Fact-checking Trump’s Fake News Awards


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Thursday’s dispatch: Fake News Awards — fact-checked

President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening finally debuted his much anticipated “Fake News Awards” for 2017. Mic unfortunately did not make the list, but, you know, it’s an honor just to be nominated.

It might seem odd that, two and a half weeks into 2018, Trump would release what is effectively a listicle of his favorite news flubs from the year before, complete with several questionable formatting choices. It’s also more than a little embarrassing for Trump when the link to his “Fake News Awards” went down immediately after he tweeted it out, giving eager viewers a “404 error.”

After listing 11 reporting mistakes made by media outlets in 2017, Trump provided a list of 10 things his administration did which he thought the media should have been reporting on over the past year. So, in deference to our president, here’s our coverage of his 10 important news stories.

1. The economy has created nearly 2 million jobs and gained over $8 trillion in wealth since Trump’s inauguration.

This is largely true, but hard to credit Trump with. As PolitiFact reported in September, job growth under Trump has largely remained on the same growth track since 2011. Meanwhile, wage growth remains relatively low, and income and wealth inequality remain considerably high — a reality that isn’t likely to change under Trump’s new tax law.

2. African-Americans and Hispanics are enjoying the lowest unemployment rate in recorded history.

This too is technically true, but also an extension of trends that began before Trump took office. Trump’s approval rating with black and Latinos remains considerably low.

3. Trump signed historic tax cuts and relief for hardworking Americans not seen since President Reagan.

I guess this one really depends on how you define “hardworking Americans.” As many news outlets pointed out during the tax debate, the vast majority of the gains under Trump’s tax bill will go to the wealthiest Americans and corporations and raise taxes on middle-class families in high-tax blue states.

4. Trump’s plan to cut regulations has exceeded “2 out for every 1 in” mandate, issuing 22 deregulatory actions for every one new regulatory action.

This particular statistic is hard to verify, and depends on what counts as a regulation — does increased regulations on who gets to enter or live in the country count? What seems more important is the considerable impact that rolling back regulations on everything from consumer protection to financial services to the environment have had. These rollbacks have been denounced by everyone from environmental groups to state attorneys general, and could have considerable unintended consequences well beyond Trump’s presidency. For instance, it was recently reported that the Environmental Protection Agency is considering rolling back regulations to allow children to handle dangerous chemicals.

5. The president has unleashed an American energy boom by ending Obama-era regulations, approving the Keystone pipeline, auctioning off millions of new acres for energy exploration, and opening up ANWR.

Trump has indeed opened up considerable swaths of the nation’s protected lands and coasts for resource extraction in ways that conservative states and politicians disapprove of. Trump’s decision to shrink two major federal monuments in Utah and open them up for resource extraction was not widely supported by residents of the conservative state. And Trump’s recent decision to allow offshore drilling along America’s coast drew such an outcry from Florida’s Republican governor that the administration partially reversed its decision and offered a special carveout for the sunshine state.

6. ISIS is in retreat, having been crushed in Iraq and Syria.

Yes, ISIS is in retreat, but reports of its defeat have been considerably exaggerated, with the group cultivating deep roots in Sunni parts of Iraq. And as for Syria, the State Department just Wednesday called for an indefinite military presence in the war-torn country.

7. Trump followed through on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and instructed the State Department to begin to relocate the embassy.

He sure did — and may have precipitated an international crisis in the process. Trump’s decision was widely condemned by the international community and Palestinians are on the verge of rejecting the Oslo Accord because of Trump’s decision, a considerable step back in the peace process.

8. With Trump’s encouragement, more member nations are paying their fair share for the common defense in the NATO alliance.

NATO countries have agreed to increase their military spending, but that agreement was inked in 2014. And as of May, only five member nations were meeting their target.

9. Signed the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act to allow senior officials in the VA to fire failing employees and establishes safeguards to protect whistleblowers.

OK, we’ll give him that one.

10. Trump kept his promise and appointed Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump did, in fact, appoint a conservative justice to the Supreme Court after Senate Republicans effectively stole the seat from President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. It’s hard to argue that the “Fake News Media” did not cover this at the time.

Thursday in Trump’s America:

Trump subtweets his chief of staff over the wall: Trump tweeted Thursday morning, “The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it. Parts will be, of necessity, see through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection such as mountains, wastelands or tough rivers or water.”

The tweet appears to be a response to a Washington Post report that chief of staff John Kelly called some of Trump’s campaign promises on immigration and the wall “uninformed” in a meeting with with Democratic lawmakers.

Shutdown looks more likely: The Hill reported that most Senate Democrats plan to hold the line and not vote for a budget deal that does not include protections for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. That means that Washington is poised for a government shutdown in the coming days.

Republicans try to blame Democrats for lapsed CHIP funding: Republicans are using their latest budget proposal to pin the blame on Democrats for not passing funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIP is a program that actually pays for itself, and Republicans could put a clean CHIP funding bill up for a vote at any time, but have chosen to tie it to budget negotiations to try and force Democrats’ hand on DACA.

Under the radar:

House Democrats introduce bill to legalize marijuana: Two House Democratic representatives from California, Reps. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna, have introduced sweeping legislation to legalize marijuana in the country — a direct response to Jeff Sessions’ recent crackdown. The bill is companion legislation to Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) Senate bill on the issue.

Republican spending bill has hidden provision to change intelligence funding: The proposed Republican spending bill has a hidden provision that would break 70 years of precedent on how intelligence budgets are set. According to the Intercept,the new budget would override a provision in the 1947 National Security Act that mandates the administration inform Congress if it wants to shift funding from one intelligence project to another.

Today’s Mic Bite:

On Wednesday night, the president released his long-promised #FakeNewsAwards.

History may have forgotten it, but another notable world leader had a famous conflict with the press: Hitler.