World fact-check: How to check the statements of Trump and Clinton

Author : Group VoxUkraine

Source : 112 Ukraine

Factcheckers from far Ukraine decided to analyze how their colleagues from abroad checked the US presidential debate of the two candidates
19:24, 20 October 2016

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Among the 150 millionth audience of the last two debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump there were several dozen professionals with special interests and functions – they checked the words of candidates and actually found out who lies more.

Fact check of political statements exists a dozen years in America. Meanwhile factcheckers from far Ukraine decided to analyze how their colleagues from abroad checked presidential debate of the two candidates.

Trump is check more often

VoxCheck counted a dozen Western media that checked first and second debates. Of these, we selected the seven most powerful (five and two major media projects Fact check America): The Guardian, Washington Post, Daily News, New York Times, CNN, PolitiFact and

During the first debate, the media analyzed 111 citations of Trump and 60 citations of Clinton. During the second debate factcheckers much less tried to observe equality quotes: Trump was tested 135 times (against Clinton – 43).

Clinton Trump fact check

Trump is lying more

60% truth of Clinton against 80% lies of Trump – this is a verdict for the analyzed factcheckers of the first debate.

Washington Post, for example, did not single out semi-truth statements of the candidates; it has just found 10 facts of lied in Clinton’s speech against 23 in Trump’s. According to The Guardian, of 18 citations of both candidates, all five quotes of Clinton were true, but all 13 Trump were false.

Interesting fact: in the second round of debate Trump told half-truths more than during the first round of debate. As a result, he also lied less - this time factcheckers found in the speech of a candidate not 80% false quotes, but 66%.

Related: Final Trump-Clinton debates - best quotes

The number of cases lie in Clinton’s speech dropped by almost half during the second debate - from 30% to 16%.

In general, during two rounds of debate, Clinton lied only in 24% of cases, and Trump – in 72%.

Clinton Trump fact check debates

How were these quotes checked?

The range of topics and quotes that were tested by factcheckers was really huge. During the first debate, only one statement was completely checked by all the media that we analyzed (and it was true):

Hillary Clinton: "Donald supported the invasion of Iraq."

As you can see, the quote is aimed at Trump - who, by the way, denied it, thus adding to his collection of false statements.

Another quote checked by all the editions except Washington Post, again belongs to Clinton and is further allegation against Trump:

Hillary Clinton: "He thinks that climate change is a hoax, invented by the Chinese."

Trump again denied the allegations. However factcheckers also reiterated the words of Clinton.

Objectivity of the factcheckers

How is it that Trump was checked more than Clinton?

Factcheckers of the most influential media world respond to it, that the method of selection of quotes is absolutely clear and objective and does not depend on behalf of the policy. "First, we are interested in a quote containing facts and, secondly, the theme for which candidates are actively arguing," says the director and editor of the oldest factcheck project in the world Eugen Kiely.

Related: Obama urges Republicans to abandon Trump

A similar practice of the factcheck is followed by The Guardian; it also takes into account the repetitive thesis, which makes policy emphasis during his campaign.

Related: Clinton: ‘Putin is grand godfather of extreme nationalism’

A striking example of the potential quotation of the factchek already refers to the Clinton’s prosecution of Trump that he supposedly considers climate change a Chinese fiction (check whether Trump said something similar). "However, we ignore the remarks or unclear remarks,"  says Kiely. "In addition, we do not pass by summarizing quotes, like "all Mexicans are rapists" of Trump’s authorship," emphasizes Alan Yuhas, factcheker of The Guardian.

From a technical point of view, checks the debate in this way. Six factchekers are simultaneously watching live (often geographically they are in different places) and exchange messages online - what quotations should be taken for verification.

Related: Clinton vs. Trump: first debate

After the debate, a list of statements that factchekers decided to check, and for which there is no sense to tackle. The final list of citations is signed by the chief editor, and then they are tested.

Yet if factchekers apply the same principle of selection of quotes to all politicians, why Trump checked twice Clinton, and why in his speech much more lies is found?

"During the current presidential campaign, Trump’s lies and distortion of the reality came just to an unprecedented level," explains Yuhas from The Guardian.

However, he said, Clinton is not as honest as it might seem at first glance.

Related: Poroshenko: Trump’s words about Crimea are ‘campaign rhetoric’

"For the past 30 years she and her husband have mastered this tactic public speaking when certain concepts are treated in certain, profitable to them, way. And sometimes it comes to serious legal terms," said Yuhas.

That is pure manipulation or substitution of concepts. Example - when Hillary Clinton was trying to "hide" in legal terms during the recent scandal with her e-mail.

In turn during sexual scandal mid-1990s, Bill Clinton offered his definition of "sexual relations," asserting that he had no sexual relations with Lewinsky, and that these relations could not be considered as sexual ones.

Related: Ukraine may have to tighten its belt if Trump wins, - MP

"Factcheck has an impact on society in the long run, when the same false statement is methodically refuted countless times," assured Phoebe Arnold of the British FullFact, that actively tested politicians during Brexit-campaign.

Related: Clinton, Trump, and Kyiv: the US election and its results for Ukraine

According to her, for three years FullFact was struggling with the favorite thesis of the local politicians that 3 million jobs in Britain depend on EU membership.

An example of Britain shows that voters do not always take into account the facts and are often guided by emotions. American factcheckers know about it. And still they do not give up.

Olena Shkarpova and Maksym Skubenko for VoxUkraine.

Related: Trump ignored invitation from Poroshenko

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