Lies and damn lies: What to believe on the campaign trail

HCN sorts truth from fiction on the campaign trail.

 

This past election cycle has been characterized by wild claims, with the national media roundly criticized by both sides for its inability to fact-check statements. Here we look at some of these claims and the realities they obscure. 

THE CLAIM
Colorado Republican Rep. Scott Tipton’s campaign has said that his challenger, former state Sen. Gail Schwartz, “led the charge in the war on coal at Colorado’s Capitol,” releasing ads pinning the closing of coal mines squarely on her. Schwartz has been a leader in renewable energy legislation, but there are more significant causes behind coal’s decline, including market shifts, bad management and federal regulations.

IN FACT
Though Schwartz has had an impact on Colorado’s energy policy, it is not accurate that she “led the charge” on the closing of coal mines.


THE CLAIM
In the Republican nominee’s long-awaited immigration speech in Arizona on Aug. 31, Donald Trump claimed that the federal government has “no idea” how many unauthorized immigrants live in the United States. “It’s always 11 million. Our government has no idea. It could be 3 million. It could be 30 million. They have no idea what the number is.”

IN FACT
The Department of Homeland Security puts the number at 11 million based on census data, a number supported by multiple nongovernmental research centers that has varied little in the last few years. 


THE CLAIM
During the Democratic National Convention, California Gov. Jerry Brown called Trump’s vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence, “a man who denies that there’s such a thing as evolution.”

IN FACT
Pence told MSNBC in 2009: “I embrace the view that God created the heavens and the earth and the seas and all that’s in them.” Though he has not stated outright that he believes in evolution, he has not explicitly denied its existence, either.


THE CLAIM
A press release from former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto’s campaign in her Senate race, against Nevada Rep. Joe Heck, said that it is “next to impossible” to find a difference between Heck and Trump on immigration.

IN FACT
This is decidedly untrue. Heck has not publicly supported building a solid border wall, has said he opposes mass deportation and that he is open to immigrants having opportunities to gain citizenship once in the U.S. — each point a fundamental divergence from Trump.  

Photo by Gage Skidmore

 

High Country News Classifieds
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, HIke the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT EDITOR
    High Country News (HCN) seeks an audience editor to attract and acquire new audiences and deepen engagement with them - in our newsletters, on our...
  • COMMUNITY MARKETER
    High Country News (HCN) is looking for a Community Marketer to build and strengthen relationships between HCN and other organizations and individuals, with the aim...
  • FINANCE & OPERATIONS MANAGER
    Job Announcement: Finance and Operations Manager Announcement date: July 16, 2021 Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and first review will begin: August...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Job Announcement: Development Director Announcement date: July 16, 2021 Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and first review will begin: August 9, 2021...
  • HECHO POLICY AND ADVOCACY MANAGER
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • HECHO NEW MEXICO SENIOR FIELD COORDINATOR
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • IDAHO STATE DIRECTOR
    The Wilderness Society is seeking a full time Idaho State Director who will preferably be based in Boise, Idaho. This position is part of our...
  • CAUCASIAN OVCHARKA PUPPIES
    Strong loyal companions. Ready to protect your family and property. Proven against wolves and grizzlies. Imported bloodlines. Well socialized.
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    The Nature Conservancy in Alaska is dedicated to saving the lands and waters on which all life depends. For more than 30 years, TNC has...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY, CLIMATE AND ENERGY PROGRAM
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING https://westernlaw.org/career-opportunity-climate-energy-staff-attorney/ ************************************************** Position Title: Climate and Energy Program Staff Attorney Reports to: Climate and Energy Program Director Location: Helena, Montana; other...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY, WILDLANDS AND WILDLIFE PROGRAM
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING https://westernlaw.org/career-opportunity-wildlands-staff-attorney/ ************************************************** Position Title: Wildlands and Wildlife Program Staff Attorney Reports to: Wildlands and Wildlife Program Director Location: Portland or Eugene,...
  • DISCOUNT SOLAR PANELS
    New w/25 year warranty. Shipped anywhere in the lower 48. Minimum order of 10 units. Call, text or email for current prices. .50-.80/ watt
  • SWEET MOUNTAIN HOME
    3.8 acres in pine and fir forest on a year round creek. Custom home, 2x6 framing, radiant heat, wrap around decks and established berry patch....
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT - (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time Customer Service Assistant, based at...
  • LEGAL DIRECTOR AND STAFF ATTORNEY
    Friends of the San Juans' Legal Director and Staff Attorney ("Legal Director") leads our legal advocacy and litigation practice and participates in many other organizational...
  • SPRING-FED PARCELS ON THE UPPER SAC RIVER
    Adjacent parcels above the Upper Sacramento river, near Dunsmuir. The smaller is just under 3 acres, with the larger at just under 15 acres. Multiple...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Wilderness Volunteers Wilderness Volunteers (WV), a 24-year leader in preserving our nation's wildlands, is seeking a motivated person with deep outdoor interests to guide our...
  • POEM+ NEWSLETTER
    Start each month with a poem in your inbox by signing up for Taylor S. Winchell's monthly Poem+ Newsletter. No frills. No news. No politics....