For reasons best known to himself, Donald Trump decided to post an easily disprovable lie on Twitter today that his approval rating with black Americans has doubled:
Unemployment for Black Americans is the lowest ever recorded. Trump approval ratings with Black Americans has doubled. Thank you, and it will get even (much) better! @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2018
Of course it hasn’t doubled — to the contrary, Trump’s approval rating among black Americans has more than halved since his inauguration from already dismally low numbers as this gallup poll shows:
So what exactly was Trump thinking? Well, not much apparently as he got this fake statistic from the epicenter of shoddy reporting Breitbart.com (and no, we don’t link to Breitbart), and Fox News. The Washington Post thoroughly debunked the highly misleading piece, ridiculing the methodology reporter Neil Munro used to prove Trump wasn’t racist in light of his racist comments about Africans and Haitians:
“Donald Trump’s support among blacks has doubled since 2016, amid racism claims,” the headline for Munro’s piece read. It cites the numbers that Brownstein noted and declares that 23 percent approval from black men and 11 percent approval from black women “averages out to 17 percent, or twice the 8 percent score he was given in the 2016 exit polls.”
This is not how this works. You can’t just “average” the values from men and women, because they may not make up an even portion of the population. Nor can you then compare that average — which evaluates how people view Trump’s performance as president — to how those groups voted — an evaluation of whom people liked better as a candidate, Trump or Hillary Clinton. Trump’s overall approval rating is consistently lower than his vote share because a lot of people liked him a bit better than Clinton as a candidate but think he’s doing a bad job in office. Brownstein isolated the figure among black men because it was unusual in going the other direction.
Any objective observer who is at all familiar with poll numbers would see Munro’s article for what it is. Then there’s Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade.
On Tuesday morning’s “Fox and Friends,” the hosts were discussing a survey showing that most 2017 coverage of Trump’s presidency was negative. Kilmeade interjected with some good news.
“Believe it or not,” he said, “through all this negative coverage, they did a survey of 600,000 people about how black America views this president. His numbers have actually doubled in approval. It’s still low, it’s around 25 percent, but it’s doubled since the election.”
This of course is utter nonsense. Continued the Post:
First of all, they didn’t do a survey of 600,000 black Americans. Second of all, Kilmeade clearly thinks that saying “600,000” adds heft to the results, which, as we noted above, it doesn’t. Third, Trump’s approval numbers haven’t doubled, for the reasons above — and then some.
Approval numbers necessarily start only when a president takes office; after all, how are you going to evaluate the job performance of someone who doesn’t yet hold a job? Gallup has asked Americans their views of Trump’s job as president since his first week in office, allowing us to compare approval ratings among black Americans from the earliest point to the most recently available ratings (through the end of 2017).
Trump’s approval among black Americans fell nine points from January to December. Rather than doubling, his approval rating among those Americans was actually more than cut in half, dropping from 15 percent to 6 percent.
It is truly frightening to think that Fox and Breitbart are quite literally the only two sources Trump goes to for his news — two of the most dishonest media companies outside of InfoWars.com (and Trump is reportedly a fan of Alex Jones’s batshit insane site). These outlets are essentially at war with reality and engage in little more than childish propaganda to bolster a childlike president in office. And worse, it seems their reporting is now exclusively tailored to the liking of Trump himself, making it more ludicrous by the day. As Newt Gingrich said, “The two most effective ways of communicating with Trump are ‘Fox & Friends’ and ‘Hannity.’ ” And now we can add Breitbart to the mix.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.