I have been accused… All right, nobody has actually accused me, but if they have not they should have. I should have been accused of coming down hard on candidate Candidate Trump’s lack of sincerity. Translation: he lies a lot. He says a bunch of stuff that is just not true. And nobody’s calling me down on this. How come?
There is one thing I should not be accused of, and that one thing is making an industry of calling Donald Trump a liar. A possible reason I am not likely to be accused is because there is somebody else who really does make an industry of calling Donald Trump a liar. That person would be Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star:
When Donald Trump ludicrously accused Hillary Clinton, at the first presidential debate, of trying to fight the Islamic State for her “entire adult life,” Clinton didn’t offer a rebuttal. Instead, she issued a request: “Please, fact-checkers, get to work.”
They were already working. Thanks to the brazenness of Trump’s deceit, fact-checking, that unglamorous journalistic activity once mostly relegated to niche websites and little boxes beside newspaper articles, is having a moment. Big news organizations now assign teams of reporters to fact-check the debates in real time. CNN, among other networks, is using its bottom-screen chyrons to challenge Trump’s most obvious lies. And every day, full-time fact checkers take a false claim, or three, or four, and meticulously explain why it is wrong.
I decided a month ago that this wasn’t enough.
What we’re experiencing from Trump is a daily avalanche of wrongness. The essential truth of this election cannot be conveyed with an examination of any one particular chunk of ice. The story is the massive accumulation of nonsense, big stuff and little stuff alike, day after day.
I’m now spending much of my time immersed in Trump’s dishonesty. I’m the Washington correspondent for Canada’s Toronto Star newspaper, and since September 15, I’ve published a daily tally—or as close to a daily tally as I can produce while also sleeping occasionally—of every false claim the Republican presidential candidate has uttered in a speech or interview. At the end of each day or the beginning of the next, I tweet a screenshot of the list, then publish it on our website, thestar.com.
Daniel Dale formerly had a practice back in Toronto of fact-checking Mayor Rob Ford, whose career is remarkably reminiscent of Trumps. Ford, if you recall, was a compulsive crack cocaine user and a compulsive liar in his denial. Moving to Washington last year, Dale found a fresh trove to mine, and a richer vein it turned out to be. By all accounts, Donald Trump’s mouth is the cornucopia of bent truth.
As mentioned above, Dale has the nasty habit of snatching Trump quotes currently on the roam and exposing them, unfolded, for friend and foe alike to relish. You can guess, most of the relish is enjoyed by foe and least by friend. Here is a typical posting:
To enable search engines to find the text, here is a copy:
Donald Trump’s false claims, final debate
1. Falsely said, “Justice Ginsburg made some very, very inappropriate statements toward me and toward a tremendous number of people, many, many millions of people that I represent.” (Ginsburg criticized Trump, but not his supporters.)
2. Falsely said, “In Chicago, which has the toughest gun laws in the United States, probably you could say by far, they have more gun violence than any other city.” (Chicago no longer has especially strict gun laws, and certainly is not “by far” the strictest; it is comparable to New York City, which has far less gun violence. Its handgun ban was struck down in 2010; Illinois’ concealed carry ban was struck down in 2012; its gun registry was abandoned in 2013; its ban on gun shops was struck dovn in 2014.)
3. Falsely said, of. Clinton’s immigration plan, “She wants to have open borders.” (Clinton is not proposing “open borders” for immigrants, though she used the phrase in the context of energy and economy in a 2013 speech.)
4. Falsely said, “ICE last week endorsed me.” (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a government agency, did not endorse Trump; a union of its employees did. And it was three weeks ago, not last week.)
5. Falsely said, “Hillary Clinton wanted the wall. Hillary Clinton fought for the wall in 2006 or thereabouts.” (Trump has made it dear that he means a very specific thing by “the wall°, a giant concrete barrier, 35 feet or higher, along the entirety of the U.S.-Mexico border other than the places where there are natural barriers. Clinton voted for a different barrier: shorter fencing, of a different kind, across a shorter distance. Trump himself said last year that this 2006 proposal was not the same thing: “Such a little wall, it was such a nothing wall.”)
6. Falsely said of Syrian refugees, “They have no idea where they come from.” (The refugees are rigorously vetted by U.S. authorities.)
7. Falsely said of the perpetrator of hacking attack. against Democratic officials, “Our country has no idea.” (The Obama administration and U.S. intelligence officials, along with independent experts, have concluded that Russia is responsible.)
8. Falsely said, of the New START nuclear arms reduction deal, “The Russians have said, according to many, many reports, I can’t believe they allowed us to do this. They create warheads, and we can’t. The Russians can’t believe it.” (The Russians have not mocked the deal in such a fashion. Though the deal sets a cap on the number of “deployed” nuclear warheads, the U.S. is still permitted to develop new ones to replace old ones.)
9. Falsely said, “Her plan is going to raise taxes and even double your taxes.” (Clinton is only raising taxes on the highest earners. The Tax Policy Center says most residents below the top 1 per cent will receive minor tax cuts under her plan, and even most of the highest earners will not see a doubling.)
It is not as though candidate Trump has raised prevarication to a high art. He has merely industrialized it. Others may produce higher quality, but Trump excels in shear quantity. Only some of these statements abuse the truth to the master level, but others, and there are many, bespeak of ignorance or a morbid disregard with fact. I may have mentioned, I enjoy a fool less than a liar. In Trump I may have both.