Sunday, May 20, 2018
Politics

PunditFact fact-checks the Aug. 3 news shows

Pundits and politicians in Washington spent Sunday talking about why we're talking about impeachment.

Democrats point the finger at conservatives such as former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who have raised the possibility of impeaching President Barack Obama for what they describe as abuse of his executive power.

Republicans blame Democrats for stoking an imaginary crisis, using the words of Palin and others as a fundraising gimmick and scare tactic.

There is probably some truth to both arguments.

In July, left-leaning MSNBC mentioned the words "impeach" or "impeachment" 801 times on air, according to a PunditFact review of closed captioning information. On Fox News in the same time period: 370 mentions.

Yet few Americans actually support impeaching Obama — 33 percent, according to a new CNN poll. On Fox News Sunday, pundit Juan Williams suggested the minority who support impeachment have several things in common.

"They are all white, they're all older, and guess what, they're in the far right wing of the Republican Party," Williams said.

"All" is going too far, but Williams' claim rates Mostly True.

The publicly available polling shows that the people who support impeachment are more likely to be white, conservative and older. In a Fox News poll, about a third of the public supported impeachment, while about two-thirds of tea partiers said they did. In another poll conducted for the Huffington Post, 40 percent of whites supported impeachment compared with 10 percent of African-Americans.

Theda Skocpol, a professor of government and sociology at Harvard University, said Williams took "a few everyday language shortcuts, but he is basically right."

"In our research in 2010-11, we found that conservative Republicans/tea party sympathizers are overwhelmingly white and definitely tend to be older," Skocpol said. "Now, keep in mind that all Republicans tend, statistically speaking, to be older and whiter than other Americans. So any time you talk about Republicans, you are talking older and whiter. And of course, only Republicans tell pollsters in a majority that they favor impeachment."

The situation at the southern U.S. border also remained in the news for another week, after Congress failed to pass legislation on Friday before adjourning for a five-week recess.

On CNN's State of the Union, Texas Gov. Rick Perry reiterated the severity of the problem, highlighting what he said are "historic record highs" of people being apprehended along the border with ties to terrorist havens.

"My citizens' safety is what is foremost here and hasn't got anything to do other than those numbers of individuals who are coming across the border, and when you think about the idea that some of them are from countries that have substantial terrorist ties, whether it's Pakistan or Afghanistan or Syria, we are historic record highs with individuals being apprehended from those countries," Perry said.

Perry's claim is a bit of a puzzler. We rate it Pants on Fire.

The most recent Department of Homeland Security data does not show record apprehensions of individuals from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria or any other countries where terrorists operate, nor does it show an upward trend in apprehensions of individuals from those areas.

Moreover, while Perry was using this statement to justify bringing more resources to the Texas-Mexico border, an apprehension and other enforcement measures can happen at the border, in the country's interior or at designated places outside of the United States.

Historically, a very small number of people from the Middle East or South Asia who try to enter the United States illegally do so through a land border, said Stephen Kelly, former deputy chief of mission for the United States in both Mexico and Canada.

"People from those areas are more likely to try to enter via an airport, perhaps with false documents," said Kelly, a public policy professor at Duke University.

Lastly, the number of apprehensions of individuals from Pakistan, Syria and Afghanistan is incredibly low compared with the primary sources of immigrants who are in the country illegally. In 2012, Homeland Security officials apprehended nearly 450,000 Mexicans, 55,000 Guatemalans and 50,000 Hondurans. In contrast, officials apprehended 95 Afghans, 458 Pakistanis and 56 Syrians.

Lauren Carroll contributed to this report. Read the full fact-checks at PunditFact.com.

 
Comments
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Updated: 8 hours ago
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18
Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

With six months to go before the Nov. 6 election, Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell on Monday dropped her bid against Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard for the at-large District 2 seat.Caudell said she decided she’d better be better suited f...
Published: 05/14/18
Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

To: The Honorable Gov. Rick ScottDear Governor,It has come to my attention that your administration has recently made some, dare I say, innovative hires for important government positions in the months before you leave office.At the risk of sounding ...
Published: 05/14/18