Donald Trump’s social media posts in the aftermath of the 2020 election and the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill suspended him from Facebook and Twitter, fearing his bogus claims about a stolen election could cause further violence.
But he did not remain silent.
Since leaving the White House, Trump has headlining political conferences, organized rallies, held a press conference, gave media interviews, makes appearances with political allies, and issued written statements (often several per day).
More than that, these outlets have given him the same privilege he once enjoyed on Twitter and Facebook: the ability to spread lies without too much hindsight or restraint. Trump exploited these opportunities to advance false and misleading claims regarding, among other things, the 2020 election and January 6, when his supporters stormed the Capitol to block Congressional constitutional certification of election results showing that ‘he had lost to Joe Biden.
In recent weeks, for example, Trump has joined a chorus of Republican lawmakers seeking to downplay the events of January 6 and portray the riot as a more or less peaceful protest, even as protesters smashed windows and attacked police officers. law enforcement with weapons.
In one of Trump’s last Fox News interviews, he made several baseless allegations this was not disputed and was even encouraged by host Maria Bartiromo.
Trump asserted that “we had a corrupt election. We had a rigged election. We had a stolen election. None of this is true. No legitimate evidence has emerged to prove widespread fraud or stolen votes that would alter the outcome of the election.
At one point, Bartiromo said that according to a conservative website, The Federalist, “new evidence points to enough illegal votes in Georgia to tip the 2020 results.” This ignores the fact that Georgia’s top election official, a Republican, respected state election procedures and rejected claims on fraud.
Under Bartiromo’s nudge, Trump claimed that “there were no guns” during the riot on Capitol Hill. It’s wrong. Some people have brought guns to the Capitol grounds, according to indictment documents for insurgency-related crimes. Many people used other weapons, such as clubs and flag poles.
Trump described January 6 as “a party of love between the police, the Capitol police and the people who made it to the Capitol.” This is contradicted by the facts, including a bipartite Senate report, video proof and Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, who mentionned nearly 150 law enforcement officers were injured. Police beaten down a woman who was with a group of rioters near the entrance to the bedroom of the Maison du Capitole.
During his first campaign and his tenure, cable networks regularly broadcast live Trump’s daily movements and speeches, disinformation and everything. Some have since limited their coverage of Trump.
“They pay attention to the value of the news, if there is any,” said Aly Colón, professor of media ethics at the University of Washington and Lee and former faculty member at Poynter. “If there is no topical value, they see no point in being a megaphone for someone who may not be advancing anything or advancing things that are not correct, maybe be false. “
This exposed them to accusations of biased coverage or censorship from a major political leader.
This is why the media need to do a better job of explaining to the public how they determine media value and why certain events are or are not covered, said Laura Castañeda, professor of professional practice at the Annenberg School of Communication and Communication. journalism from the University of Southern California. .
“It could help to lessen accusations of public bias,” she said. “Transparency is the key. “
Other networks, like Newsmax and One America News Network, reach out to an audience of Trump supporters, and they stay on top of Trump’s news.
By broadcasting Trump’s events in their entirety and live, they are giving their viewers what they want, experts said.
“Die-hard Trump supporters will look to the medium that offers what they want,” said Jane E. Kirtley, professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota. “And right now, it’s all Trump, all the time”,
After Trump’s first post-presidential rally, Newsmax said that his “heated comeback to the political scene over the weekend was an audience crash for Newsmax, which beat Fox News in the key rankings.”
Experts said news networks and journalists are doing the public a disservice by not treating these events and individual interviews with more attention.
“Complying with lies is not the media’s proper role, and journalists should push back against lies and unsubstantiated statements,” Kirtley said.
It is also the responsibility of journalists to provide additional context and information that will help the public understand what is going on, Colón said.
“Although the former president sought to use every means of communication possible, that does not mean that every medium has to be either a recording, or a rehearsal, or a megaphone for everything he says,” Colón said. .
Where pro-Trump networks have been more cautious in recent months has been to counter allegations by Trump and his allies regarding the manipulation of voting machines used in the 2020 election – allegations that are the subject of criticism. ‘an ongoing litigation.
Fox News Network is facing $ 1.6 billion libel lawsuit filed in March by Dominion Voting Systems, alleging that it “endorsed, repeated and broadcast a series of verifiable but devastating lies about Dominion.”
Fox News seeks trial fired based on the first amendment.
But on July 11, while live streaming Trump’s speech at a conservative conference in Dallas, Fox News had an onscreen caption that read, “The voting system companies have denied the various allegations made. by President Trump and his lawyer regarding the 2020 Election. Tweeter by Oliver Darcy, a senior media reporter at CNN, the disclaimer appeared on screen for about 40 seconds.
Fox News and Newsmax also did clarifications on the air in December to disown the unsubstantiated allegations that aired on their shows, in response to complaints from Smartmatic, an election technology and software company.
Smartmatic in February filed for $ 2.7 billion libel suit against Fox News, some of its hosts and its parent company. They also have sought to dismiss The Smartmatic lawsuit on the grounds of the First Amendment.
In addition to the gunshot allegation on Capitol Hill, PolitiFact assessed several statements Trump has made in television interviews, speeches, and statements about the election and the riot since leaving office:
- At a press conference on July 7 to announce that he was taking legal action against several social media platforms: “The person who shot Ashli Babbitt – boom – in the head – just boom – he didn’t there was no reason for that. False.
- In a June 27 statement: “Facts have now come out to show conclusively” that the 2020 presidential election was not legitimate. Pants on fire!
- In a video statement released June 26 to delegates at the Wisconsin Republican Party convention: “In 2020, we won (Wisconsin).” Pants on fire!
- In a June 25 statement: Asserted that Republican leaders “are working hard to cover up electoral corruption in Wisconsin”. Pants on fire!
- In a June 22 statement: asserts that Georgia did not update its electoral rolls before the 2020 presidential election; “It means we (you!) Won the presidential election in Georgia. ” Pants on fire!
- In a June 5 speech to the North Carolina Republican Convention: “Republican state senators” who launched an audit of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County, Arizona “expose this fraud.” False.
- In a May 15 statement: “The entire Maricopa County Arizona database has been DELETED!” False.
- In a February 28 interview with Fox News host Steve Hilton: claimed he asked for “10,000 National Guardsmen” for his January 6 rally, but Nancy Pelosi “turned him down.” False.
Trump has also made questionable claims about the record of his own administration and the Biden administration:
- In an April 19 interview with Fox News, “Human and drug trafficking” at the Mexican border has “doubled, tripled and quadrupled” since Joe Biden became president. False.
- In a March 29 statement: Claimed that Deborah Birx “traveled a great distance to see her family for Thanksgiving, only to call the police and report them. She then… quit. Half true.
- In a March 21 statement: “We proudly handed over to the Biden administration the safest border in history. All they had to do was keep this system running smoothly on autopilot. ” Mostly False.
- In a February 28 speech at a political conference: Affirmed that the HR 1 Voting Rights Bill “automatically registers every welfare recipient to vote”. Mostly False.
- In a February 28 speech at a political conference: Affirmed that Joe Biden “effectively ordered the shutdown of ICE, ending virtually all evictions, everyone, murderers, everyone, not more”. False.
This article was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources of these fact checks here and more of their fact checks here.