Fact Check: Midterm Misinformation Exposed

Fact Check: Midterm Misinformation Exposed
Fact Check: Midterm Misinformation Exposed

The midterms were a time of turmoil this year; Blue claimed they would storm the House and Senate, while Republicans refused to hand over control. In the months and weeks before voters cast their ballot, we anxiously watched the drama unfold.
And as you might expect, that drama brought with it several lies, falsehoods and attempts to spin the truth into something that would fire people up. While everyone involved always believes their own side is the one truth, the reality is that truthfulness often lies somewhere in the middle.
Call it centrist, realist or even just logical. Either way, the goal of this fact-checking post is simple: we’re investigating five of the most common midterm election rumors shared in recent days. We’ll tell you if they’re false, if they’re true, and why all is not as it seems at first glance.
Fact: Foreign Nationals Created Fake Facebook Accounts to Interfere with Midterms
Status: True
A statement released the day before midterm elections by the social media platform did reveal this fact as truthful. Facebook removed approximately 115 accounts who were “engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior” after being tipped off by U.S. government law enforcement agencies.
The fake accounts were created to look like real celebrities and political news outlets. All appeared to be sharing and/or posting about the midterm elections and various levels of rumor surrounding it.
It isn’t known exactly who the entities controlling these accounts were or what they had hoped to achieve. Facebook made mention of Russia’s infamous Internet Research Agency at the end of their statement on the matter, but shied away from outright accusations.
Fact: Black Panthers Were Caught Intimidating Voters at Georgia Polls
Status: Complicated
As one of the tightest races in the country unfolded between Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams, rumors began to swirl that the Black Panthers were threatening voters at Georgian polls. This one is based in truth, but Kemp twisted it into something it was really never meant to be in a post on Twitter.
“The Black Panther Party is backing my opponent. RT if you think Abrams is TOO EXTREME for Georgia! http://ow.ly/VRns30muH5d #gapol #gafirst #tcot #gagop “
Embedded in the tweet was an image of four African-American men, all open carrying while standing in front of a sign supporting Stacey Abrams. It also linked to a Breitbart article, the original poster of the image, which compared the small gathering to an earlier 1000-person rally for Trump.
Another Facebook group called the Trump Train re-shared it and added their own flair:
“Black Panthers, a radicalized-racist militant group, are armed with assault weapons roaming the streets and neighborhoods as well as the voting polls in Georgia to intimidate and ‘persuade’ Voters to vote for the far-left democrat candidate, Stacey Abrams for Governor.”
What’s true: A group named the New Black Panthers does exist, and they did host a small protest on November 3rd on a street corner in Atlanta.
What’s false: The meeting did not occur near any poll, nor did the individuals involved attempt to influence voters. It involved just five men, all of whom have refuted claims of attempts to intimidate. Instead, they were allegedly protesting Georgia’s controversial exact match law.
Fact: MSNBC Showed Early Rigged Results on National TV
Status: Complicated
Early on October 5, major national news outlet, MSNBC, flashed a results card on national television for the race between Florida’s Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis. The card listed 99 percent of the votes as counted and showed Gillum in the lead by approximately 45,600 votes. The problem? Polls didn’t open for nearly 10 hours.
What’s true: MSNBC did flash this image on screen for approximately 10 seconds on the air. It was quickly removed, but it was indeed shown.
What’s false: The image shown wasn’t a prediction or even proof of election rigging. Instead, it was a simple mistake – at least, according to MSNBC. The news outlet claims it was a mockup image for testing purposes only, and was accidentally swapped in in place of the correct image.
Fact: Undocumented Immigrants Caused Democratic Wins
Status: False
During every election, pervasive rumors suggest that undocumented immigrants are voting in mass numbers. Even before midterms started, some people were claiming that any Democratic wins would be a direct result of this mass voter fraud. When the Left pulled off a successful win and took the house, those rumors became even more feverous.
The good news is that this one is just plain false and always has been. In fact, historically, non-citizen votership has largely come down to clerical errors. According to the Brennan Center, just 50 illegal votes were destroyed for this reason in 2016, during President Trump’s campaign.
Some of the confusion stems from an Internet video published by James O’Keefe. The video shows an election official claiming that, as long as the citizen is registered on the voter list, they have the legal right to vote – including DACA and Dreamers who errantly make it onto the list.
The reality is that election clerks are supposed to verify citizenship before permitting voters to fill out a ballot. Someone who is a DACA or Dreamer isn’t a citizen, and therefore should be denied access. This seems to come down to an issue of poorly informed clerks, but it’s difficult to say it’s proof of fraud with any surety.
Fact: President Trump is Actively Supporting Democrat Nancy Pelosi
Status: True
Shortly after midterm elections wrapped up, Democrat Nancy Pelosi announced that she would seek Speaker of the House. Trump followed this up with a surprising statement that he, too, agreed that Pelosi should fulfill the role.
“I think she deserves it,” he tweeted. “She’s fought long and hard, she’s a very capable person, and you know, you have other people shooting at her trying to take over the speakership.”
Even more surprisingly, Trump didn’t just support her for the role – he offered to put Republican votes behind her should anyone attempt to challenge her.
“In all fairness, Nancy Pelosi deserves to be chosen Speaker of the House by the Democrats,” he stated. “If they give her a hard time, perhaps we will add some Republican votes. She has earned this great honor!
This is by far the most bipartisan move we’ve seen from the President, but it isn’t exactly surprising. Trump has a remarkable ability to discern between when to put his foot down and when to work together for the greater good. All in a day’s work when trying to Make America Great Again!