The 2020 election cycle in the United States has been marked by the massive circulation of false and untrue. From photos of mail-in ballot papers being thrown in dumpsters to a presidential candidate apparently admitting election fraud, Americans fend off misinformation from all sides when they go to the polls. JowharObservers spoke with Daniel Funke, a fact-checking reporter for PolitiFact, about the most important pieces of misinformation that have been circulating in the weeks leading up to the US election.
Politifact, a non-partisan fact-checking site focusing on US politics, has controlled statements from both sides throughout the campaign and the election period. According to Funke, most of the misinformation spread ahead of the election seems to favor President Donald Trump.
After scrolling through social media every day, it seems that the majority of the misinformation and disinformation this time comes from conservative sources, whether it be sides or groups trying to defend the president’s record and drive him to further four years in the White House. has actually checked statements from Trump nearly 900 times, and only 12 percent of those statements were marked as “true” or “mostly true.” Meanwhile, 36 percent of Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s fact-checked statements have been considered “true” or “mostly true.”
Here are some of Funke’s choices for the biggest false and misleading claims shared this election season.
Fact-checking of allegations about Joe Biden’s son
Joe Biden’s alleged involvement in his son’s business dealings abroad – particularly in Ukraine and China – has been the subject of many conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated allegations scattered before the election.
These allegations center around a laptop said to belong to Hunter Biden, which contained evidence of shady business deals and criminal activity. According to a story from a tabloid, the NY Post, Hunter Biden sent an email trying to introduce his father to a businessman in Ukraine, at a time when Joe Biden was vice president and working on political negotiations with Ukraine.
Joe Biden must immediately release all emails, meetings, phone calls, transcripts and records related to his involvement in his family’s business and influence in shopping around the world – including in CHINA! Pic.twitter.com/H8RSR1tljV
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2020
On October 15, Donald Trump tweeted: ‘Joe Biden must immediately release all emails, meetings, phone calls, transcripts and records related to his involvement in his family’s business and influence in selling around the world including in CHINA! ‘
Funke explains: PolitiFact and other credible news organizations have not been able to verify the authenticity of these emails. But they created a protracted news cycle that we still cover a lot here, days after the election, when conservative media try to paint a portrait of the Biden family as corrupt, using their last name for lucrative international business deals. It’s not the only story that has inspired this laptop discovery. Claims began to spread online that the laptop allegedly belonged to Hunter Biden also contained a lot of child pornography and evidence of criminal activity.
So just for myself a look behind the scenes at the hard drive #HunterBiden:
Drugs, minor occupations, power agreements …
Druggie Hunter makes Anthony Weiner being under selfie addiction looks normal. # BidenCrimeFamily has a lot of excuses to do.
So does Big Tech. @OANN
Chanel Rion OAN (@ChanelRion) October 15, 2020 Chief White Correspondent for One America News Chanel Rion claimed to have seen “drugs, underage obsessions, powerdeals” on Hunter Biden’s hard drive, but provided no evidence of the allegation.
These allegations were traced back to QAnon, a conspiracy theory movement that has spread misinformation related to child trafficking and pedophilia.
In essence, this new version of conspiracy theory claims that the laptop that journalists have not been able to control actually belongs to Hunter Biden and contains images of minors and images of Hunter Biden abusing children. We have seen many of these allegations fly on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, whatever social media platform you may be thinking of in recent days, and we have found no evidence to back them up.
Trumps Covid claims: ‘to round the curve’ or ‘hoax’?
One of the most significant issues of misinformation this election season has been the impact and reaction of Covid-19 in the United States. From the beginning, Trump has downplayed the severity of the virus, even on several occasions, saying that the United States is “rounding off” and that the worst is over.
ALL FAKE NEWS MEDIA WILL TALK ABOUT IS COVID, COVID, COVID. NOVEMBER 4, YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR SO MUCH ABOUT IT ANY MORE. WE ARE ROUNDING THE TURN !!!
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2020
Trump claims that the United States ’rounds off the turn’ on Covid-19 in a Tweet sent on October 27.
The president continues to downplay rising case numbers and claims “we end the trip” despite an outburst in VP’s inner circle pic.twitter.com/f6SiRhBYWq
Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) October 25, 2020
‘We end the trip, we have the vaccines, we have everything,’ Trump said of the coronavirus at a demonstration in New Hampshire on October 25.
However, U.S. coronavirus numbers have been on a steady rise and have broken records for daily new cases. Funke explains: It’s pretty clear that the Trump campaign is trying to paint a rosy picture of how Trump is addressing the coronavirus pandemic when hospitalizations, deaths and new cases have actually increased. President Donald Trump says that we ’round off the curve’ on coronavirus, that it is almost over that we get better here in the United States. Our cases are going down and our deaths are going down. We rated this claim as false based on what we could find. Although Trump has made lots of false statements about coronavirus, he has also been the target of false allegations. A video shared by the Biden campaign took Trump out of context and made it seem like he was calling Covid-19 a deception. In fact, he called the Democrat’s reaction to the virus a scam.
Widespread voter fraud?
While some Americans go to the polls on November 3, an unprecedented number have already voted through early voting and mail-in voting, often due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Voting by mail has been a huge topic of misinformation.
Trump has on several occasions claimed that mail-in voting is rich in fraud, that ballot papers can be changed, and that some states do not confirm signatures.
Major problems and inconsistencies with Mail In polls across the United States. Must have the final amount on November 3rd.
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 26, 2020
In a Oct. 27 tweet, Trump claims there are ‘major problems and inconsistencies’ with mail-in polls.
Funke explains: There is no evidence to support these claims. There are relatively few incidents of voter fraud each year in the United States. Mail-in ballots in every state in the United States are secured by signatures and other means. President Donald Trump and his campaign have tried to incite the dangers in an attempt to really downplay a democratic turnout. Read more about Jowharobservers >> ‘Voter fraud alarm!’ – US voters publish photos of their unsolicited ballots online
The increase in election in mail-in ballot papers is likely to make voting a longer process than usual. Despite Trump’s false claim that counting votes after election day is in violation of U.S. law, there may not be a clear winner until well after November 3rd.
As Funke explains, misinformation will not stop flying when the polls close on Tuesday.
We do not expect to know a winner of the election on election night, as we typically do here in the United States. We expect to know a winner maybe in a week or a few weeks afterwards as more states count their mail-in polls. So that leaves plenty of room for uncertainty, and uncertainty creates fundamental misinformation. We are concerned about a campaign that comes out in advance and says, ‘Oh, we have won the election’ when in fact it is not carried by remaining mail-in votes or absent votes.
We will still be on the lookout for false claims about the election, even after a winner is declared.
This article was written by Pariesa Young.