Dem Professor Mocks So-Called ‘Fact Checkers’ at ‘Biased,’ ‘Logic-Challenged’ Washington Post

An influential California professor, who is a self-professed “admirer of Bernie Sanders,” is backing Donald Trump against the “biased” and “logic-challenged” reporting of the Washington Post.

Norm Matloff, who is one of the nation’s leading experts on the tech labor market and guest-worker visa programs, tore into the Washington Post for “presenting biased spin as fact” in its effort to discredit Trump’s policy address on his plan for immigration reform.

“It’s time that the Post based its fact-checking on real facts, not presenting biased spin as fact,” Matloff wrote in a Thursday blog post titled, “Spin-Checking The Fact Checkers.”

Matloff has trained a generation of software engineers while working as a professor at UC Davis, and has done extensive analysis on how current federal immigration policies are driving down wages and taking away job opportunities for white-collar, college-educated American workers.

Matloff, a Democrat and “longtime admirer of Bernie Sanders,” mocked the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee as “logic-challenged” in their effort to portray Trump’s immigration address as somehow inaccurate.

“Following Donald Trump’s policy speech on immigration last night, the Washington Post put its fact checkers to work on analyzing it. As usual, their analysis is far more spin than fact,” Matloff wrote.

The Post’s “fact check” was subsequently cited and circulated in a “briefing” published by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Matloff begins by dissecting the Post’s analysis of Trump’s assertion that “illegal immigration costs our country more than $113 billion a year.”

“Trump states this $113 billion figure as an undisputed fact, but it comes from a report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform [FAIR], which seeks to dramatically reduce legal immigration. So you immediately have to look at the numbers with skepticism,” the Washington Post writes.

The Washington Post’s warning to “look at the numbers with skepticism” is interesting given that the Post later cites the George Soros-backed National Immigration Forum (NIF), which has lobbied for massively expanding immigration into the country, without similarly warning its readers to regard the NIF’s assertions “with skepticism.”

In particular, the Washington Post seeks to discredit FAIR’s report by noting that, “[FAIR’s report] counts the cost of educating the children of illegal immigrants, even if they are born in the United States and, thus, are U.S. citizens.”

Yet Matloff explains that the Post is employing a “common obfuscation” that immediately falls apart upon closer consideration.

“This is a common obfuscation, and no one should be fooled,” Matloff writes. “Without the unauthorized-immigrant parents, those kids would not have been born in the U.S. in the first place. So of course, the services used by the kids have to enter into the accounting.”

Matloff proceeds to debunk other aspects of the Washington Post’s so-called “fact check,” such as Trump’s declaration that “Hillary Clinton has pledged amnesty in her first 100 days, and her plan will provide Obamacare, Social Security and Medicare for illegal immigrants, breaking the federal budget”

The Washington Post attempts to discredit this statement by writing: “Trump falsely says Clinton’s plan will provide Social Security to illegal immigrants. We awarded this claim Four Pinocchios. In general, people in the United States illegally are not eligible to collect Social Security benefits.”

Matloff responded: “Four Pinocchios? I award 40 Dumbos to the Post. Trump was talking about amnesty, which by definition means that the illegals turn in to legals. Is the Post that logic-challenged?”

Matloff notes that while “Trump’s tone and language (including body language) last night were too over-the-top for my taste… contentwise, there actually was very little in his speech that most Americans would find seriously objectionable. It’s time that the Post based its fact-checking on real facts, not presenting biased spin as fact.”

As Breitbart News has previously reported, this is not the first time the Washington Post’s fact checkers have sought to characterize one of Trump’s declarations as false while disregarding data that would prove Trump’s statement to be indisputably correct.

When Breitbart News presented the Washington Post with a report, which undermined the Post’s assertion that a Trump statement deserved “four Pinocchios,”,the Post’s Michelle Lee told Breitbart that she had “not gotten a chance to look at all the data” from the report “in detail.”

“I can’t comment on the report,” Lee told Breitbart at the time.

Matloff’s analysis debunking the Washington Post so-called “fact check” can be read in full below:

Following Donald Trump’s policy speech on immigration last night, the Washington Post put its fact checkers to work on analyzing it. As usual, their analysis is far more spin than fact. A few points in particular are worth noting.

“[FAIR, whose report was cited by Trump] counts the cost of educating the children of illegal immigrants, even if they are born in the United States and, thus, are U.S. citizens”

This is a common obfuscation, and no one should be fooled. Without the unauthorized-immigrant parents, those kids would not have been born in the U.S. in the first place. So of course, the services used by the kids have to enter into the accounting.

“We should note that because the federal government is currently running a deficit, U.S. citizens also receive more in government benefits than they pay in taxes”

First, this is silly, as it counts as “benefits” things like waging expensive wars in the Middle East.

But more importantly, it is lumping together poor people and rich people. Poor people, including citizens, do pay less in taxes than they receive in services. Immigration, most of which consists of poor people, adds greatly to that burden. Those who call for reduced immigration are making the point that we already have enough poor people, and it is unwise to add even more to the tax burden. What’s not to understand?

Trump: “Hillary Clinton has pledged amnesty in her first 100 days, and her plan will provide Obamacare, Social Security and Medicare for illegal immigrants, breaking the federal budget”

WP: “Trump falsely says Clinton’s plan will provide Social Security to illegal immigrants. We awarded this claim Four Pinocchios. In general, people in the United States illegally are not eligible to collect Social Security benefits”

Four Pinocchios? I award 40 Dumbos to the Post. Trump was talking about amnesty, which by definition means that the illegals turn in to legals. Is the Post that logic-challenged?

Trump: “[The number of unauthorized immigrants is] 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”

WP: “…no serious research supports Trump’s claim it could be as high as 30 million”

For crying out loud, come on, Trump wasn’t presenting that 30 million number as a statistical estimate. He was just making the point that no one really knows the true figure.

“…the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants do not fit Trump’s description of aggravated felons, whose crimes include murder”

Trump has never said most of the illegals are criminals. So, I award 12 When-Did-You-Stop-Beating-Your-Wife points to the Post.

But it brings up an important question: Concerning immigrant crime, should one look at absolute numbers or proportions? Trump was focusing on the former, basically saying, “Without illegal immigration, these murdered Americans would be alive today.” Whether one agrees or not with this view of things, there is no denying that it is a legitimate, relevant form of analysis. It is similar to the tax burden example above; we already have a lot of criminals, so do we want to add even more criminals through immigration?

Unfortunately, many people have such poor math skills that they don’t even understand the difference between absolute numbers and proportions. I wrote a blog about this in the context of immigrant crime.

As usual, Trump’s tone and language (including body language) last night were too over-the-top for my taste. But contentwise, there actually was very little in his speech that most Americans would find seriously objectionable. It’s time that the Postbased its fact-checking on real facts, not presenting biased spin as fact.

 


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