Last night President Donald Trump gave a prime-time speech, and the address marked Trump’s first-ever Oval Office address to the nation. The topic — a wall on the southern border of the United States — is at the center of the partial government shutdown that’s into its third week with little sign of ending soon.
During the speech, many news outlets scrutinized the claims that the president made, and Fox News anchor Shepard Smith actually fact-checked Trump live, according to a Huffington Post report. Smith used numbers from the government to quickly correct possible misstatements and incorrect facts in real time.
In response to Trump’s claim that “innocent people” in the U.S. are “horribly victimized” by illegal immigrants, Smith quickly added some context. The Fox News personality said, “The government’s statistics show that there is less violent crime by the undocumented immigrant population than by the general population.”
In addition to details about illegal immigrants and crime, Trump also used drugs, specifically meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl, to justify his demand that Congress approve a budget with over $5 billion in funds for the physical barrier between the United States and Mexico. While drugs do enter into the U.S. via the southern border, the majority comes from ports of call via packages from China, Smith pointed out.
Also, the president believes that the situation at the border is an emergency for national security, but the number of people who cross the border illegally has dropped over the past decade.
NEW: The president got an instant fact check from Fox News' Shep Smith after his Oval Office speech https://t.co/h9VHIACfwW— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) January 9, 2019
Smith pointed out, “He talks about undocumented crossings over the past months. In fact, the number of undocumented crossings over the southern border has been steadily down over the last 10 years, and the government reports that there is more outward traffic than inward traffic.”
In the clip, Smith also discussed the situation with Fox News’ Chris Wallace. Wallace called the case that Trump made an offer the Democrats cannot accept, and the president needs bipartisan support to get Congress to send a budget to the Oval Office that includes the money to build the wall.
While several news agencies put out reports about the accuracy of the president’s speech, Fox News is often the organization that the president, as well as his supporters, watch to get their news. At times, Fox News appears to support the Trump administration, but lately, a few of its news personalities have contradicted some of what the Trump administration says.
Many people on Twitter spoke out about the instant fact-check in both positive and negative ways.
One user named Kenneth Lamb wrote, “Shepherd [sic] Smith so disappointing; goes on a fact check rant with Prez and nothing for Dems..fair and balance my butt.”
Another named James Wallace agreed tweeting, “Shepherd [sic] Smith, Chris Wallace. The condemnation of Trump speech is disappointing. I love Fox News. But after your report, I will stick to Trump Twitter. I’m done with local and cable news!!!! You are irrelevant!”
While plenty of people were angry to see the report on Fox News, others could not believe their eyes.
One Twitter user asked, “Holy sh**. Watched Fox News for the address tonight… And Shepherd [sic] Smith and Chris Wallace owning @realDonaldTrump… Is this real life?”
Overall, for people who support and people who do not support Trump, Smith’s report came as a surprise.