HOST MICHEL MARTIN: This weekend we're following news of President-elect Donald Trump's emerging Cabinet and the CIA's claim that Russia interfered in U.S. elections in favor of Donald Trump. Seven Democratic U.S. senators signed a letter yesterday saying they want some of this new information declassified. Donald Trump, speaking to Fox News, says he does not believe it, and that Democrats are just trying to make excuses for their losses.No challenge was offered to Trump's Big Lie claim that Democrats "suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country."
DONALD TRUMP: I think the Democrats are putting it out because they suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country and, frankly, I think they're putting it out, and it's ridiculous.
On my local station, this came immediately after the 5:00 P.M. news summary. I can't embed that, but it began:
JANINE HERBST, NPR: Republican senator John McCain is calling for a bipartisan investigation into allegations the Russians interfered with the U.S. presidential elections. McCain, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says he also wants to see the Senate create a special committee to investigate the allegations. That as President-elect Trump dismissed the CIA's conclusion that Russia tried to tip the election in his favor.Why -- especially in a condensed news summary -- was it necessary to include the sentence "We had a massive landslide victory"? Why not edit it out and end the quote at "every week it's another excuse"? And if it had to be included, why didn't Herbst explain that Trump's assertion isn't even remotely accurate?
DONALD TRUMP: I think it's ridiculous. I think it's just another excuse. I don't believe it. I don't know why, and I think it's just a, you know, they talked about all sorts of things, every week it's another excuse. We had a massive landslide victory.
HERBST: Trump speaking there on Fox News Sunday. He blames Democrats for putting that story out.
If you go to the NPR website, you can read a debunking of this claim under the headline "FACT CHECK: Trump Claims A 'Massive Landslide Victory' -- But History Differs."
Trump won 306 electoral votes to Clinton's 232. That comfortably puts him above the required 270 electoral votes. But it's hard to argue this represents a landslide of historic proportions, given that out of 58 presidential elections, the winner has received more electoral votes in 37 contests....Fine - but this needs to be said on the air. Some version of this debunking needs to be appended to any Trump claim of a landslide or a sizable victory. Trump knows that repeating this helps make it a fact in millions of Americans' minds; the only available antidote is the truth.
Clear landslides came most recently in the 1980s. Ronald Reagan won 489 electoral votes to Jimmy Carter's 49 in the 1980 election. Four years later, Reagan won 49 states, delivering him a 525 to 13 victory of Walter Mondale. In 1988, George H.W. Bush succeeded Reagan with a total of 426 electoral votes to Michael Dukakis's 111.
Each of those Reagan and Bush victories came with an 8 to 9 percent margin in the popular vote, as icing on the cake.
To be certain, Trump's win the Electoral College is what matters. But his loss in the popular vote to Hillary Clinton is itself historic. At 2.8 million votes, Trump's deficit is by far the largest for any candidate who won the Electoral College and lost the popular vote.
NPR aired a shameless Trump lie and didn't challenge it on the air with the facts. That's a journalistic failure.