Fact Checking the Fact Checkers

PolitiFact

PolitiFact has a article headlined “Donald Trump’s NRA speech, fact-checked”.

Here’s a sample:

“African-American unemployment has reached another all-time, in history, record low … And the same thing with Hispanic American unemployment, which is also at the lowest level in history — unemployment, lowest level in history. And women’s unemployment — women, many women — is at the lowest level in almost 20 years. Think of that.”

The “fact check” starts out like this:

As far as the numbers go, Trump is correct.

It then goes on for another five paragraphs to say that Barack Obama deserves “at least as much” credit as Trump for low unemployment.

That’s a fact check?!

Trump didn’t even say anything about who deserves the credit, although the listener is invited to make a favorable inference.

Had he added “. . . and I deserve all the credit,” it would be fair in that case for PolitiFact to add some context around why he might not deserve all the credit, but he didn’t say that.

I hate “fact checking.” I don’t hate the checking of facts but I hate the practice of “fact checking” as it’s done by media organizations.

Almost all media organizations are agenda-driven while pretending they’re not. “Fact checking” is a larger-than-usual deception in that we’re being told that someone made a false statement and the fact checkers are doing the Lord’s work in pointing it out.

But the “facts” being checked are often not facts at all. Here’s another “fact check” from the Trump NRA speech:

“We’re going to take people into our country but they’re going to come in based on merit, not based on picking somebody out of a bin”

I can’t even find a fact to be checked there, but PolitiFact objects to the diversity visa lottery being characterized as “picking somebody out of a bin”:

Trump claims countries send people, but the lottery is run by the United States, not foreign countries.

I copied the Trump statement just the way PolitiFact printed it — I didn’t take anything out — and there’s nothing in there about countries sending people.

Even when an actual fact is checked, like the unemployment numbers, and even when the fact is stated correctly, the “fact checkers” can’t resist putting their own spin on it.

Look! Even an undisputed fact that we don’t like can be “fact checked” in a way that makes us feel comfortable presenting it as false.

 

The fact checkers, in my opinion, actually torpedo their own efforts before even getting to the “fact checks.”

The article starts off like this:

After a week of news about Stormy Daniels, President Donald Trump headed to Dallas to speak to members of the National Rifle Association.

OK . . . credibility problem! “A week of news about Stormy Daniels”? The article has nothing to do with Stormy Daniels, she’s not mentioned again, there were other things — believe it or not — that happened in the country and the world last week that had nothing to do with Stormy Daniels.

The media love Stormy Daniels. Her attorney has been on CNN more in the last two months than most of the CNN hosts have been on in the last two months.

But putting Stormy Daniels in the lead sentence of an article about an NRA speech is a totally gratuitous swipe of the sort that you’d think impartial “fact checkers” would be able to resist.

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