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The New York Times Had Trouble Fact-Checking Hillary’s Speech – Here’s Why

While Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech emphasized "I sweat the details of policy," The New York Times is forced to admit as it began its fact-checking, she delivered a speech that was remarkably without hard facts

Much of her address was a mix of descriptions of her upbringing, assertions of her opinions and generalized attacks on Donald J. Trump. She talked about marching “toward a more perfect union” and said Mr. Trump “doesn’t like talking about his plans.” And even when she said “I love talking about mine,” she offered few concrete numbers or assertions to examine. Instead, she spoke in general terms about making “college tuition-free for the middle class” and giving “a boost” to small businesses.

There were, however, a few factual assertions that could be checked — so we did:

CLAIM: “Children like Ryan kept me going when our plan for universal health care failed, and kept me working with leaders of both parties to help create the Children’s Health Insurance Program that covers eight million kids in our country.”

FACT CHECK: This is true. Mrs. Clinton has at times claimed full credit for the program. But by saying in the speech that she “worked with leaders of both parties to help create” the program, her statement fits with the facts. And the health insurance program does currently serve 8.1 million children, according to Medicaid.

 

CLAIM: “Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. Nearly 15 million new private-sector jobs.”

FACT CHECK: This is true. Since early 2010, when the economy stopped losing jobs every month, 14.8 million jobs have been added in the longest streak of private-sector job growth in history. Critics say job growth would have been higher if a different set of economic policies were in place, but that is impossible to prove.

 

CLAIM: There are now “20 million more Americans with health insurance.”

FACT CHECK: This is largely true. According to a recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services, about 20 million Americans have gained health coverage under the Affordable Care Act from its passage in 2010 to early 2016. However, critics argue that the law has caused premiums to rise, sometimes drastically for people who already had health insurance.

 

CLAIM: There is now “an auto industry that just had its best year ever.”

FACT CHECK: This is largely true. Auto sales in the United States reached a new high in 2015, with about 17.4 million vehicles sold. That represented a 5.8 percent increase from 2014. But the auto industry has changed significantly. Detroit’s Big Three automakers have a much lower market share than they once did. Auto manufacturing also employs fewer people than it used to, although there have been gains since the Great Recession.

 

CLAIM: “More than 90 percent of the gains have gone to the top 1 percent.”

FACT CHECK: This depends on the time frame you consider. From 2009 to 2012, the top 1 percent of families captured 91 percent of total real family income growth, according to Emmanuel Saez, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley. But over a longer period of time, the picture looks less lopsided: From 2009 to 2015, 52 percent of the income gains went to the top 1 percent, according to Mr. Saez.

 

CLAIM: “In Atlantic City, 60 miles from here, you will find contractors and small businesses who lost everything because Donald Trump refused to pay his bills.”

FACT CHECK: This is true. Several news organizations have documented many specific instances where contractors say Mr. Trump or his organization refused to pay them for work they had done, in Atlantic City and elsewhere. Mr. Trump and his representatives say that if those payments were not made, it was because the work that was done was unsatisfactory.

 

CLAIM: “Trump suits in Mexico, not Michigan. Trump furniture in Turkey, not Ohio. Trump picture frames in India, not Wisconsin.”

FACT CHECK: This is partly true, though without much context. Fact-checkers have found several examples of Trump clothing like suits, ties and shirts that have labels showing they were made in places like Mexico, Bangladesh and China. But some have labels showing they were made in the United States, and as of 2014, the clothing and footwear association reported that 97 percent of all clothing and 98 percent of all footwear was imported from overseas. Some of Mr. Trump’s furniture is made in Turkey.

Source: New York Times

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