I forced myself to watch Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, not because I am a masochist, but because I believe that you must confront and understand evil if you are to be successful in defeating it. I will admit that I had to turn the volume down a bit; I couldn’t stand The Donald shouting at me as he robotically read his lines, and maybe I did a little multi-tasking. However, I did watch the entire hour and 15 minutes of the most dreary and depressing speech I have ever seen or heard. There were no rays of hope to break up the doom and gloom, no “but we are Americans and we have overcome far worse”. There on only the Trump pledge to fix everything that is wrong with this country, and that inspired no hope what so ever.
Hopefully those suffering from severe depression had enough sense to not watch the speech; apparently they didn’t because I heard nothing of the suicide rate spiking Thursday night. Or perhaps, like me, they couldn’t reconcile what is happening in their lives with the situation that Donald Trump was describing.
As Trump droned on indeterminately with statistic after depressing statistic I started recognizing familiar topics, subjects I knew something about. I found myself mumbling under my breath again and again, “Wait a minute, that can’t be right” And then, “That SOB is lying to the American public while giving the most important speech of his life.” However, looking back, given the way he has handled his entire campaign, I don’t know why I should have been the least bit surprised.
After the speech I started researching public records for the points from Trump’s speech that I could remember. I found that while some his statements might have been technically true, if you closed one eye and held your mouth just right, they were misleading a hell. They were based on information cherry picked to present the data in the most damning light possible. The Trump campaign staff members who wrote that speech made those in the Bush administration who distorted the facts to convince the country to go to war in Iraq look like amateurs.
To me this is the worst kind of lie. For instance, to manufacture that kind of lie you have to sort through reams of data which indicates that violent crime in this country has been decreasing for many years in order to find that kernel of information which, when taken out of context, seems to indicate that violent crime is instead increasing, and that we should be very afraid.
In another misrepresentation of the facts, Trump tried to convince us that number of police deaths has been skyrocketing by cherry picking data which clearly indicates that the number of officers killed on the job has been decreasing for two decades. Of course he also didn’t mention that the number of officers wearing a badge has actually been increasing during that time period. Or how about when Trump says “Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000. He was using out of date 2014 statistics. Wages adjusted for inflation today are essentially the same as they were in 2000 because the economy has recovered substantially in the last year and a half.
However, that kind of fact checking is dull and boring work and amateurs like me can never be sure that we are accessing the best data. It wasn’t long before I grew tired of the chore and I started thinking, work like this is best left to the professionals. That’s when I had the idea I should have had before I accessed the first piece of data – I’ll wait until the media does the fact checking for me. I wasn’t disappointed. Friday morning I used Google and I got immediate hits from many reputable news organizations. Here are links to some of the best ones:
In this article from the Washington Post fact checkers take 27 statements from Trump’s speech and indicate why they are either misleading or categorically false: Fact-checking Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the 2016 RNC
In a similar manner this Associated Press article which appeared in many newspapers illustrates how Donald Trump used his acceptance speech to try to mislead the American public with 11 separate statements: Fact check: Trump resurfaces debunked claims in speech
This balanced article from PolitiFact evaluates 14 of the claims Trump made in his acceptance speech. There is overlap with claims examined in other articles and different claims as well. It is interesting how different media organizations address the same claims. Fact-checking Donald Trump on the final night of the Republican convention
There many other fact checking articles which you can find on line from other reputable media sources such as Time and even the Wall Street Journal. However, regardless how much time you spend reading them, you will come to only one conclusion: Trump is more than willing to stretch the truth well past the breaking point time and time again to try make Americans so afraid of the state of this country that they will vote to make Lyin’ Donald Trump President of the United States.