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
  • PLANNED GIVING OFFICER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks a Planned Giving Officer. Do you find energy in...
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    The Methow Valley Citizens Council has a distinguished history of advocating for progressive land use and environmental values in the Methow Valley and Okanogan County...
  • ACTING INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS DESK EDITOR
    High Country News is seeking an Acting Indigenous Affairs Editor to oversee the work of our award-winning Indigenous Affairs Desk while our editor is on...
  • GRANTS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Cinnabar Foundation seeks an enthusiastic, team-oriented and knowledgeable Grants Program Director to work from their home in Montana. Established in 1983, the Cinnabar Foundation...
  • ARTEMIS PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Artemis Program Manager will work with National Wildlife Federation sporting and public lands staff to change this dynamic, continue to build upon our successful...
  • ALASKA SEA KAYAK BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Well-known and successful sea kayak, raft, hike, camp guiding & water taxi service. Sale includes everything needed to run the business, including office & gear...
  • MEMBERSHIP AND EVENTS PROGRAM COORDINATOR
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a detail-oriented and enthusiastic Membership and Events Coordinator to join our small, but mighty-fun team to oversee our membership...
  • PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT FACILITATOR
    ABOUT THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM Since opening in 1982, HIGH DESERT MUSEUM has brought together wildlife, culture, art and natural resources to promote an understanding...
  • LAND STEWARD, ARAVAIPA
    Steward will live on-site in housing provided by TNC and maintains preserve areas frequented by the visiting public and performs land management activities. The Land...
  • DEVELOPMENT WRITER
    Who We Are: The Nature Conservancy's mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we create...
  • CONNECTIVITY SCIENCE COORDINATOR
    Position type: Full time, exempt Location: Bozeman preferred; remote negotiable Compensation: $48,000 - $52,000 Benefits: Major medical insurance, up to 5% match on a 401k,...
  • EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
    ArenaLife is looking for an Executive Assistant who wants to work in a fast-paced, exciting, and growing organization. We are looking for someone to support...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Mountain Lion Foundation is seeking an Executive Director. Please see our website for further information - mountainlion.org/job-openings
  • WASHINGTON DC REPRESENTATIVE
    Position Status: Full-time, exempt Location: Washington, DC Position Reports to: Program Director The Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) is seeking a Washington, DC Representative...
  • REGIONAL CAMPAIGN ORGANIZER
    Position Title: Regional Campaign Organizers (2 positions) Position Status: Full-time, exempt Location: Preferred Billings, MT; remote location within WORC's region (in or near Grand Junction...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Driggs, ID based non-profit. Full time. Full job description available at tvtap.org. Submit cover letter and resume to [email protected]
  • ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSTRUCTION GEOPHYSICS
    - We find groundwater, buried debris and assist with new construction projects for a fraction of drilling costs.
  • SPRING MOUNTAINS SOLAR OFF GRID MOUNTAIN HOME
    Located 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada in the pine forest of Lee Canyon at 8000 feet elevation. One of a kind property surrounded...
  • MAJOR GIFTS MANAGER - MOUNTAIN WEST, THE CONSERVATION FUND
    Cultivate, solicit and steward a portfolio of 75-125 donors.
  • NATURE'S BEST IN ARAVAIPA CANYON
    10 acre private oasis in one of Arizona's beautiful canyons. Fully furnished, 2123 sq ft architectural custom-built contemporary home with spectacular views and many extras....