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It’s easy to fact check Trump’s lies. He tells the same ones all the time. - The Washington Post

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I’ve made it my mission to fact-check every word Donald Trump utters as president. That means trying to watch every speech, read every transcript, decipher every tweet. I’ve accidentally established a reputation for using Twitter to point out that he’s lying within seconds of him telling a lie.

People sometimes ask in response how I can blast out these corrections so quickly. But I have no special talent. My secret is that Trump tells the same lies over and over.

On his fifth day in office, Trump baselessly alleged widespread voter fraud. He did the same thing this past week. In his third month in office, Trump falsely claimed that the United States has a $500 billion trade deficit with China. He has said the same thing more than 80 times since.

Listen to this president long enough, and you can almost sense when a lie is coming. If Trump tells a story in which an unnamed person calls him “sir,” it’s probably invented. If Trump claims he has set a record, he probably hasn’t. If Trump cites any number at all, the real number is usually smaller.

Fact-checking Trump is kind of like fact-checking one of those talking dolls programmed to say the same phrases for eternity, except if none of those phrases were true. As any parent who owns a squealing Elmo can tell you, the phrases can get tiresome. I’m sure my Twitter followers get bored when I remind them that Trump wasn’t the president who got the Veterans Choice health-care program passed (Barack Obama signed it into law in 2014 ), that U.S. Steel is not building six, seven, eight or nine new plants (it has recently invested in two existing plants) and that foreign governments don’t force their unsavory citizens into the lottery for U.S. green cards (would-be immigrants enter of their own free will).

I keep saying that foreign governments don’t do this, though, because Trump keeps saying they do. I believe that journalists need to be just as inexhaustible in combating the president’s lying as the president is in telling the lies, no matter how repetitive or pedantic it can sometimes make us seem.

I’m a Canadian reporter, the Washington bureau chief for the Toronto Star. I wasn’t sent here to cover the honesty beat. I do most of the fact-checking on my own time, spending weekday nights and painful Sundays staring at rally transcripts in my pajamas.

My American colleagues have done wonderful investigative and explanatory journalism on Trump. But with some notable exceptions, like The Washington Post’s terrific fact-checking team led by Glenn Kessler, I don’t think U.S. media outlets have been persistent enough in fighting a daily battle for truth itself.

I began making a comprehensive list of Trump’s false claims in September 2016, two years after a wild four years covering infamous Toronto Mayor Rob Ford . Having spent so much time contemplating a homegrown liar, it fast became clear to me that Trump’s serial dishonesty was a central feature of his campaign. But his avalanche of deception was being treated as a sideshow to the real news rather than as the news itself — relegated to reporters’ Twitter feeds rather than featured in the headlines where it belonged.

There has been some incremental improvement in the coverage. But I still see the same troubling failures two years later. Even the best of Trump’s interviewers seldom challenge him when he lies to their faces — even though almost all of the lies have been fact-checked before.

Trump regularly makes 20 to 30 false claims in his rally speeches. But if you watched a network news segment, read an Associated Press article or glanced at the front page of the newspaper in the city that hosted him, you’d typically have no idea that he was so wholly inaccurate.

If a car salesman told you 36 untrue things in 75 minutes, that would probably be the first thing you told your friends about your trip to the dealership. It should have been the first thing we all told our readers about Trump’s August rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

This issue is so urgent because Trump is getting worse and worse. In 2017, he averaged three false claims per day. In 2018, it is about nine per day. In the month leading up to the midterms: a staggering 26 per day. By my count, he’s now at 3,749 false claims since his inauguration. The Post, which tracks both false and misleading claims, has tallied up to 6,420.

Meanwhile, the press continues to blast out the lies unnoted. Two weeks ago, Axios and the AP uncritically tweeted his nonsense about the United States being the only nation to grant birthright citizenship. (They updated after they were criticized.) It happened again Monday, when Trump earned credulous tweets and headlines from ABC, NBC and others for his groundless assertion about “massively infected” ballots in Florida.

There’s nothing especially strategic about much of Trump’s lying; he does it because that is what he has always done. But the president also knows the lies will be broadcast unfiltered to tens of millions of people — by some of the very outlets he disparages as “fake news.”

Many of Trump’s false claims are so transparently wrong that I can fact-check them with a Google search. It’s the comically trivial ones that stand out. I’ll never forget when the Boy Scouts of America got back to me to say that the president of the United States had made up a nonexistent phone call in which the Scouts’ chief executive supposedly told him he had given “the greatest speech that was ever made” to a Scout Jamboree.

For reporting such things, I receive vitriolic emails from some of Trump’s fervent supporters. More interesting to me are the messages from well-meaning skeptics. Why waste your time, people ask, when facts obviously don’t matter anymore?

I disagree. There is a substantial constituency for accurate information about the claims of a president who is, polls suggest, seen as untrustworthy by two-thirds of voters. Even people who generally know that Trump isn’t honest might not know how he is misleading them, and they might want to. The media shouldn’t treat Trump’s devotees as America’s only relevant people.

We also shouldn’t write off all of every devotee. I’ve met Trump voters who insist that he’s honest, even Trump voters who say they like his lying because it bothers “elites” like me. But I’ve also spoken to Trump voters like Bruce Brown of rural Pennsylvania , who gets much of his information from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Soon after I interviewed Brown about last year’s Obamacare debate, he messaged to tell me he’d discovered my list of Trump’s false claims.

I braced for him to say I’d tricked him by sounding friendly, that I too was fake news. Instead, he wrote: “Wow . . . I kind of knew he wasn’t truthful much of the time, but not to the degree of hundreds of lies in such a short period of time. Thanks for opening my eyes.”

Read more from Outlook:

Why Trump repeated an old myth about the Gettysburg Address

Who did Trump borrow his press tactics from? Joe McCarthy.

Trump wants to make the media ‘fair.’ He’s not the first GOP president to try it.

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acdha
3 days ago
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“Trump regularly makes 20 to 30 false claims in his rally speeches. But if you watched a network news segment, read an Associated Press article or glanced at the front page of the newspaper in the city that hosted him, you’d typically have no idea that he was so wholly inaccurate.

If a car salesman told you 36 untrue things in 75 minutes, that would probably be the first thing you told your friends about your trip to the dealership. It should have been the first thing we all told our readers about Trump’s August rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.”
Washington, DC
glenn
3 days ago
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Waterloo, Canada
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The Winning Trick at the World Championships of Magic Might Fry Your Brain Like an Egg

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Watching a six-minute YouTube video is a lot to ask when the internet serves up bite-size snippets of entertainment requiring just a few seconds of your attention. But close-up magician Eric Chien manages to squeeze so many impossible tricks into his World Championships of Magic-winning routine, you actually might wish…

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glenn
7 days ago
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amazingly done well
Waterloo, Canada
jlvanderzwan
2 days ago
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fxer
8 days ago
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Bend, Oregon
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Trump cancels WW1 memorial at U.S. cemetery in France due to rain

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PARIS (Reuters) - President Donald Trump could not attend a commemoration in France for U.S. soldiers and marines killed during World War One on Saturday because rain made it impossible to arrange transport, the White House said.

The last minute cancellation prompted widespread criticism on social media and from some officials in Britain and the United States that Trump had “dishonored” U.S. servicemen.

The president was scheduled to pay tribute at a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, about 85 km (50 miles) east of Paris, with his wife Melania. But light steady rain and a low cloud ceiling prevented his helicopter from traveling to the site.

“(Their attendance) has been canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather,” the White House said in a statement, adding that a delegation lead by Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired general, went instead.

The decision prompted a rash of criticism on Twitter, with Nicholas Soames, a British member of parliament who is a grandson of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, saying that Trump was dishonoring U.S. servicemen.

“They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to the Fallen”, Soames wrote on Twitter.

White House officials said the decision was taken due to the weather and cited security concerns in hastily arranging a motorcade. Similar concerns prevented Trump from reaching the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea a year ago when foggy weather prevented his helicopter from landing.

Ben Rhodes, who served as deputy national security adviser for strategic communications under President Barack Obama, said the excuse about the inclement weather did not stand up.

“I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years,” he wrote on Twitter. “There is always a rain option. Always.”

Despite the light rain, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a moving ceremony in Compiegne, northeast of Paris, to mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the World War One armistice.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended his own ceremony to pay tribute to Canadian troops killed at Vimy Ridge, on the battlefields of northeastern France.

Around 70 leaders, including Trump, are scheduled to gather at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Sunday morning to mark the commemoration of the centenary of the end of the war, when some 10 million soldiers were killed during four years of grinding conflict.

It was not clear what Trump decided to do instead of attending the cemetery. The White House said he was at the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Paris. During that time he sent a tweet wishing a “Happy 243rd Birthday” to the U.S. Marine Corps.

The president is scheduled to take part in a ceremony at the Suresnes American Cemetery to the west of Paris on Sunday afternoon, when he is expected to make formal remarks.

Additional reporting by Kate Holton and Steve Holland; Writing by Luke Baker; Editing by Clelia Oziel

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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glenn
9 days ago
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“I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years,” he wrote on Twitter. “There is always a rain option. Always.”
Waterloo, Canada
acdha
9 days ago
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🔥 “Despite the light rain, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a moving ceremony”
Washington, DC
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Israel Will Ban Gasoline & Diesel Vehicles After 2030

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Israel is considering a ban on the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles after 2030 as a way of taking meaningful action to reduce carbon emissions after the latest UN climate change report.
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glenn
9 days ago
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Waterloo, Canada
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I KNOW WHY YOU'RE SAD.

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On paper, Tuesday was a good day for Democrats. They took the House for the first time in eight years. Several important Governorships (in advance of post-Census 2020 redistricting battles) were won. Notably vile Republicans like Kris Kobach, Scott Walker, and Dana Rohrabacher lost. The high-visibility Senate races Democrats lost (Missouri, Tennessee) were pipe dreams anyway. You already knew that Florida sucks, hard. So you're not sad because "The Democrats did badly."

You're also not sad because Beto lost, or Andrew Gillum lost, or any other single candidate who got people excited this year fell short. They're gonna be fine. They will be back. You haven't seen the last of any of them. Winning a Senate race in Texas was never more than a long shot. Gillum had a realistic chance, but once again: It's Florida.

No, you're sad for the same reason you were so sad Wednesday morning after the 2016 Election. You're sad because the results confirm that half of the electorate – a group that includes family, neighbors, friends, random fellow citizens – looked at the last two years and declared this is pretty much what they want. You're sad because any Republican getting more than 1 vote in this election, let alone a majority of votes, forces us to recognize that a lot of this country is A-OK with undisguised white supremacy. You're sad because once again you have been slapped across the face with the reality that a lot of Americans are, at their core, a lost cause. Willfully ignorant. Unpersuadable. Terrible people. Assholes, even.

You were hoping that the whole country would somehow restore your faith in humanity and basic common decency by making a bold statement, trashing Republicans everywhere and across the board. You wanted some indication that if you campaigned hard enough, rednecks and white collar bloodless types alike could be made to see the light that perhaps the levers of power are not best entrusted to the absolute worst people that can be dredged up from Internet comment sections running on platforms of xenophobia, nihilism, and racism. In short, you wanted to see some evidence that corruption, venality, bigotry, and proud ignorance are deal-breakers for the vast majority of Americans.

And now you're sad because it's obvious that they aren't. Even where horrible Republicans like Walker or Kobach lost, they didn't lose by much.

So I get it. It's depressing. There's no amount of positives that can take away the nagging feeling that lots and lots of people in this country are just…garbage. They're garbage human beings just like the president they adore. These people are not one conversation, one fact-check, and one charismatic young Democratic candidate away from seeing the light. They're reactionary, mean, ignorant, uninteresting in becoming less ignorant, and vindictive. They hate you and they will vote for monsters to prove it.

Remember this feeling. Remember it every time someone tells you that the key to moving forward is to reach across the aisle, show the fine art of decorum in practice, and chat with right-wingers to find out what makes them tick. Remember the nagging sadness you feel looking at these almost entirely positive results; it will be your reminder that the only way to beat this thing is to outwork, outfight, and out-organize these people. They are not going to be won over and they will continue to prove that to you every chance they get.

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lelandpaul
12 days ago
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Oh, this is so hard for me. On the one hand, the piece is dead right: This is exactly what I'm feeling today.

On the other: I fundamentally believe people are redeemable and that we shouldn't write them off. (That's sort of core to Christianity...)

I don't know how to reconcile these two things.
San Francisco, CA
sirshannon
12 days ago
You can’t redeem the unwilling.
lelandpaul
11 days ago
But does that give you the right to stop giving them opportunities to redeem themselves?
sirshannon
9 days ago
Yes. You’re not powerful enough to stop someone from redeeming themselves any more than you are powerful enough to make them redeem themselves. As long as you’re not actively working to prevent them from doing the right thing, you’re good.
glenn
12 days ago
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Waterloo, Canada
popular
12 days ago
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acdha
12 days ago
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Washington, DC
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5 public comments
zwol
12 days ago
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This seems like the right place to tell the story of the dude who drove me to the airport the other day. His other job, apparently, was owning a gun store, and when talking about guns his opinions were informed and reasonable , e.g. "banning bump stocks won't stop school shootings, but we should require gun owners to go through safety training and have proper gun safes," ok, I can see that. But then the conversation took a hard right turn into Fox News conspiracy land: all politicians are corrupt, Planned Parenthood spends 10x as much money on lobbying as the NRA, etc. etc. etc. and I just didn't know what to say.
Pittsburgh, PA
tdarby
12 days ago
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Yes.
Baltimore, MD
rocketo
12 days ago
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How many words fit on a sampler? I don’t want to get this as a tattoo.

“Remember this feeling. Remember it every time someone tells you that the key to moving forward is to reach across the aisle, show the fine art of decorum in practice, and chat with right-wingers to find out what makes them tick. Remember the nagging sadness you feel looking at these almost entirely positive results; it will be your reminder that the only way to beat this thing is to outwork, outfight, and out-organize these people. They are not going to be won over and they will continue to prove that to you every chance they get.”
seattle, wa
notadoctor
12 days ago
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“They are not going to be won over and they will continue to prove that to you every chance they get.”
Oakland, CA
cjmcnamara
13 days ago
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gin and tacos absolutely spot on once again

Watching a Teen Music Star Grow Up

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Vanity Fair interviewed singer/songwriter Billie Eilish last October just as her career was taking off. A year later, they repeated the interview with her, now 16 years old, using the same questions to see what had changed — 2017: 257K followers on Insta, playing to crowds of 500 people. 2018: 6.3 million Insta followers, crowds of 40,000+. The result is really affecting, particularly on questions like “Do you feel pressure?” where the difference in answers is greatest.

Eilish’s situation is extreme, but some version of this is playing out with all of America’s youth right now, dealing with how to be in the world when interacting with thousands or even hundreds of thousands or millions of other people, far beyond Dunbar’s number, is increasingly commonplace. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have something in my eye and who’s playing that Cat’s in the Cradle song anyway?!

Tags: Billie Eilish   crying at work   interviews   music   video
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jhamill
10 days ago
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A year does not equal growing up; older and wiser, yes, but not grown up. They should do this every year for 5 or 10 years to see the big differences that growing up does to people.
California
glenn
12 days ago
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Waterloo, Canada
wmorrell
12 days ago
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