Morning Joe Charts: Trump’s Prolific Rise in Falsehoods

On MSBNC’s Morning Joe today, Steven Rattner presented charts detailing the rising trend in Trump’s falsehoods which have not only increased alongside his more frequent comments, but have done so at a faster rate.

President Trump is well known for his frequent falsehoods (more simply, lies). What might not be as well known is that he is lying more and more often. Now, thanks to the Toronto Star, this has been documented. The Star analyzed the 1,340,330 words that Mr. Trump has spoken (and tweeted) since he took office and found 1,929 false statements involving 68,928 words.

The grey bars on this chart shows the number of false claims the president has uttered each week since his inauguration (through July 1). The red line, which has been statistically fitted to the somewhat volatile weekly numbers, shows clearly the upward trend, from roughly 8 lies per week at the beginning of his administration to 40 per week in late June.

Note that the last two weeks of June were particularly prolific weeks for Trump lies. And in the first 10 days of July, Mr. Trump delivered himself of an additional 43 lies.

(The Washington Post has done its own analysis and found more lies – 3,251 through May 31 – and a similar rise in frequency.)

Mr. Trump’s defenders might argue that his lies have increased because the number of words he has spoken has risen. Yes, we are hearing more from the president; however, the frequency of lies has increased faster than the number of words. At the beginning of his term, about 2% of his words were part of falsehoods; now that is up to about 8.5%. Put another way, just less than 1 out of every 10 words uttered by Mr. Trump is part of a falsehood.

This chart breaks down the sources of his lies. What I found surprising was that by far the biggest source of his falsehoods have been his speeches. You would think that a formal speech has been written out and fact checked. I can’t explain whether the falsehoods were in the written text or were part of Mr. Trump’s frequent impromptu insertions as he delivers his remarks.

The number of falsehoods in interviews is also interesting, given that Mr. Trump has given fewer than 60 of them. That’s an average of 6.3 lies per interview. And note that roughly half of Mr. Trump’s interviews have been with Fox News, so it’s not as if he’s been pressured by tough questions.