Fake News Comparison and Analysis
For our final assignment this semester in History of the
Information Age, I chose to examine a speech given by Donald Trump on the
subject of illegal immigration, a politico factcheck on his speech, and an
article in The Washington Post in
response to Trump’s speech.
First, lets review the speech, as everything else is based
upon that. Donald Trump’s gave an
address on immigration which aired on January 8th, 2019. In this speech, he is trying to defend
funding for a border wall and goes into great detail about why the wall would
be beneficial due to a presumed crisis at the border. Trump declares that those who illegally cross
the southern border of the United States bring with them drugs and crime and
that the communities that will suffer from these immigrations will be African
American or poorer communities. Trump
uses statistics such as: three hundred citizens per week die of heroin overdose,
and that ninety percent of all heroin enters the United States at the Southern
border. There is no doubt that the U.S.
is in a state of emergency with regards to the opioid crisis, the statistics
given by the president are a bit misleading according to Politico Fact
checking. While most of the heroin does
enter the country via the southern border, it comes through legal ports of
entry and not with the immigrants who enter illegally. But his numbers with regards to the average
lives lost per week from overdose were accurate.
Trump also declares that the wall would cost $5.7 billion
dollars and that at the request of Democrats would not be made of concrete and
instead be built of steel. He goes on by
saying that the Democrats used to support a border wall but that they “changed
their mind[s] only after I was elected president.” Again, according to
Politico, these statements are incredibly misleading. Democrats did not ask for the wall to be made
of steel, instead the overall opinion of the Democrats was that the material
didn’t matter. With regards to if the
Democrats ever supported a wall, Donald Trump’s statement that they changed their
minds is misleading because they did support beefing up the border and the
proposal used to be a seven hundred miles of fence, but not a wall.
With all political speeches, one expects a certain amount of
misinformation. The good news is that
the internet provides a platform in which to quickly check on the facts being
spewed at us in any format. The
problem is, who is fact checking the fact checkers? In an attempt to check the validity of
Politico, I discovered that they do lean to the left with regards to their
political bias. They were founded by
John F. Harris and Jim Vand Hei who both had previously worked at The Washington Post. It does appear that they strive to be as
accurate as possible. This research
process can go on forever where you research who researched the fact checkers,
how they came up with their opinion and how.
Eventually you come full circle and realize that you can never figure
out what is truly accurate and the truth can never be defined.
It is so hard to define the truth when politicians,
corporations, and news organizations do their best to sway the
information. When researching the
article from The Washington Post
entitled “There is no Immigration Crisis, and These Charts Prove It,” it becomes
increasingly clear that they are just as guilty as the president in misleading
their audience. Their article claims
that they can prove that there is no immigration crisis through charts, but the
charts they provide are strictly centered around data from Texas; not the
entire country. Not only that, but when
they claim that illegal immigration is at a forty -year low, they are only
including the immigrants who are being apprehended at the border and ignoring
those who make it through undetected. The Washington Post, according to
allsides.com leans to the left as well.
They were founded in 1877 but are currently owned by Jeff Bezos, owner
of Amazon and very outspoken against Trump.
When you start to research the sources, leanings, and
history of the institutions and politicians that are providing the news, you
end up diving into a blackhole of confusing never-ending information that is
hard to decipher. As hard it may be, it
is increasingly important to know where your information is coming from. Unfortunately, the truth is difficult to find
and we may have entered into a time where determining facts becomes impossible.
Drug Enforcement Administration. “2018 National Drug Threat
Assessment.” Dea.gov. October, 2018.
Accessed April 19, 2019. https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2018-11/DIR-032-18%202018%20NDTA%20final%20low%20resolution.pdf#page=31
Hesson, Ted. “Fact Check: Trump’s Speech on Border ‘Crisis’.”
Politico.com. January 8, 2019. Accessed
on April 19, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/08/fact-check-trumps-speech-on-the-border-crisis-1069539
Ingraham, Christopher. “There is no Immigration Crisis, and
These Charts Prove It.” The Washington
Post. June 21, 2018. Accessed on April 19, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/06/21/theres-no-immigration-crisis-and-these-charts-prove-it/?utm_term=.8b4b71ce6519
“Media Bias: Washington Post.” Media Bias/Fact Check: The Most Comprehensive Media Bias Resource.
Accessed April 19, 2019. https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/washington-post/
“Politico Media Bias Rating is Lean Left.” Allside.com. February 1, 2018. Accessed
on April 19th, 2019. https://www.allsides.com/news-source/politico-media-bias
Trump, Donald. “Donald Trump’s Speech on Immigration Crisis.”
By Politico Staff. January 8, 2019.
Accessed on April 19, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/08/trump-immigration-speech-full-text-1088710