Friday, August 19, 2016

Letter to the editor: Trump wins whopper contest with his lies

Following is a letter I submitted to the Daily Star. Anyone taking bets on whether this will rock them out of the false equivalence mode?

Re: The August 18 Another View cartoon.

The cartoon illustrates the fictional "50M Whopper Competition" depicting Trump and Clinton each with the same-size Pinocchio nose. There are two implications. (1) Both (all?) politicians make false statements. (2) They do so equally often. (1) is most likely true. (2) is not. Here is why.

The fact-checking group Politifact has rated over 200 of each of the candidate's statements as Pants-on-Fire Lie, False, Mostly False, Half True, Mostly True, and True. I combined the frequencies in the first three categories (False) and the last three categories (True). Donald Trump's statements were 70% False; Clinton's were 71% True.

If Clinton and Trump lied an equal number of times, as suggested by the cartoon, then the percentages would have been 50-50. They were far from it, so the fact-checking results compel the conclusion that Clinton is mainly honest but Trump mainly spins lies.

I recommend these Politifact links for the raw data: http://www.politifact.com/personalities/hillary-clinton/ and
http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/. Additional observations and measures of honesty are at http://americannewsx.com/politics/why-cant-you-believe-hillary-clinton-is-inherently-honest/.

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