March 8, 2021

Fact-Checkers Heart Joe Biden

Appearing at a friendly CNN town hall event this week, President Joe Biden dropped a string of untruths on issues both large and small. One of the president’s most egregious falsehoods was the claim that “we didn’t have (the vaccine) when we came into office.” The first shot was administered back on Dec. 14, 2020.

Glenn Kessler, lead fact-checker for The Washington Post, quickly jumped into action on Twitter, explaining that this was merely a “verbal stumble, a typical Biden gaffe, as he had already mentioned 50 million doses being available when he took office. Former Trump officials should especially cool the outrage meter, as it just looks silly.” Castigating those who pointed out the lie is a weird thing for someone charged with verifying factual information to do.

It was a strange coincidence, indeed, that Biden’s “verbal stumble” corresponded perfectly with the concerted administration-wide effort to mislead Americans regarding the president’s new vaccination plan. Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris had herself accidentally stumbled into numerous similar gaffes, saying there had been “no national strategy or plan for vaccinations,” that the new administration was “starting from scratch on something that’s been raging for almost an entire year,” and that there “there was no stockpile … of vaccines.”

When a Twitter follower asked him how he determines what constitutes a “verbal stumble” or a lie, Kessler explained: “People screw up on live television. Biden with his stutter especially does so.” Ah, the stutter. How quickly the media has taken to the Biden’s stutter excuse. “The Democratic presidential candidate’s gaffes may be rooted in a little-understood disability,” The Hill theorized when Biden first shared the story of his early struggles with stuttering. Do those who similarly struggle usually steal entire speeches — nay, life stories — from others? Do they coherently say things that are provable lies? I suspect not.

It is odd, as well, that a fact-checker would contend that Biden must have had a “verbal stumble” because he had previously admitted the truth on the issue. For one thing, it seems unlikely this was the standard used for Donald Trump’s contradictory ramblings. And though I’m not a professionally trained fact-checker myself, I’m relatively certain that most politicians have the skill set to tell the truth on a topic in one instance and then lie in another. All of these defenses of Biden rely on the notion that the president wouldn’t intentionally mislead us. Which is also weird, considering he is a notorious fabulist and fabricator.

Now, many Americans might be unaware of the history of Biden’s untruths. Because, while fact-checkers may sporadically, if tepidly, correct falsehoods uttered by Democrats, or retroactively admit to them, they also regularly offer rationalizations, excuses, justifications — rich layers of contextual detail — to safeguard them from criticism, which is a complete abdication of the job they ostensibly claim to do.

Perhaps the most mendacious “fact-checker” is CNN’s Daniel Dale, who produces prodigious amounts of disingenuous partisan clickbait. Yesterday, Dale also bored into the soul of Biden to discern exactly what the president “meant,” which, it conveniently turned out, was the opposite of what he said. Then again, Dale noted back in September that Biden “makes some false and misleading claims” but “assertions of fact have been largely factual.” Tautology aside, a quick fact-check of this claim earns a gaggle of Pinocchios. Then again, Dale is just a left-wing columnist. Nothing wrong with it. But no one needs to pretend otherwise.

The fact is — if you’ll pardon the expression — this kind of partisan gruel would never have existed in a reputable newsroom 30 or 20 years ago. Yet, it thrives in an age in which the number of Twitter followers and hits are valued over fact-gathering. There has been no price to pay for this destruction of political journalism — only high ratings. Perhaps it will change post-Trump.

It’s not only that the fact-checkers are objectionable but also that the idea of fact-checking is un-journalistic. There is something more insidious about fact-checks than the average hackery. Listening to PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor, for instance, regurgitate the administration’s talking points is sad but inoffensive. Fact-checkers circumvent debate by making pronouncements about highly disputable contentions.

One might be able to look past the five-year abandonment of journalistic ethics and professionalism if reporters and fact-checkers were equal-opportunity sticklers. The problem wasn’t the adversarial relationship journalists had with those in power — though the self-aggrandizement and navel-gazing were insufferable. It’s the selective deployment of these ethics as now displayed with a different administration. And no one exemplifies the problem better than the self-anointed fact-checkers.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer at National Review and the author of the book “First Freedom: A Ride Through America’s Enduring History With the Gun.” To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2021 CREATORS.COM

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16 Responses

      1. Using stuttering as an excu$e to c0ver up his idi0sy is rediculous. Bye-den never all0wed his so-called st-st-st-utter to define him before. We’ve listened for 47 years and he doesn’t “mess-up” anymore than a non-stuttering person. But there has been plenty of stupid stuff (and [email protected]) in his speeches and public [email protected] Many times he’s had no pr0blem f0rcefully c0rrecting and 0pining ad-nauseam at those whom he felt didn’t credit his p0sition or person enough. If he has a stuttering issue, it is so minor as to not be n0ticable. Now Mel Tillis and England’s King George VI; there’s some stutterers for you. It didn’t stop them from being successful. Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziDrcIUhKjU Only 1 really n0ticable slip up in 3 min. and 25 sec. which sounded more like a mis0rder of w0rding, which he c0rrected, rather than a stutter.

  1. even before sleepy joe got into the white house . both he and Harris frequently told blatant untruths which the media accepted without challenge. Now it is.. on n on n on. Lord have mercy.

    1. Oh Biden makes at least 3 or 4 lies a day. And is it because of his “SHUTTER”. Never heard that as an excuse for lying in my life. Have to add it to my dictionary (NO).

  2. Pretty soon the left is going to realize they were dealt a losing hand and blame us for it. It’s time for us to go all-in before they realize they screwed up.

  3. I can’t believe the excuses the media will come up with to protect their mentally challenged Democratic president.

  4. Biden is a prolific liar as is his cohort Harris. To them, they like feeding the liberal narrative to those still drinking the Kool Aid. We need to be vigilant or this great Nation will be history. Biden keeps talking about Democracy as he keeps scratching his nose, but he doesn’t really believe in it as he continues signing those EOs he probably has not read nor knows what they really say. He’s grateful to be “participating’ in the G-7 virtually as his Handlers can continue feeding him the “correct” information so his “stutter” will be minimal. We need to expose his Handlers so that the world will know what a farce this new administration really is.

  5. Well, we have two people in the White House that don’t know what’s going on. They believe anything they hear and what’s really bad, they repeat it. Politicans should not be in the White House, people that have run businesses should be, because they know what it takes to run a business and our U.S. is a BIG business. Politicans should only be there to make laws and good ones.

  6. The fact checkers are lying all the time to cover for slow Joe. Maybe hisd wife the Doctor has him under control for the benefit of the families. The leaders of this country need to resign or be recalled, top to bottom.

  7. 95% of the American People don’t believe Joe won the election. Most of us knew from the get go that when the Democrats wanted mail in ballots it was planned for Joe would win! Now we are 31 days since he been in office, thousands of Americans have lost there jobs, he wants to let 11million plus into the USA with no papers, no money no nothing, which means the American people are going to pay for everything the Democrats will want to give to the immigrants! Why the American public are still waiting for stimulus money that the Dems keep saying “it’s coming soon”! He has signed numerous executive orders, which I believe he did not know what he was signing! It 31 days he has trash everything that Trump put in place for the AMERICANS! Joe made promises and has not keep one of them. GREAT JOB JOE??? Of course you know who is telling him what to do, TRAITOR OBAMA WHO CARES NOTHING ABOUT AMERICA! WHY DO YOU THINK JOE IS TALKING TO IRAN AND IRAQ! PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR HIM AND HARRIS WERE SOLD DOWN THE RIVER!

  8. You are correct. I have a direct quote from obama where he says “ the only way I could have a third term is if I could go in my basement in my sweats & transfer my orders to someone else to say”. Then they show Biden’s face. Obama revealed his plan & he is now running the country in his third term. Everyone knows Biden has something in his ear but sometime he can’t even follow those directions. Upon entering the White House he repeated “salute the soldier at the door, salute the soldier at the door . . . . .

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