Early Friday morning, Donald Trump began tweeting about Senate Republicans’ approval of his budget plan, which will presumably lead the way to his administration’s oft-promised tax cuts. However, the president decided to interrupt his train of thought with a random tweet about an apparent rise in crime in the United Kingdom. Quoting a “report” without any citations or links, he wrote, “United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror.” Unable to leave it at that, however, Trump added, “Not good, we must keep America safe!”
He never followed up with a proper link, let alone an explanation for the dubious 13% figure, and hasn’t tweeted since as of this writing. Even so, Trump’s alarmist take on the U.K.’s apparent crime problem sent the British news media into a tailspin. BBC News revealed the aforementioned percentage came from Office for National Statistics’s most recent crime report, which indicated “a 13% increase across all offences in the 12 months to June.” While the American president makes it a habit of consuming 24-hour cable news regularly, however, no prior evidence has suggested an interest in the BBC and others.
Enter Media Matters For America, the news media watchdog organization, which discovered a particularly American source for the 13% figure: the One America News Network (OANN). In a segment that aired at 6:25 am ET, the “racist, conspiracy-mongering” outlet’s main feed was underscored by a chyron that read, “Report: U.K. Crime Rises 13% Annually Amid Spread Of Radical Islamic Terror.” Considering that Trump’s tweet, which arrived at 6:31 am ET, is almost word-for-word the same, it sounds like we’ve got a winner.