Ninety- One Percent of Donald Trump’s Statements are Not True

If you are politically engaged, you will note that Hillary Clinton is typically referred to as the most untrustworthy candidate in the presidential race. However, although many Republicans do not care, Donald Trump factually speaking is the most dishonest candidate since fact checking began, 120 years ago. As of the date of this posting, Donald Trump has a rating indicating that 91% of everything he says is not truthful. Listed below is a brief description of the three major fact checking organizations. This page will be updated periodically.  5-27-2016

There are three major fact checking organizations.

  1. FactCheck.org

    This project of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center touts itself as a “nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocate for voters.” Its roots date to 2003 when Brooks Jackson, a journalist who covered Washington and national politics for more than three decades, joined the APPC and started FactCheck.org within the year. Jackson’s staff includes the director of the center, as well as professors and journalists who respond to reader questions about statements they’ve heard as part of its “Ask FactCheck” section. It also highlights some facts in its weekly mailbag, touts featured articles and has a “wire” which analyzes key claims. It has also dedicated a section, the “Viral Spiral” to those false or misleading rumors that have gone viral on the web in the form of chain emails or statements made in blogs that have spread like wildfire. Jackson himself originated the “adwatch” and “fact check” type of stories, beginning with the 1992 presidential election and during his time with CNN. He further made a name for himself in this investigative environment by securing national awards with the Associated Press and theWall Street Journal for his in-depth reportage, according to FactCheck. From listosaur.com

    Fact Checking Criteria:

    FactCheck.org does not use an official rating system. It is unique among the three major fact-checking organizations in the United States for this reason. Jackson addressed the issue in a December 2012 article titled “Firefighters, Fact-Checking and American Journalism.” He called rating systems “inflexible.” He said:

    Rating statements with devices such as ‘truth-o-meters’ or ‘Pinocchios’ are popular with readers, and successful attention-grabbers. But such ratings are by their nature subjective — the difference between one or two ‘Pinocchios’ is a matter of personal judgment, and debatable. Some statements are clearly true, and some provably false, but there’s no agreed method for determining the precise degree of mendacity in any statement that falls somewhere in between.

    Jackson echoed this in an April 2015 article, saying, “We consider [rating systems] inherently subjective, and find that many political claims don’t fit neatly into inflexible categories.”

    While FactCheck.org writers usually assert whether they found a statement to be true, false or somewhere in between, they often qualify the ruling with additional context. Jackson cited an example from PolitiFact and compared it to how FactCheck.org would have handled the claim:

    A senator who said a ‘majority’ of Americans are conservative was rated ‘mostly true’ (and later ‘half true’) even though the statement was false. The story cited a poll showing only 40 percent of Americans rated themselves conservative. That’s more than said they were moderate (35 percent) or liberal (21 percent) but still far from a majority. The senator had a point, but stated it incorrectly, thereby exaggerating. A simple ‘truth-o-meter’ had no suitable category for that. Our approach would have been to say that it was false. But we would also note that the senator would have been correct to say Americans are more likely to call themselves conservative than moderate, or liberal, when given those three choices.[

    In an American Press Institute “Fact-Checking Project” study, this kind of approach to claim evaluation is described as “a nuanced contextual analysis of the contested claim.” The study added, “These fact checks may refute egregious claims in clear, decisive language, announcing in the headline or the first sentence that a speaker has distorted the truth. But they stop short of assessing statements in any systematic fashion that would allow different claims or speakers to be compared.”[18] FactCheck.org’s method of claim evaluation is, therefore, fluid and encourages readers to examine claims and those who make them on a case-by-case basis. From ballotpedia.org


  2. PolitiFact.com

    Chances are, this project of the Tampa Bay Times is the first fact-checking site that comes to mind. While not the “granddaddy of ’em all,” the five-year-old undertaking started by veteran political reporter and Times D.C. bureau chief, Bill Adair, has already made quite a name for itself — seizing a Pulitzer and boasting some half a million unique visitors each month. PolitiFact.com has differentiated itself, in part, from others on this list with its in-your-face verbiage and clever layout; after all, it includes a “Truth-O-Meter” to rate politicians’ statements in the following categories: True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False and “Pants on Fire” — with the last and worst of the ratings set aside only for those statements that are not only inaccurate but preposterous. Its “Flip-O-Meter” is what it sounds like — rating public officials on their consistency when it comes to their “evolving” stances on issues like abortion, gay marriage, tax cuts and health reform as either “No Flip” (staying true to his or her word) “Half Flip” (partial change of position, inconsistent statements) or “Full Flop” (complete reversal of opinions, leading many to question: “Is this the same person I voted for?”). PolitiFact, which employs reporters and editors with the Times to find the truth in statements in their original form — not those paraphrased or garnered from secondary sources — has also rolled out a special “Obameter” and “GOP Pledge-O-Meter” to scout statements made by both parties as we approach election day, keeping score of how many promises by the administration and Republican Congressional leaders alike were kept, how many fell victim to compromise and how many were broken, as well as those stalled or in progress.  From listosaur.com

    Fact Checking Criteria:

    Is the statement rooted in a fact that is verifiable? We don’t check opinions, and we recognize that in the world of speechmaking and political rhetoric, there is license for hyperbole.                               Is the statement leaving a particular impression that may be misleading?                                           Is the statement significant? We avoid minor ‘gotchas’ on claims that obviously represent a slip of the tongue.                                                                                                                                                         Is the statement likely to be passed on and repeated by others?                                                   Would a typical person hear or read the statement and wonder: Is that true?


    3. Washington Post’s The Fact Checker

    The Fact Checker is actually a blog started by longtime Post foreign correspondent and New America contributor, Michael Dobbs, in 2007. Now run by veteran Post diplomatic journalist Glenn Kessler, it awards politicians for their truthfulness with a “Gepetto” and slams their most outrageous falsehoods on a scale of one to four “Pinocchios.” The multi-media blog boasting the subhead “Checking the truth behind the political rhetoric,” includes written transcripts of broadcast interviews, as well as analysis behind the transcripts, either debunking or substantiating the comments made in the interviews. Fact Checker also devotes full sections to President Barack Obama, GOP candidates, political ads, Congress and key issues, including Medicare, budget cuts, welfare reform and “dueling” job growth statistics. Dobbs notes that the modern fact-checking movement dates back some 30 years, when President Ronald Reagan famously asserted: “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles.” From listosaur.com

    Fact Checking Criteria:

    Like PolitiFact, the Post’s Fact Checker uses a rating system. It is based on Pinocchio, the title character of the children’s story, whose nose grew longer with each lie he told. For false claims, it assigns up to four Pinocchios to a statement depending on how untrue the claim is determined to be. Kessler provides a guide to the Pinocchio system in his “About the Fact Checker” article. It can be seen below.[19]

    A Pinocchio head

    • One Pinocchio: “Some shading of the facts. Selective telling of the truth. Some omissions and exaggerations, but no outright falsehoods. (You could view this as ‘mostly true.’)”
    • Two Pinocchios: “Significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily. A politician can create a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people.”
    • Three Pinocchios: “Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”
    • Four Pinocchios: “Whoppers.”