Donald Trump Is Your Dad
Forwarding obvious Internet bullshit about crime, making up memories about Muslims
Do you know how your Dad (or your uncle, or whatever beloved-if-occasionally-cringe-inducing family member best fits this description) is always sending around forwarded emails that don't sound remotely true, having to do with stuff like crime and patriotism and refugees and Muslims and kids-nowadays? Do you know how a couple of times of year the mild amount of frustration this produces will overwhelm your otherwise good humor about it and you'll snap "Dad, in the amount of time you wrote that email, you could have seen that it wasn't true over at Snopes.com!"?
Well, Donald Trump is your Dad.
As Philip Bump notes in the Washington Post,
That is not true. According to data from the FBI, most whites are killed by whites, as most blacks are killed by blacks. There's an obvious reason for that: Most people are killed by someone they know — as is the case in 78.1 percent of homicides between 1980 and 2008, as we've noted before — and most people are related to and live near people who are of the same race as themselves.
Here's a Harper's Indexy way of looking at it:
81 – Percentage of white homicide victims killed by blacks in 2015, according to Donald Trump's twitter feed, retweeting a graphic from a made-up organization.
15 – Percentage of white homicide victims killed by blacks in 2014, according to the FBI.
That's not the only time this weekend that Trump hasn't let truth get in the way of disparaging minorities. On ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, the real estate tycoon was challenged about this statement he made on Nov. 21:
Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.
The full exchange is revealing (I'll bold some bits):
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, the police say that didn't happen and all those rumors have been on the Internet for some time. So did you meek—misspeak yesterday?
TRUMP: It did happen. I saw it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You saw that…
TRUMP: It was on television. I saw it.
STEPHANOPOULOS:—with your own eyes.
TRUMP: George, it did happen.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Police say it didn't happen.
TRUMP: There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down—as those buildings came down. And that tells you something. It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don't like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.
Donald Trump is just lying here. He did not "see" or "watch" "thousands and thousands of people" in Jersey City celebrate the twin towers go down, for the very good reason that no such images were ever broadcast on television. Among the fact-checking efforts I've seen on this claim—Snopes.com, Washington Post, the Associated Press, NJ.com, and so on—about the most evidence you can muster in the vague direction of Trump's story (minus him ever seeing any of it) is encapsulated here by Politifact:
The Associated Press, on Sept. 17, 2001, described "rumors of rooftop celebrations of the attack by Muslims" in Jersey City. But the same report said those rumors were "unfounded."
The Washington Post, on Sept. 18, 2001, published an article that claimed "law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river." The Post story includes no source for this information, and we found no evidence that any of these allegations ever stuck.
A more rampant rumor of Muslim or Arab-Americans cheering the attacks centered around nearby Paterson, N.J. But that turned out to be just a rumor, spawned by chain emails and perpetuated by shock jock Howard Stern's radio show.
The Star-Ledger reported that as the rumors spread, "Paterson police rushed to South Main Street, the center of the city's Middle Eastern community."
"When we got there, they were all in prayer," Paterson Police Chief Lawrence Spagnola said.
Glenn Kessler further drilled down on that Sept. 18, 2001 Washington Post article:
Of course, "a number of people" obviously does not equal "thousands" — and "allegedly" indicates there is no video footage or other proof that celebrations actually took place. Recall that Trump claimed he saw this on television — and that it was "well covered at the time."
Irfan Khawaja, an assistant professor of philosophy at Felician College in New Jersey, extensively attempted to trace the rumors of celebrations by Muslims in New Jersey and after months of inquiry came up with only the possibility that "a few Arab-American adolescents briefly relieved their political frustration in front of a library in South Paterson, a way that might be defined as celebrating."
But it does not matter that Donald Trump makes up memories about seeing thousands of Muslims cheer 9/11 in New Jersey, or retweets fake-ass crime stats making black people look like super-criminals. Why? Because Donald Trump's fanbase, and a wide swath of the conservative movement, simply hate the media more. As John Hinderaker says, "the hysterical and unqualified denunciations of Trump by the liberal media are far more misleading than his original statements were."
So Dad, you're off the hook again. Please pass the stuffing, and tell me more about those Syrian ISIS guys caught red-handed trying to sneak into the country!