OPINION: Force Trump to Face the Facts

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OPINION: Force Trump to Face the Facts

By Anna Chuo, Morale Officer

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Regardless of your political opinion, Donald Trump is an unprecedented candidate for one of the most powerful jobs in the world. He was a “successful” realtor in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s turned reality star for his show, “The Apprentice.” What Trump brings to politics is ideas and outlandish stories about illegal immigrants “taking jobs” and “bringing crime,” reminding me of the racist, xenophobic policies of the past. Trump is able to speak these lies through the media who covers his speeches and later may not fact-check some of his statements–one example being Matt Lauer’s interviews with the presidential candidates earlier this month.

 

Fact-checking was one of the many things Lauer lacked in his interview that others must be able to learn from. The second presidential debate is this Sunday, October 9th at 8:00 p.m, and fact-checking is something Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, this debate’s moderators, should strive to do more of, because without the correct facts, how can citizens make the best decision for themselves this November?

 

In a presidential debate, there is a moderator. Their job is to conduct the debate by asking  questions and keeping the candidates on topic to help those watching choose which candidate to vote for based on their political viewpoints. Normally, the two candidates in the running tend to be decently qualified. This year, it has grown more and more apparent that Trump isn’t like other politicians. He can be brash, unpredictable, and over-the-top.

 

But above all,. Trump has been known to lie not once, or twice, but about 193 times. According to Politifact, 69% of Trump’s 275 statements that they analyzed were false to some degree, and 29% of Senator Hillary Clinton’s 264 statements were false. In comparison to our current president, 26% of Obama’s 593 statements were to some degree false.

 

The debates were set up based on the idea that the candidates would be decently educated on how they operated. However, based on the last presidential debate, Trump didn’t seem to know how debates worked. In a perfect world, the candidates would take their turns answering the questions prompted by the moderators. And though they may talk over each other occasionally, Trump spoke over Clinton 51 times while Clinton interrupted him 17 times.

 

Some of his lies include “Obama is the founder of ISIS,” and that “global warming is a hoax by China” which he has recently denied ever saying since he claimed to have meant it as a joke. Though reporters and journalists have been somewhat fact-checking candidates, could they be more diligent?

 

Whether it’s accidental or purposeful, all candidates, regardless of their reputation, should be held accountable for false information they may spread–and that should be the reporter, journalist, or moderators’ job. I understand it may be uncomfortable to have to call someone a liar, but if you are interviewing a politician, it is important to remember the power they hold over us as a general population. They are creating laws that we must live by and what they say will influence whether we are for or against those laws. So if spreading false information will help a politician gain support to pass a law or get re-elected, and there is no consequence for that information being false, the politician will probably say it. The journalist’s job is to write the truth and nothing but the truth, so the journalist must make sure that the politician’s information is correct.

 

Also, it isn’t the citizen’s job to fact-check. The reporter gives them the necessary information they’ve gathered to help the citizens make educated decisions. There are some reporters fact-checking, but it’s not enough. All we see on Facebook and Twitter is short clips of Trump and Clinton talking without much commentary added. If news corporations more thoroughly fact check, perhaps we can all make a well educated vote this November.