Fox News host Shep Smith wasted no time fact-checking Trump's address

Washington US President Donald Trump delivers a televised address to the nation on Tuesday.—AFP

As the federal government enters the third week of a partial shutdown, President Donald Trump is slated to deliver an address on immigration.

CNN brought on Daniel Dale, a White House correspondent for the Toronto Star, who has become known for cataloguing Trump misstatements, and he said the president falsely asserted it was the Democrats who had advanced the idea of a steel barrier instead of a wall.

Smith's analysis drew an angry response on Twitter from many of Fox News' conservative fans.

The president's primetime address on Tuesday night saw both camps drifting even further apart, with Trump declaring a "humanitarian and security crisis" and vowing to protect America, "so help me God" - and Democratic congressional leaders saying Trump is working to "manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration". While Trump issued scary warnings about murders by immigrants, Smith said, "Statistics show that there is less violent crime by the undocumented immigrant population than by the general population". "It's he who requested it and he who said he would own the shutdown".

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The anchor also informed viewers that the number of illegal border crossings has been going "steadily down over the past 10 years" despite Trump's assertion that they are on the rise and the government reports that "there is more outward traffic than inward traffic". MSNBC, HGTV and US rounded out the top five, while CNN averaged only 988,000 primetime viewers to finish eleventh overall.

While networks air presidential addresses when the topic is of national importance, they're not required to do so. "The networks gave the White House exactly what the president wanted: unhindered access to lie to their audience".

And yet this time around, all the major networks said they'd provide coverage of the speech.

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