Facebook Factcheck: Fred Trump Didn't Go To That KKK Rally, He Simply Refused To Leave!
A funny thing happened yesterday! While Donald Trump, the failed businessman/human being who is unaccountably the president of the United States, was ordering the National Guard to spray tear gas on a Lafayette Park protest that was 100 percent peaceful so he could go do a photo-op with a bible that must have had a special new anti-lightning coating, a dude tweeted about how on the same day in 1927, Fred Trump, the father of a man who would unaccountably become president of the United States, was arrested at a Klan rally.
Naturally, I wanted to factcheck this ... to make sure the day was right.
And, not afraid to be servicey, Politifact, the neutral factchecking group run by the nonprofit journalism ethics outfit the Poynter Institute, came right up to inform me "MOSTLY FALSE."
Mostly false? How could that be? I had seen the old newspaper clippings myself! Had I been bamboozled by "misleading impression" people to totally libel the sainted father of that choad in the White House? I investigated, by reading their post. And hooboy, you'd think they were the Washington Post's Factchecker column, and Bernie Sanders had said something 100 percent true.
So we are on the same page, we will be reading this Politifact column on Fred Trump, MOSTLY FALSE, from a year ago, because I just read it and now I am mad.
The thread by which Politifact hangs itself here is a Facebook post they are "factchecking." It reads, in its entirety,
Says Fred Trump was arrested for "participating in KKK riot" in 1927.
Well, yes! He was! But no, says Politifact, he wasn't! Because what Fred Trump was actually arrested for was "refusing to disperse" from a KKK rally.
The post contains some elements of truth about Fred Trump: He was arrested that year in connection with a clash between the KKK and police amid a parade in Queens. But the post goes beyond what is known about his actions to say he was "participating."
Okay, Politifact, perhaps it could not be proved he was "participating" in the KKK rally when he was arrested for "refusing to disperse" from the KKK rally. Would that not be then "unknown"? No, still going with "MOSTLY FALSE"? Let's find out why.
[O]n the day of the parade, police were unable to keep at least 1,000 Klansmen from participating. The New York Times stated that "1,000 Klansmen and 100 policemen staged a free-for-all battle in Jamaica."
Fred Trump, then 21, was arrested at the parade along with six others, according to the New York Times. (His address was listed as 175-25 Devonshire Road, Jamaica, which matched the 1930 Census.) However, unlike the other men arrested who faced various charges of assault and disorderly conduct, the Times reported that Trump "was discharged."
We checked other reports of the riot to find more information — and found some discrepancies. A May 31, 1927, Brooklyn Daily Eagle article named six prisoners and all but one, bystander Ralph Losee, were called "avowed Klansmen" by the police. But this article did not mention Trump's name.
CASE CLOSED! CASE REOPENED! Might he have been in a Klansman's robe, Politifact?
A June 2, 1927, Long Island Daily Press article said "seven of the berobed marchers" were arrested. So Fred Trump might have been wearing a Klansman robe.
Ah, but a history professor is all up in his own existentialist hoo-ha, check it!
Alberto Martinez, a history professor at University of Texas, Austin, wrote his own in-depth report on Fred's arrest.
"Even if Fred Trump was involved in the riot, it doesn't necessarily mean that he was a KKK member or marcher, because news reports and court records both specify that local spectators (men and women) got involved in disrupting the parade," Martinez wrote in an email.
Additionally, he said, Fred Trump was the only one arrested who was promptly released without any charges.
Martinez said the disposition of the police officers also made him question whether Fred Trump was involved.
"The Queens County Grand Jury accused the police 'for the disgraceful assault not only upon the (KKK) marchers but innocent civilians along the line of the march' in the parade," Martinez wrote.
So the Klan was protesting the fact that they could be arrested by Catholic cops, and the cops got all coppy about it and started hitting "innocent civilians." Well, sounds right. If we didn't know anything else about Fred Trump at all.
What if ... bear with me here ... what if Fred Trump was arrested refusing to disperse from a KKK rally because he was trying to get to the Equal Opportunity Commission board meeting on the other side?
What if Fred Trump was arrested for refusing to disperse from a KKK rally because he spotted in the crowd some nonwhite prospective tenants to whom he wanted to rent his apartments in a fair and equitable way? (Twice?)
What if Fred Trump was arrested refusing to disperse from a KKK rally on Memorial Day weekend of 1927, because he wished to testify to the whites about the true value of all God's people?
Give us that ruling again, Politifact.
Yes, Trump's father was arrested in connection with the KKK's appearance at a Memorial Day parade. The group's march led to a violent confrontation with police. However, there is not enough documentation to show Trump was participating. Unlike other men who were arrested that day, his charge was quickly dropped.
The post stretches what is known about the events that day to leave a misleading impression. We rate this Mostly False.
And here's the punchline: Politifact partnered with Facebook to factcheck this claim, that Fred Trump was arrested for "participating" in a 1927 Klan rally instead of "refusing to disperse" from a 1927 Klan rally, and that's what allows Mark Zuckerberg to downgrade any story about Fred Trump and the Klan so it won't show up in your stupid feed.
So while Zuckerberg is piously intoning about "censorship," and how they won't do it to President Twenty Thousand Lies, they will do it to websites like your Wonkette, or possibly even if you were sharing a Washington Post article about it, like this one: In Three Years Politifact Will Claim This Is Fake And Trump Called It Fake Already Anyway Here's The News Article Time Traveler Obama Placed In The Papers In 1927. (Clunky hed, WaPo. Get some editors.)
And Politifact helped.
Now it is your OPEN THREAD.
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