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Trump rages against the Today show over a basic fact-checking segment

Americans are learning that they never have to wait long to find out what is newly enraging President-elect Donald Trump. And Wednesday morning, two days before his inauguration, was no exception. Trump lashed out at NBC News so bitterly that you could practically hear his feet stamping through his Twitter feed: Totally biased @NBCNews went […]

By Tommy Christopher - January 18, 2017
Donald Trump

Trump lashed out at NBC News so bitterly that you could practically hear his feet stamping through his Twitter feed:

Trump was responding to a relatively mild fact-checking segment which debunked the idea that Trump deserves credit for jobs that companies already had planned before his electoral victory:

LAUER: Over the weekend, Trump warned in a tweet, car companies and others, if they want to do business in our country, have to make things here again.

HALL: On Tuesday, General Motors announced a $1 billion investment in the U.S., and Walmart has revealed plans to add 10,000 jobs this year.

LAUER: So, Trump followed up those announcements with another tweet, thanking them for starting the big jobs push back into the U.S. So, how much credit should the president-elect actually be taking? Let’s bring in MSNBC’s Ari Melber. Ari, let me give you the numbers here with GM. They announced a $1 billion investment, 1,500 new jobs, 450 jobs that would be coming back from Mexico. And some 5,000 jobs over the next few years. You can look at this and you can say, “They read that tweet and so that’s why they reacted this way.” What’s the reality?

MELBER: Donald Trump seems to think they read the tweet. The reality, Matt, is that GM has said this is not a response to Donald Trump. It is part of a four-year efficiency plan which included a larger number, $2.9 billion, in investments last year.

HALL: We’ve seen the power of these tweets. Look what happened with Boeing when the president-elect took on the cost of the new Air Force One: Their stock nosedived. It’s happened with other companies. How are the companies preparing for these potential hostile tweets, and are they worried what it does to their stock prices?

MELBER: They are worried, because we see momentary dips, although most of the market capitalization comes back up fairly quickly. Companies are willing to deal with this as a PR issue. So, we have seen them say that they are accelerating, or reacting, or rolling out announcements in order to try to avoid any bad, basically Twitter attention from Donald Trump. They have all stressed, just about — except for the Carrier deal, which involved some state benefits from a state government — they’ve all pretty much stressed that they are not changing their business model.

LAUER: So let’s go back to where we started. If you had to rate the president-elect’s impact on job creation or job preservation over the course of this two-month transition, how would you rate it?

MELBER: According to the companies we hear from, it is very small or non-existent. There is a fantasy football aura to all this, because Donald Trump is saying things on the Internet, and then when companies do things, he’ll selectively respond to it. Another important point here is these companies have a legal obligation to basically pursue what they call “shareholder value.” They cannot just respond to a politician, even the president, and put some sort of political or PR messaging above the legal obligation they owe to their shareholders to do what they think is best in the long-term interests. Another point, Matt, as you know, many of these companies stress their investment decisions are months, if not years, in the making. They are not responses to a couple of days of internet attention.

Given the facts, NBC News took it very easy on Trump, failing to mention, for example, that the tweet Trump used to tank Boeing’s stock was a complete lie, or that Trump lied and took credit for Sprint jobs after he had already been called out for taking credit for those same jobs several weeks earlier, or that Trump is still lying about the number of jobs “saved” by the Carrier deal, which also saw an even greater number of jobs still go to Mexico.

With just two days to go before inauguration, the next leader of the free world is consumed by debunking verifiable facts with lies, which some will glibly brush off or ignore. Trump’s enmity toward the free press and desperation to take credit for comparatively tiny job gains that he had nothing to do with have quickly become features of daily American life. And the degree to which this is not normal cannot be overstated, or stated often enough.

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