Publicly funded NPR attempted to produce a heavy-hitting fact check on claims made by President Trump in his well-received State of the Union Address Tuesday — but the “fact check” ended up checking the factuality of some claims he never made.
As pointed out by outlets on the Right, including the Federalist and Twitchy, NPR’s “fact check” on Trump’s correct assertion that we have “more women serving in Congress than in any time before” suggested that he was claiming that he and the Republican Party were the reason — an assertion he didn’t even hint at.
“FACT CHECK: President Trump praised the record number of women in Congress, but that’s almost entirely because of Democrats, not Trump’s party,” NPR declared in a tweet promoting its big “fact check” of Trump’s second SOTU.
Here are some excerpts from NPR’s fact-checking blog on this section of Trump’s speech, which demonstrates how much effort the organization put into trying to find something to decry.
“All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before,” said Trump.
NPR’s response: That’s true, but more men are also in the workforce…
There are more women in the labor force than ever before, but then, there are also more men in the labor force than ever before.
Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate for women — the share of women who are working or looking for work — has leveled off and started to drop, after decades of growing. While the level for men is falling as well, the two have never come close to converging.
This has led economists to dig into what is keeping women from working. One 2017 paper from the Brookings Institution found that while some factors are likely affecting women and men alike, more access to paid leave and affordable child care could help more women get into the workforce.
“And exactly one century after Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before,” announced Trump, to applause by women, including Democratic women, in the chamber.
NPR’s “fact check”: Yes, but Democrats are to thank, not Republicans (and there still aren’t enough women in Congress)!
There are more women in Congress than ever before, but that is almost entirely because of Democrats, not Trump’s party. The number of Republican women in the House has, in fact, fallen from 23 in the last Congress to 13 in this one.
Altogether, there are 127 women in Congress, up from 110 in 2018. But even with that large jump, women remain hugely underrepresented on Capitol Hill — less than 1 in 4 members of Congress is a woman. (Meanwhile, women are the majority of voters.)
“As part of our commitment to improving opportunity for women everywhere, this Thursday, we are launching the first ever government-wide initiative focused on economic empowerment for women in developing countries, to build on — thank you,” Trump continued, to more applause.
NPR didn’t bother checking that.
While the Democrat-sympathisizing media has predictably attempted to protray Trump’s speech as misleading and divisive, an overwhelming percentage of viewers responded positively to it. Both CNN and CBS News found that over three-quarters of viewers approved of his speech and CBS found that about the same percentage agreed with his comments on his big agenda items.