[DIGEST: CNN, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Politico, Washington Post]
Four news organizations came to a similar conclusion ahead of tonight's presidential debate: Donald Trump lies more often than Hillary Clinton. In a statement to ABC News, Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway said she doesn't "appreciate campaigns thinking it is the job of the media to go and be these virtual fact-checkers and that these debate moderators should somehow do their bidding."
Tonight's presidential debate will begin at 9 EST across all major cable and broadcast networks including CNN, Fox News and ABC.
New York Times(September 24, "A Week of Whoppers")
"All politicians bend the truth to fit their purposes, including Hillary Clinton. But Donald J. Trump has unleashed a blizzard of falsehoods, exaggerations and outright lies in the general election, peppering his speeches, interviews and Twitter posts with untruths so frequent that they can seem flighty or random — even compulsive.
However, a closer examination, over the course of a week, revealed an unmistakable pattern: Virtually all of Mr. Trump’s falsehoods directly bolstered a powerful and self-aggrandizing narrative depicting him as a heroic savior for a nation menaced from every direction."
The New York Times tracked all of Trump's statements between September 15 and September 21. Their analysis revealed that "his version of reality allows for few, if any, flaws in himself." In a Fox News interview on September 15, Trump said that a supportive crowd in Flint, Michigan, yelled "Let him speak!" when the Rev. Faith Green-Timmons asked him not to give a political speech in a church. A video of Trump at the church that day shows there were no such chants.
Donald Trump and The Rev. Faith Green-Timmons. (Credit: Source.)
In another Fox News interview on September 18, he said any supportive remarks he made about the Iraq war came "long before" the war began. However, fact checkers from Buzzfeed and Politifact were the first to unearth a transcript from Trump’s 2002 appearance on The Howard Stern Show in which Trump expressed support for the war while Congress debated whether to authorize military action. Trump has also said that he publicly opposed the Iraq war in an Esquire interview "pretty quickly after the war started." This is also untrue: The Esquire interview appeared in August 2004, a year-and-a-half after the war began.
Trump also claimed that "everybody agrees" with his positions on immigration (polls indicate most Americans oppose Trump's border wall proposal), that he was "never a fan" of Colin Powell (Trump praised Powell in his book, The America We Deserve) and that the presidential debate moderators "are all Democrats" (only one, Chris Wallace, of Fox News, is a registered Democrat).
Los Angeles Times (September 25, "Scope of Trump's Falsehoods Unprecedented for a Modern Presidential Candidate")
Never in modern presidential politics has a major candidate made false statements as routinely as Trump has...
Still, Trump’s pattern of saying things that are provably false has no doubt contributed to his high unfavorable ratings. It also has forced journalists to grapple with how aggressive they should be in correcting candidates’ inaccurate statements, particularly in the presidential debates that start Monday.
The Los Angeles Times, among other things, countered Trump's claim that he opposed US involvement to depose Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Journalists around the country leveled heated criticism at NBC’s Matt Lauer after he failed to fact-check Trump on his claim during Trump’s appearance on Lauer’s Commander-in-Chief Forum. At the time, Trump said that Hillary Clinton “made a terrible mistake in Libya" and suggested he would have
made a different decision. But in a video blog about Libya in 2011, Trump said, “Gaddafi in Libya is killing thousands of people, nobody knows how bad it is, and we’re sitting around, we have soldiers all [around] the Middle East, and we’re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage… Now we should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick.”
Donald Trump and Matt Lauer during the Commander-in-Chief Forum. (Credit: Source.)
Republican strategist Rob Stutzman, who worked against Trump in the primaries, believes Trump's staunchest supporters are willing to overlook his dishonesty so long as he maintains his anti-establishment credentials.“It gives him not only license, but incentive to spin fantasy, because no one expects him to tell the truth,” he said.“They believe they’re getting lied to constantly, so if their hero tells lies in order to strike back, they don’t care.”
Politico (September 25, "Donald Trump’s Week of Misrepresentations, Exaggerations and Half-Truths")
We subjected every statement made by both the Republican and Democratic candidates — in speeches, in interviews and on Twitter — to our magazine’s rigorous fact-checking process. The conclusion is inescapable: Trump’s mishandling of facts and propensity for exaggeration so greatly exceed Clinton’s as to make the comparison almost ludicrous.
Though few statements match the audacity of his statement about his role in questioning Obama’s citizenship, Trump has built a cottage industry around stretching the truth. According to POLITICO’s five-day analysis, Trump averaged about one falsehood every three minutes and 15 seconds over nearly five hours of remarks.
In raw numbers, that’s 87 erroneous statements in five days.
Politico's fact checkers found that Trump often misrepresents his stance on the war in Iraq and that he gave conflicting statements about his policy on providing health care to the poor, and that he exaggerated his primary victories as well as his leads in the polls. For example, Trump has claimed that his polls numbers among African Americans are "high." (He said this in a speech in North Carolina on September 20 and repeated himself in Ohio on September 21.) In fact, polls show he has failed to win support from the majority of African Americans. Trump has said that his economic plan of "tax relief, regulatory relief, energy reform and trade reform — will create at least 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years, assuming an average growth rate of 3.5 percent" is, according to another analysis, exaggerated as well as optimistic.
By contrast, Politico's analysis of Hillary Clinton found that her "relationship to the truth is solid," even if she mischaracterizes herself. Their five-day study suggests that in just over 90 minutes of remarks over the last week, she averaged "one falsehood every 12 minutes."
Washington Post (September 24, "Trump’s Week Reveals Bleak View, Dubious Statements in ‘Alternative Universe'")
...Trump has nevertheless revealed himself to be a candidate who at times seems uniquely undeterred by facts.
An examination by The Washington Post of one week of Trump’s speeches, tweets and interviews shows a candidate who not only continues to rely heavily on thinly sourced or entirely unsubstantiated claims but also uses them to paint a strikingly bleak portrait of an impoverished America, overrun by illegal immigrants, criminals and terrorists — all designed to set up his theme that he is specially suited to “make America great again."
At a rally in Fort Myers, Florida, last Monday, Trump said Hillary Clinton had “allowed thousands of criminal aliens to be released into our communities" and said law enforcement has no way to vet an influx of Syrian immigrants. The United States, he said, “makes no real attempt to determine the views of the people entering.” There is no evidence for either claim. Later that day, Trump denied his statements were meant to target Muslims: "You go in to profile people that maybe look suspicious. I didn’t say they were Muslims," he said.
Brandon W. Lenoir, a High Point University professor of political communications and campaign veteran, explained why he believes Trump's supporters have ignored fact checks. “When new information comes in, if it is consistent with your world view or your opinion of that particular candidate, you let it in; if it is inconsistent, you block it out,” Lenoir said. “So what happens is, people who have already pledged their allegiance to Trump, when they hear this information, they basically discount it and say, ‘Oh, that’s just the other side trying to break him down.’”