By Dave Andrusko
The Federalist’s David Harsanyi wrote a piece that appeared in the New York Post Friday–‘Impartial’ fact-checkers are revealing their partisanship against Trump”—that is both precise, concise, and good advice for anyone who insists that by and large “fact checkers” are partisans with an agenda.
Here is a brief rundown of a terrific post that you should read in its entirety here.
The topic is how many in the media, such as Politico and CNN and NPR and the New York Times, handled last week’s State of the Union Address. We will not get into the specifics of the issue because they are outside our single-issue purview:
*Hyper nitpicking. President Trump was accused of lying for talking about “one in three….” The actual percentage was not 33.333333333% but 31%. Please.
*”Fact-checking subjective political assertions.” The President thinks a particular issue is a “national crisis.” The New York Times counters that is “false.” Why? Because the situation isn’t as bad as it was. Okay, but that doesn’t make the Times assessment correct and the President’s wrong. Moreover, as Harsanyi shrewdly points out, were it a topic in the Times’ wheelhouse, a gradual lessening or amelioration of the situation wouldn’t mean it was no longer a “national crisis.”
*My particular favorite because it is so utterly revealing: “Fact-checking a truthful statement by demanding that Trump highlight information that has absolutely nothing to do with his contention.” This has to do with a presidential tweet.
PBS recently went on forever and finally conceded the President had been accurate. But “After confirming that, yes, Trump had been precise in his assertion regarding their poll, PBS spends around 700 words taking Trump to task for failing to highlight other negative information in the poll”!! Harsanyi asks, “Will this be a new standard for all politicians?” (Answer. Only if they are prominent pro-life Republicans.)
*Lastly one that is in our purview: “Fact-checking meant to obscure actual facts.” Harsanyi uses Meg Kelly on the Washington Post but he could have used many others. Referring to the new radical abortion law in New York, Kelly flatly states, “Abortion legislation in New York wouldn’t do what Trump said.” In fact it does precisely what the President said it does. He could have added that a man who assaults or murders a pregnant woman whose unborn child dies can no longer be charged with a second separate offense. A few days after the speech, this is exactly what happened in New York and the man could not be prosecuted for the baby’s death.
Harsanyi’s conclusion is perfect: “The state of American fact-checking is dreadfully misleading.”