To hear Sean Hannity tell it, Donald Trump won Monday night’s debate against political rival, Hillary Clinton. Within hours of the debate, which was held at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York, Hannity and other talking heads at Fox were lauding Trump’s “win” against Clinton. The Donald himself tweeted his delight at having “won” the debate against Hillary.
Trouble is, what they said isn’t true. In fact, both Trump and Hannity lied outright, and Fox News watchers believed it. Are lies the standard at Fox News? It certainly looks that way to anyone who takes the time to learn the truth for themselves.
On his first Fox News show following the Clinton-Trump debate, Hannity referred to a variety of polls that he claimed as proof that Trump was the winner of the debate.
“I’ll give you the list of polls. Time Magazine, Drudge Report, CNBC, The Hill, CBS. The only one that has Hillary winning is CNN and they’re the Clinton News Network anyway. CNN’s poll had 500 respondents… These [online] polls have thousands of respondents and CNN is the Clinton News Network.”
Really, Hannity? CBS didn’t do a poll after the debate, and the other polls you cited on Fox News are no indication of the true feelings of American voters.
Major Garrett is chief White House correspondent at CBS. Upon hearing that Sean Hannity was calling a win for Trump based in part on a CBS post-debate poll, Garrett tweeted the truth that CBS conducted no poll after Monday night’s debate.
On Tuesday, Fox News’ vice president of public-opinion research, Dana Blanton, released an internal memo in which she soundly reprimanded Hannity and other Fox employees for referring to unscientific and sometimes non-existent polls, reports Business Insider.
“As most of the publications themselves clearly state, the sample obviously can’t be representative of the electorate because they only reflect the views of those Internet users who have chosen to participate. Another problem — we know some campaigns/groups of supporters encourage people to vote in online polls and flood the results.
“These quickie click items do not meet our editorial standards. News networks and other organizations go to great effort and rigor to conduct scientific polls — for good reason. They know quick vote items posted on the web are nonsense, not true measures of public opinion.”
Reporter and Washington Post news analyst Phillip Bump pulled no punches when he explained that online polls are self-selected and in no way scientific.
“Polls like the one at Drudge or Alex Jones’s or USA Today‘s [websites] are entertainment, no more a poll that gauges reality than grabbing a lariat for a sepia-toned photo at the fair makes you an 1890s cowboy.”
Debate results aren’t the only thing Trump lied about
When debate moderator Lester Holt mentioned Trump’s support of the Iraq war, Donald interrupted him with a rapid denial that he’d ever been in support of the increasingly unpopular conflict. Holt noted that Trump’s record clearly shows his support of the Iraq invasion, even as Trump blathered his denial. Here’s a word-for-word transcript of Donald refuting Holt’s claim:
“The record shows that I’m right. When I did an interview with Howard Stern, very lightly, first time anyone’s asked me that, I said, very lightly, I don’t know, maybe, who knows? Essentially. I then did an interview with Neil Cavuto. We talked about the economy is more important. I then spoke to Sean Hannity, which everybody refuses to call Sean Hannity. I had numerous conversations with Sean Hannity at Fox. And Sean Hannity said — and he called me the other day — and I spoke to him about it — he said you were totally against the war, because he was for the war.”
The Howard Stern interview in question happened in September 2002, six months before the United States declared war on Iraq. When Stern asked Trump whether he favored the impending invasion, Trump responded,
“Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
Trump’s lighthearted answer evidently references the decision of former President George H.W. Bush not to invade Iraq after liberating Kuwait in the Gulf war, says Erik Wemple in the Washington Post. The Post‘s fact-checker went a step further, reminding readers that Trump’s repeated claims that he was a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq are false.
Which candidate will get your vote in November? Choose wisely, and please inform yourself of the true facts before pledging your vote to anyone.
[Featured Image by Rob Kim/Stringer/Getty Images]