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July 7, 2020

President Trump has some unfounded complaints about the media fueled by some unfounded interpretations of what recent COVID-19 numbers mean.

In a Tuesday tweet, Trump shared a headline from the conservative news outlet The Washington Times that reported a "tenfold decrease" in death rates from COVID-19, and claimed the U.S. now has the "lowest mortality rate in the world." Trump then complained that "the fake news" wasn't reporting "these most important of facts," seemingly unaware that the number doesn't indicate coronavirus victory.

As it turns out, news outlets Trump has called "fake" were reporting on America's sinking mortality rate long before Trump tweeted his complaint. CNN fact-checked Trump's claim by noting data from Johns Hopkins puts the U.S.'s coronavirus mortality rate at 4.5 percent as of Monday morning, the sixth highest rate in the world.

While it's true that the mortality rate has fallen dramatically in recent weeks, The Washington Post explains why that's not necessarily an indication of success. Mortality rate is the percentage of those who've died compared to cases as a whole, meaning more positive tests, especially among young people, will only drive the death rate down. It also doesn't account for the fact that many people with COVID-19 face severe and debilitating illness even without dying. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 18, 2019

President Trump's newest threat isn't much of a threat.

In a letter to CNN sent Friday, Trump lawyer Charles Harder threatened to sue the network for apparently launching "unfair, unfounded, unethical and unlawful attacks" on Trump, especially in the era of impeachment. Trump is seeking monetary damages under the Lanham Act because CNN allegedly "misrepresented" the "trademark" that is Trump's name, and at least one lawyer seems to think it's ridiculous.

In the letter, Trump's legal team takes aim at CNN's claim that its reporters are "truth seekers" and outlines other times when CNN basically said it's relaying facts. But a recently published video from the right-wing group Project Veritas seems to show CNN employees claiming company president Jeff Zucker has a vendetta against Trump, thus "constituting misrepresentations" of Trump, Trump's team claims.

Neal Katyal, the Obama-era solicitor general who wrote the special counsel regulations, has already suggested CNN will have no problem dealing with Trump's threat. In fact, he said in a tweet that "CNN will want him to sue and have a court decide this one," perhaps giving them a legal answer to Trump's ongoing fake news claims.

While it's unclear if it would actually welcome a lawsuit, CNN did dismiss the suit as a "desperate PR stunt" that "doesn't merit a response" in a statement. Kathryn Krawczyk

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