Fact Checker: #Protip to Trump: If you’re going to claim Nixon/Watergate, you should start by getting some facts.

#Protip to Trump: If you’re going to claim Nixon/Watergate, you should start by getting some facts. This past week, Trump made an explosive allegation on Twitter that former president Barack Obama wiretapped him. And this accusation was based on … what? At The Fact Checker, we place the burden of proof on the speaker. So we immediately asked the …
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The truth behind the rhetoric
#Protip to Trump: If you’re going to claim Nixon/Watergate, you should start by getting some facts. This past week, Trump made an explosive allegation on Twitter that former president Barack Obama wiretapped him. And this accusation was based on … what? At The Fact Checker, we place the burden of proof on the speaker. So we immediately asked the White House for proof, but received no answer. Then, White House staff referred to “reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations” — suggesting the president’s tweets were based on media reports, not information the president might have received from inside the government. The White House cited five news reports to justify its request for a congressional investigation into the supposed wiretapping ordered by Obama, only two actually were relevant. It’s questionable how accurate the two reports are. But even if they were accepted as accurate, none of the reports actually said that Obama requested the order or that it resulted in the tapping of Trump’s phone lines. This is a relatively predictable exercise by Trump and the White House: Trump makes an incendiary claim, seemingly with little to no basis in fact. His staff scramble to support it. The evidence they provide is mostly bunk. Then, we’re back to square one with an unsubstantiated claim. As always, we are eager to check out any new evidence the White House can provide that may substantiate the president’s claims. Until then, he earns Four Pinocchios. Enjoy this newsletter? Forward it to someone else who’d like it! If this e-mail was forwarded to you, sign up here for the weekly newsletter. Hear something fact-checkable? Send it here, we’ll check it out.  Sen. Chuck Schumer repeats a zombie claim about Planned Parenthood and mammograms A “zombie” claim is one that keeps coming back to life, no matter how many times we debunk it. One such zombie claim caught our attention this week. As Congress debates a GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act, many Democratic lawmakers are coming to the defense of Planned Parenthood, whose federal funds would be cut under the House Republicans’ plan. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) posted on Twitter that the GOP proposal would hurt “millions of women who turn there for mammograms, maternity care, cancer screenings & more.” But — as we’ve noted in 2012 and in 2015 — Planned Parenthood doesn’t actually administer mammograms. Mammograms require radiology equipment inspected under federal law, so most small clinics (like Planned Parenthood) make referrals to specialized facilities. Why does this matter? Mammograms have come to symbolize whether Planned Parenthood truly is a health-care organization, as supporters say, or mainly an abortion provider that masquerades as a reproductive health organization, as opponents say. Supporters of Planned Parenthood point to mammograms to illustrate the organization’s role in cancer screening and prevention for women.
Only 7 percent of Planned Parenthood’s clients are women over 40, who would get regular mammogram referrals. Of about 360,000 breast exams in 2014, about 11,000 (3 percent) resulted in a mammogram referral. That’s less than 1 percent of the total number of Planned Parenthood patients in 2014. Schumer earned Three Pinocchios. (giphy.com)(giphy.com) Speaking of #protips, here’s another one: Leave fact-checking to the pros. Lawmakers frequently cite Pinocchio ratings in a floor speech or a hearing. But something odd happened recently: A lawmaker cited a Four-Pinocchio rating for a fact we never checked. (Photo below.) Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), speaking on the House floor on Feb. 3, attacked Republicans for seeking to roll back regulations requiring oil and gas drillers to control methane releases into the atmosphere. This was never our fact check. So how did our Pinocchios end up on a congressional chart? We asked Lowenthal’s staff, who quickly apologized. Turns out, minority staff on the House Committee on Natural Resources created the chart and used our Pinocchios to make a point. His staff told us the poster would be destroyed, adding that he did not think “Alan would have been comfortable using it if he had known.” We appreciate the outright apology, and didn’t award Pinocchios to Lowenthal. Members of Congress always are free to cite our fact checks if they do so accurately. But remember: Only The Washington Post awards the Pinocchios.   (Courtesy of @FloorCharts)(Courtesy of @FloorCharts) We’re always looking for suggestions. If you hear something fact-checkable, fill out this form, e-mail us or tweet us: @myhlee@GlennKesslerWP or using #FactCheckThis. Read about our rating scale here, and sign up here for our weekly Fact Checker newsletter.  Scroll down for this week’s Pinocchio roundup. — Michelle Ye Hee Lee
Trump keeps claiming he’s created U.S. jobs since Election Day. Not so.
Trump’s bravado on these jobs announcements is becoming a bad joke.
Trump’s ‘evidence’ for Obama wiretap claims relies on sketchy, anonymously sourced reports
The White House cites five news reports to justify its claim for a congressional probe. But they fail the Pinocchio Test.
Schumer’s claim that ‘millions of women turn’ to Planned Parenthood for mammograms
Schumer uses slippery language that implies that women get mammograms at Planned Parenthood clinics, and exaggerates the number of women who get mammogram referrals there.
Trump’s claim that ‘more than 300′ refugees are subjects of counterterrorism investigations
It’s irresponsible for the administration to tout this number repeatedly without any context.
Trump’s claim that immigrants cost taxpayers ‘many billions of dollars a year’
Trump took one line out of a 500-page report, and totally skewed the intricate findings.
New anti-Obamacare ads conflate the exchanges with the entire health-care system
A GOP nonprofit group is misleading listeners by suggesting the Affordable Care Act has hurt the entire health-care system.
What Trump got wrong on Twitter this week (#7)
The seventh installment in our occasional feature looking at what Trump got wrong on Twitter in a given week.
Accept no fakes: Only The Washington Post hands out Pinocchios
A House Democrat used Washington Post Pinocchios to decry an “alternative fact.” But that wasn’t our fact check.
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51 thoughts on “Fact Checker: #Protip to Trump: If you’re going to claim Nixon/Watergate, you should start by getting some facts.”

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