Alternative Facts

Alternative+Facts

Brandon Pohl

Pluto is a planet. Not some silly dwarf planet like the International Astronomical Union claimed back in 2006. It is a real planet, and that is a fact. Well, an alternative fact.

  We have heard a lot about these “Alternative Facts” in recent days. The term was first used by Kellyanne Conway, the counselor to President Trump, in defense of the statement by Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, in regards to the total number of people who attended Trump’s inauguration ceremony. Since Trump has taken office, there has been a steady stream of these “Alternative Facts” coming from the White House. It is important that the American public understands what the truth really is. Provided below are examples of some of these “Alternative Facts,” along with the truth.

 

Alternative Fact: Spicer claimed Trump’s inauguration was “The most viewed in history.” He said that if you factor in people who attended the event, and people who watched on TV and online, then he had by far the largest number of viewers.

Fact: The largest number of TV viewers for an inauguration, according to the Nielsen Company, was Ronald Reagan’s in 1981 with 41.8 million viewers. In 2009, Obama’s inauguration received 37.8 million views. Trump only received 31 million views, putting him at fifth, behind Nixon and Carter. As for crowd size at the event, this is much harder to calculate. In aerial photographs, it appears Trump had a much smaller crowd than Obama did in 2009. Another way crowd size can be calculated is through the use of the Metro at the time. In 2009, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority reported 1.1 million rides during Obama’s inauguration and 782,000 rides in 2013. By comparison, during Trump’s inauguration, there were only 570,557 rides. Finally, Spicer later said most of the viewers watched by way of the internet. The problem with this is there is no accurate way to tell how many actually watched the inauguration online. CNN recorded 17 million “starts,” which basically means the play button was clicked 17 million times, but this does not mean 17 million people watched the inauguration, or that the videos were even played all the way through. Even with this, Obama had 20 million live streams during his inauguration. Finally, the main issue with this lie is that no one would have cared about the crowd size had not Trump lied about it.

 

Alternative Fact: In a tweet, Trump claimed he would have won the popular vote if millions of people had not voted illegally. The claim is that approximately 3 million people voted illegally, and they all voted for Clinton. If these votes were removed, then Trump would have won the popular vote.

Fact: There is absolutely no evidence that 3 million illegal voters voted for Clinton in the election. The first claims of voter fraud were started by self-proclaimed conservative voter fraud specialist Gregg Phillips before voting history was even available after the election. The only places the claim of 3 million illegal voters has been reported is on extreme right wing websites. And, of course, the President of the United States.

 

Alternative Fact: On Feb. 2, Kellyanne Conway, the second counselor to the president, in an interview with MSNBC, defended Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Middle Eastern countries. In the interview, Conway said “I bet it’s new information to people… that president Obama had a six- month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqi refugees came here to this country… and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green Massacre. Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”

Fact: It didn’t get covered because it didn’t happen. There was no Bowling Green Massacre. What she was most likely referring to two Iraqis living in Bowling Green that were attempting to send money and weapons to al-Qaeda. These Iraqis were not even plotting a domestic terror attack. Next, Obama never instituted a ban. He dramatically beefed up the vetting system, which slowed down the immigration process, but he never instituted an all out ban. Conway also claimed the countries on the ban list was a list created by Obama. This is also not the full truth. These countries are part of a list that was created by the Republican Congress under Obama, that was dramatically cut down by the President. Finally, the biggest issue with the ban is it revokes the right of due process to all green card and visa holders, which is illegal and unconstitutional.

   There are plenty other lies that have been put out by the White House. The Trump administration continues to lie about connections with Russia. This has led to the resignation of Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security adviser. The true extent of the lies continues to grow as the public learns more about the situation. Trump also continues to lie about petty things, like when he claimed he won by the largest margin of any president since Reagan, which is almost the polar opposite of the truth, or how Trump continues to call any negative media “Fake News”.

  The main issue with all the lies coming from the White House is that we can no longer trust any information that our government is giving us, from little issues like the crowd size of an event to problems on the level of national security. It will be up to the public to do their own research from now on. It is no longer good enough to believe what we are told.