Patterico's Pontifications


Debate Prep: Who’s Even More Dishonest Than Donald Trump?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:08 pm

The answer is, of course, Big Media fact checkers.

A piece in POLITICO Magazine purports to warn you about “lies” that may be told by Trump and Clinton during tomorrow’s debate. (The link is to a cached version of the piece; I don’t link POLITICO directly, and haven’t for years, because they are bullies.) The problem is that two of the three “lies” they attribute to Trump are not lies at all, but are literally true. Start with this claim:

Trump’s claim: “Fifty-eight percent of African American youth are not working.”

The truth: Trump is way off on the data about black youth.

Trump has been pretty up front with African Americans, urging them to drop their longtime loyalty to the Democratic Party because that support has amounted to little in the way of economic success. “What the hell do you have to lose?” he asked during a visit to central Michigan last month.

To bring his point home, one of Trump’s favorite riffs is about just how few young African Americans have jobs right now. For example, during a stop in High Point, North Carolina, last week, Trump said that “58 percent of African American youth are not working.”

Trump should know better than to keep using that line. He’s been flogged repeatedly by fact checkers for similar statements.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the latest data actually finds that the unemployment rate for African Americans 16-to-24 years old is 15.7 percent.

The Trump campaign maintains that it gets to the 58 percent figure by counting up both the young people who are trying to find jobs but can’t get them and also the ones who are “not in the labor force.” But that’s a pretty misleading way of sizing up the situation. Under his definition, Trump is counting busy students as unemployed, whether or not they’re looking for a job.

The bottom line here is that Trump said “58 percent of African American youth are not working” and the fact-checkers admit it’s true . . . but call it a “lie” because they don’t like the implications of that true statement.

Trump has indeed stated in the past that 58% of black youth are “unemployed,” which is inaccurate. But his current statement deals with the percentage of black youths not working, and that figure is accurate.

What’s more, Trump has a point. The piece claims that counting students among those not “working” is misleading. But even the dishonest fact-checkers at the Washington Post have to admit that, when you take students out of the equation, black youths are employed at a far lower rate than white youths:

If Trump really is interested in the rate of disengagement among black youth, there is an academically accepted measure he can use. It’s called NEET, which stands for “Neither Employed nor in Education or Training.” This measure factors out students altogether, and measures the share of disconnected youth aged 16 to 24.

Pew Research Center’s Drew DeSilver, who has written about youth unemployment and NEETs, calculated a 2015 NEET rate among black youth 16 to 24 at 20.9 percent of the total civilian non-institutional population, compared with 14.7 percent among white youth of the same age range.

So it turns out that the share of unemployed black youths who aren’t students or in training is over 140% the share of white youths in the same situation (20.9% versus 14.7%). Sounds like Trump might have something of a point there! But you won’t read that in POLITICO Magazine . . .

Let’s move on to POLITICO’s second Trump “lie”:

Trump’s claim: Clinton supports “open borders” and a “550 percent increase” in Syrian refugees

The truth: Trump is wrong about Clinton’s plans for immigration and refugees.

. . . .

Clinton’s plan for handling the Syrian refugee crisis keeps getting similarly bungled by Trump. Last week provided the latest instance of this, when Trump issued a statement vowing to oppose Clinton’s “550 percent increase in the number of refugees from the conflict in Syria.”

The truth is, there’s no basis in that figure. Trump has taken a plan Clinton issued where she said she would welcome 55,000 additional refugees from the war-torn country over the course of a single year, and extrapolated it out at the same rate of expansion for the duration of a four-year term. On top of that, Trump’s assumption implies Clinton would continue with the Obama administration’s latest budget proposal for fiscal year 2017, where the U.S. would accept 100,000 refugees. Clinton, in fact, has said no such thing.

This is double-talk. Trump didn’t say anything about a four-year term or extrapolating anything. He said Hillary Clinton is calling for a “550 percent increase in the number of refugees from the conflict in Syria.” We know this is true because — God forgive me for citing these people — even lefty PolitiFact admits it:

During a Sept. 20 appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation, Clinton was asked if President Barack Obama’s plan to increase the number allowed into the United States to 10,000 was enough. (The United States had accepted about 2,000 in 2015.)

“Look, we’re facing the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II, and I think the United States has to do more, and I would like to see us move from what is a good start with 10,000 to 65,000 and begin immediately to put into place the mechanisms for vetting the people that we would take in,” Clinton said. . . . A jump to 65,000 would be a 550 percent increase. . . . Clinton has, in fact, said that in response to the refugee crisis she would raise Obama’s limit of 10,000 to 65,000. That’s 550 percent more . . .

Once again, POLITICO’s Trump “lie” is . . . true.

POLITICO’s third Trump lie is: “I was totally against the war in Iraq.” And . . . that is a lie. Because he totally wasn’t.

Hey, Donald Trump is a giant liar. That doesn’t mean that we have to pretend every Big Media claim about him is true.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

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