Fact-Checking Presidents Is Apparently Out of Style
There has been a significant decline in media presidential fact-checking since President Biden has taken office. The reason is obvious. He is a Democrat – and the major fact-checkers are partisan Democrats.
When President Trump was in office, fact-checking became the number one feature of the elitist news organizations. You know, those who claim proprietary rights over all truth – even claiming absolute truth over their biased opinions.
The Washington Post set up an entire unit to fact-check every word that Trump uttered. Admittedly, they had a lot to work with. Trump’s propensity to prevaricate – from meaningless fibs to some inexplicable whoppers – gave the media grist for their partisan mill. And boy, did they run with it.
To pad their narrative, the media not only pointed to obvious mistruths, but they piled on every misstatement, every opinion with which they disagreed, and every interpretation that could be made to look like a lie. They took advantage of Trump’s unfortunate disregard for the importance of his own credibility.
But that does not excuse the excesses of the Fourth Estate – and especially when they expanded their one-sided truth monitoring exclusively to Republican leaders and supporters. They maliciously went after the Republican brand … period.
CNN’s misnamed “Reality Check” with John Avlon was – and is – a prime example of propagandizing the news media. Virtually every one of his so-called reality checks were prosecutorial indictments against some aspect of the Republican Party. The same network’s also misnamed “Reliable Sources,” hosted by the grossly unreliable Brian Stelter, was another example – this time taking the propaganda route to attack cable television’s most popular network, FOX News, for not joining in the media ambush of the Republican Party.
They have not given up their malicious and mendacious attacks on the Republican Party and all its supporters, but there has been a noticeable decline in fact-checking old Joe. The Washington Post, which led the left-wing Democrat team in terms of fact-checking, downgraded their veritas unit. They did it after a brief exposure of some of Biden’s lies. They counted 78 in his first 100 days.
According to Glenn Kessler, editor in charge of the Post’s fact-checking unit, they did not stop fact-checking. They just stopped maintaining a database of Biden’s lies. In other words, they will not compile them into a running narrative that provided grist for the anti-Trump media in the past. No more Pinocchios to create fodder for the rest of the news media. Under the new program, lies Biden tells will just fade into oblivion. The change in Post policy is not insignificant.
The Post faced a dilemma. They could not have any semblance of journalist integrity if they let Biden off the hook every day – and they could not maintain their Democrat bias if they called Biden out and compiled a record of his lies. So … you just change the rules.
Other fact-checking personalities have faded into the background – and reports of presidential fibs have lost their value as news. But why?
Of course, the knee-jerk liberal answer will be that Biden does not lie – which would be a whopper, itself.
Maybe they do not report Biden’s inaccuracies because it does not fit their pro-Democrat narratives. There is some evidence of that. As the Post noted, Biden lied – by their standards – 78 times in his first days in office.
One defense for that report calls upon whataboutism – that tactic of calling out the other side. And that defense was mounted. Trump told more than 500 lies in his first days in office, they claim. So, who is the bigger liar? Trump?
Maybe not – at least in terms of percentage of talking time. Trump was in the face of the press many times a day. He issued Tweets at gatling gun rates. Conversely, Biden rarely exposes himself to the media (don’t go there) in a free-wheeling way.
The Post even noted that when they wrote that, “Biden’s relatively limited number of falsehoods is a function, at least in part, of the fact that his public appearances consist mostly of prepared texts vetted by his staff. He devotes little time to social media, in contrast to his Twitter-obsessed predecessor, and rarely faces reporters or speaks off the cuff.”
Biden is arguably the most protected, insulated, isolated and scripted President in modern times. While Trump craves human interaction – including the press – Biden avoids it like the Covid-19 virus. He still returns to his basement bunker in Delaware as often as possible.
So, one could reasonably argue that Biden’s lies-per-impromptu-statement is much higher than Trump’s. Maybe that is why he is kept away from uncontrolled situations. You just cannot know what will pop out of the old guy’s mouth.
We have seen some examples. In a break with precedence – and before they decided to stop keeping a record of Biden lies, the Post awarded Biden four Pinocchios. By the Post’s standards, four Pinocchios means that the person told a major lie, told it repeatedly and then told it after knowing it was untrue. That one had to do with Biden’s claim that Georgia had shortened the voting hours. They had not. Election Day hours remained the same, but early voting was EXPANDED.
CNN did call out Biden for a recent fib, but it is not likely to gain much more media attention. It seems that Biden claimed five of the last heads of the Federal Reserve said that its so-called jobs proposal would stimulate economic growth. There is a teeny problem with that statement. Two of the last five heads of the Federal Reserve are dead. Maybe that goes along with Democrats allowing the dead to vote.
One of the five has just become Biden’s Secretary of the Treasury. What else would you expect Janet Yellen to say? And … the other two never said such a thing … never.
Weeell … the White House press office had an explanation. Biden meant the last five leaders of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). But the last five heads of the IRS did not say what Biden said they said, either. They did say that they were pleased that Biden was putting money into enhanced collections – going after American taxpayers.
You have to look at these under-reported instances of Biden’s lack of veracity in the longer context. Biden has been a lying politician for his whole life – and we are talking about big lies, not misstatements. Remember how he was at the top of his law class. Lie. That he was honored as the most outstanding political science student. Lie. That he had won a full scholarship to the university. Lie. That he did not sexually assault Tara Reade. (Unproven, but in the spirit of the #MeToo movement, I chose to believe the woman.)
Then there was all that plagiarizing that forced him to drop out of an earlier presidential run. And after he was caught stealing the words of President Kennedy and a former British Prime Minister, he lied about the reason.
Yes … the press will insist that they will keep fact-checking our presidents, but it will not be the same. Personally, I would love to see Biden taken off his leash and see just how far he would travel down the path of mendacium on his own.
So, there ‘tis.