mentioned that increasing Medicare to individuals beneath 65, referred to as Medicare-for-all, might be paid for partly with $21 trillion in “Pentagon accounting errors.” As she put it, “66% of Medicare-for-all may have been funded already by the Pentagon.”

However the $21 trillion isn’t one large pot of dormant cash accumulating mud someplace. It’s the sum of all transactions — each inflows and outflows — for which the Protection Division didn’t have sufficient documentation.

We put $21 trillion in context. All the nationwide debt is $21.Eight trillion. Based on the Congressional Funds Workplace, whole protection spending from 1998 to 2015 was practically $9 trillion. The CBO estimates $7 trillion in protection spending from 2019 to 2028. In different phrases, utterly defunding the navy for the subsequent decade would yield solely one-fifth of $32 trillion, the frequent estimate of the 10-year value for single-payer well being care. That’s a significantly better method of illustrating the price of Medicare-for-all.

4 Pinocchios

High movies

A reality: Extra individuals watch our movies than learn our reality checks. Movies have given us a distinct choice to inform notably visible and sophisticated tales in new methods. Movies updating readers on our database of Trump’s false or deceptive claims stay wildly standard. Lots of the movies above had been massively standard. Those listed under additionally ranked among the many prime performers.

1. Is there a legislation that requires households to be separated on the border?

2. Are there ’300 criminals’ within the caravan?

3. Truth-checking President Trump’s speech to the U.N. Basic Meeting

4. Has Brett M. Kavanaugh been sincere about his alcohol consumption?

5. Did greater than 4,000 individuals die in Puerto Rico because of Hurricane Maria?

High 5 columns in 2018 — that had been printed earlier than 2018

Many readers uncover previous reality checks when looking out the Web for info. Right here’s an inventory of reality checks that ranked among the many prime 75 in 2018 — despite the fact that they had been first printed in 2017, 2016 and even 2015.

1. Evaluating the ‘Trump financial system’ to the ‘Obama financial system’ (Dec. 14, 2017)

2. Did the Clinton Basis pay for Chelsea’s marriage ceremony? (Jan. 4, 2017)

3. Did the Clinton Basis increase ‘tons of of thousands and thousands of {dollars}’ for a hospital in Haiti that was by no means constructed? (June 13, 2016)

4. For Deliberate Parenthood abortion stats, ‘Three %’ and ’94 %’ are each deceptive (Aug. 12, 2015)

5. Does a metropolis with the ‘hardest gun legal guidelines’ find yourself with ‘worst gun violence’? (Oct. 17, 2017)

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