November 6, 2020

This week, MediaWise’s Teen Fact-Checking Network took on seven claims, focusing hard on the 2020 presidential election, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. 

The internet asked if Trump tried to stop vote counting in states where he led and continue vote counting in states where he was behind, if 300,000 mail-in ballots were missing, if Trump called for Biden’s assassination, if ballot selfies are illegal, if The New York Times gave Hillary Clinton very high odds of winning in 2016, if the Obama administration really built child separation cages, and if Biden’s energy plan would take air conditioning, heat and electricity away from seniors. Here are our answers. 

Does Trump want to stop counting votes in some states and not others?


Twitter posts claimed President Trump wants to stop counting in states where he’s ahead and keep counting in states where he’s behind. At one point, Trump wanted vote counting in Arizona to continue as he called for it to stop in other states, but he has since called for all vote counting to stop. 

MediaWise rating: Needs context 

Are 300,000 mail-in ballots missing?


Social media posts claimed 300,000 mail-in posts were missing and sitting in the U.S. Postal Service system. A judge ordered certain Postal Service processing centers to be inspected after the Postal Service reported that it couldn’t trace 300,000 ballots nationwide that were scanned when arrived at processing facilities, but not when they were sent out. Upon inspection, only 13 undelivered ballots were found. Some ballots postmarked by hand might not have been scanned. We won’t know how the Postal Service did with mail-in ballot deliveries until states finalize their counts of mail-in ballots.  

MediaWise rating: Needs context 

Did Donald Trump call for the assassination of Joe Biden?

The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump political action committee, posted a video of Donald Trump referring to Joe Biden as “shot,” suggesting in a tweet that the president was “calling for the assassination of his political opponent.” In the context of Trump’s full remarks, it’s clear that Trump was suggesting Biden would have to step down from office if he were elected president because of mental deterioration when he used the word “shot,” and was claiming that Biden’s reduced mental state would lead to Kamala Harris becoming president.

MediaWise rating: Not Legit

Are ballot selfies illegal?


Social media posts have claimed taking a selfie with your ballot is illegal. State election laws vary, but in some states it is in fact illegal to share images of your filled-out ballot. Here’s a map that shows where ballot selfies are and aren’t illegal. 

MediaWise rating: Legit 

Did the New York Times give Hillary Clinton very high odds of winning in 2016?


A viral post claimed that The New York Times shared a graphic giving Hillary Clinton a 91% chance of winning the 2016 election. The New York Times did share this graphic a few weeks before the 2016 election. Closer to the election, the Times projected that Clinton had a lower chance to win. 

MediaWise rating: Legit

Who built the cages?


During the second presidential debate, Donald Trump claimed the Obama administration built cages used to incarcerate undocumented children separated from the parents after Biden criticized his immigration policy. This viral meme repeats the claim. While the Obama administration constructed the holding facilities, it did not use them for child separation like the Trump administration has. Also, the photo used in this meme is clearly photoshopped and uses a photo taken during Trump’s presidency. 

MediaWise rating: Mixed Bag

Would Biden’s energy plan get rid of seniors’ air conditioning, heat and electricity?


At a campaign rally, Donald Trump claimed that Joe Biden’s energy plan would lead to seniors losing access to air conditioning, heat and electricity because of support for wind power. While Biden does support wind power among other alternative sustainable sources of power, his plan does not include taking these services away from seniors. We found no evidence to indicate it would lead to seniors losing these services. Furthermore, adding renewable energy to the power grid does not lead to less reliable access to power. 

MediaWise rating: Not legit

Fact-check sources

Does Trump want to stop counting votes in some states and not others? 

Are 300,000 mail-in ballots missing? 

Did Donald Trump call for the assassination of Joe Biden? 

Are ballot selfies illegal?

Did the New York Times predict a nearly guaranteed win for Clinton in 2016? 

Who built the cages? 

Would Biden’s energy plan get rid of seniors’ air conditioning, heat and electricity?

These fact checks are available at IFCN’s 2020 U.S. Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here for more.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Donate

More News

Back to News