cloudy
Thursday January 17th, 2019 10:30PM

Facing pressure, networks fact-check Trump speech

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Television pundits moved swiftly to correct or challenge President Donald Trump following Tuesday's Oval Office speech on the proposed border wall, after their networks were the target of an unusual debate over whether they should show him at all.

"Just because you say it's a crisis doesn't necessarily make it one," ABC White House correspondent Cecilia Vega said following the president's address.

Some network critics had essentially made the same point in arguing for a television boycott, along with saying the president couldn't be trusted with the truth. It's rare, but not unprecedented, for networks to say no to a presidential request for airtime.

But refusing to air Trump's first Oval Office address as president, in the midst of a government shutdown over the funding fight, would have been seen as a provocative act in itself. So the four major broadcasters and cable news networks showed him, while also airing rebuttals from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and making provisions of their own to pounce on misstatements.

CNN brought on Daniel Dale, a White House correspondent for the Toronto Star, who has become known for cataloguing Trump misstatements, and he said the president falsely asserted it was the Democrats who had advanced the idea of a steel barrier instead of a wall. NBC's Chuck Todd made the same point.

"I would say he made a lot of dubious claims," Todd said.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos disputed Trump's claim that the U.S.-Mexico free trade agreement will essentially result in that country paying for the wall. "It has not been approved by Congress and even if it is, there's no provision there to make Mexico pay for the wall," Stephanopoulos said.

Shepard Smith conducted a rapid-fire rebuttal of some of the president's claims during his coverage on the Fox broadcast network. After Trump talked about crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, Smith said, "government statistics show there is less violent crime committed by the undocumented immigrant population than by the general population." He said that border crossings along the southern border haven been dropping.

"The president said law enforcement professionals have requested the $5.7 billion (for the wall)," Smith said. "It's he who requested it and he who said he would own the shutdown."

Smith's analysis drew an angry response on Twitter from many of Fox News' conservative fans.

On Fox News Channel, Sean Hannity critiqued the Democratic response, saying Trump's opponents hadn't addressed reports of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, a point the president tried to drive home. Sen. Lindsey Graham joined Hannity to suggest Trump's stand represents the best chance to improve border security.

None of the networks used chyrons, or onscreen text, to rebut Trump while he was talking. But CNN and MSNBC used that form of fact-checking after he had finished.

One CNN chyron read: "Trump: 90% of heroin comes across the Southern border. Fact: vast majority comes through legal ports of entry."

Earlier Tuesday, CNN's Jim Acosta had confronted Trump aide Kellyanne Conway outside of the White House, asking if she could promise whether Trump would tell the truth. That prompted a bitter exchange between the two.

"Let me get back in your face, 'cause you're such a smart ass most of the time and I know you want this to go viral," Conway said.

Following Tuesday night's coverage, the liberal watchdog organization Media Matters for America said the network fact-checking was ineffective.

"The fact-checking came too late for any viewers who turned off their televisions after the president stopped speaking," said Media Matters' Matt Gertz. "The networks gave the White House exactly what the president wanted: unhindered access to lie to their audience. He played them, and they let them do it."

By airing the rebuttal from Pelosi and Schumer, the networks did something that is seldom done for presidential speeches, except for events like the State of the Union address, said former NBC News executive Mark Lukasiewicz, now dean of the Hofstra University communications school. That sets a precedent that may be tough for them to back away from in future events, he said.

Lukasiewicz argued that for the networks, it was an awkward night that would not please either side of the debate over border security.

"The president made no news and no new proposals," he said. "It is hard to argue this night was about anything other than pure politics — and the networks interrupted programming to accommodate it."

___

AP writers Darlene Superville in Washington and Lynn Elber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Georgia man tells police R. Kelly's manager threatened him
A Georgia man involved with a recent documentary detailing abuse allegations against R. Kelly told police the singer's manager threatened him
11:06PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Facing pressure, networks fact-check Trump speech
Television networks fact-check Trump's speech, after facing pressure about whether they should have aired it in the first place
11:00PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Top Democrats say Trump 'has chosen fear' in border battle
Top congressional Democrats say President Donald Trump "has chosen fear" in his drive to build a southern border wall and are calling on him to reopen the government shuttered because of the standoff over his demand for money for the barrier
10:57PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Filing: Manafort gave 2016 polling data to Russian associate
A new court filing says former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied about sharing polling data on the 2016 presidential race with Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate accused of having ties to Russian intelligence
10:08PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: McConnell says Trump's border plan suits reality
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says President Donald Trump's proposal to increase border security through physical barriers "suits the reality on the ground" along the U.S.-Mexico border
10:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Trump speech gets mixed reaction in Texas family
President Donald Trump's Oval Office speech has received a mixed reaction among one family who gathered to watch it in South Texas, a short distance from the U.S.-Mexico border
10:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
AP Exclusive: NC election fraud probed long before 2018 race
AP Exclusive: Emails show an elections investigator traveled to North Carolina's Bladen County many times in 2010, but couldn't build a strong enough case to support criminal charges against a political operative now under scrutiny
8:15PM ( 3 hours ago )
Trump seeks an edge in shutdown fight with TV address
President Donald Trump will try to convince America that funding for his long-promised border wall is needed on security and humanitarian grounds, though his pitch will face intense pushback from Democrats
7:54PM ( 3 hours ago )
Man authorities believe shot black girl charged with murder
A memorial service will be held in Houston for a 7-year-old black girl who was fatally shot while in a car with her family
6:53PM ( 4 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
The Latest: Pelosi accuses Trump of having 'chosen fear'
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the president has "chosen fear" in making the case to the American people for the border wall and Democrats "want to start with the facts."
9:27PM ( 1 hour ago )
Castro meets with Nevada Latino leaders ahead of 2020 bid
Former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro is meeting with Nevada Democrats and leaders of the Latino community in Las Vegas days ahead of his planned announcement of a 2020 run for the presidency
8:29PM ( 2 hours ago )
Supreme Court hears case involving Crow tribe hunting rights
The Supreme Court has heard arguments in the case of a Crow tribe member who was cited for hunting elk in Wyoming's Bighorn National Forest
7:55PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Jordan Peele's 'Us' to premiere as opening film at SXSW
Jordan Peele's "Us," his anticipated follow-up to "Get Out," will make its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival
7:22PM ( 4 hours ago )
After Globes wins, 'Green Book' takes a bow at NBR Awards
"Green Book" is taking an encore bow Tuesday night at the National Board of Review Awards after its big wins at Sunday's Golden Globes
6:13PM ( 5 hours ago )
Texas police say child's abduction staged to cover crime
Police say a San Antonio father staged the abduction of his 8-month-old son in a fake car theft plot to cover up "foul play," and the infant has still not been found
5:14PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Childish Gambino, Post Malone, Cardi B to play Bonnaroo fest
The 2019 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, will feature Childish Gambino, Post Malone, Cardi B, the Lumineers and multiple sets from Phish
9:04AM ( 14 hours ago )
NFL wild-card round ratings up 12 percent over last year
NFL wild-card round ratings increase 12 percent over last season
7:23PM ( 1 day ago )
Ratings dip to 18.6M for Golden Globes despite NFL lead-in
Sunday night's Golden Globes were watched by 18.6 million viewers, according to preliminary figures, a slight drop from the 19.1 million who tuned in last year
4:59PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online TV News
Georgia man tells police R. Kelly's manager threatened him
A Georgia man involved with a recent documentary detailing abuse allegations against R. Kelly told police the singer's manager threatened him
11:06PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Top Democrats say Trump 'has chosen fear' in border battle
Top congressional Democrats say President Donald Trump "has chosen fear" in his drive to build a southern border wall and are calling on him to reopen the government shuttered because of the standoff over his demand for money for the barrier
10:57PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Trump pleads on TV for wall money; Dems say he 'stokes fear'
President Donald Trump argues funding for his long-promised border wall is needed on security and humanitarian grounds; he gets intense pushback from Democrats
10:49PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Comatose woman who gave birth is Arizona tribe member
Police have served a search warrant Tuesday to get DNA from all male employees at a long-term care facility in Phoenix where a patient who had been in a vegetative state for years gave birth
10:40PM ( 42 minutes ago )
Man authorities believe shot Texas girl charged with murder
Texas authorities file capital murder charge against a black man they believe fired the bullet that killed a 7-year-old black girl in a drive-by shooting her family initially believed was racially motivated
10:37PM ( 45 minutes ago )