Few shaky claims left behind: Among other qualifications for greatness, Carly Fiorina seems to have a rich imagination. We were puzzled when she said this during last night’s debate:
FIORINA (9/16/15): As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes, watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain. This is about the character of our nation and if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.Can something like that be seen in the famous Planned Parenthood tapes? The claim didn’t seem familiar to us. But Fiorina seemed both convinced and convincing.
At Vox, Sarah Kliff performed this fact-check of Fiorina's claim, with an important Update. At the Washington Post Fact Checker site, Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee have covered the same material.
Basically, there seems to be no such videotape from a Planned Parenthood facility. On some sort of videotape—Vox and the Post don’t quite agree on what it is—there is an interview with a technician who says she took part in a similar scene somewhere, in some sort of situation which doesn’t quite get defined.
That said, interviews with technicians aren’t the same thing as videotapes, and the claims that get made in such interviews aren’t always accurate. Just consider all the embellished personal claims from last night, as listed by Kessler and Lee.
Meanwhile, does the technician ever say that the event in which she says she took part took place in connection with Planned Parenthood? Not that we could see on the tape, although it’s possible that we missed some sort of attribution.
Fiorina seems to have a tendency to embellish, preferably with an air of grievance. Sadly, CNN’s moderators seemed to have little interest in questioning, checking or verifying factual claims last night.
You can’t blame Tapper and Bash (actual names!) for lacking encyclopedic knowledge of the contents of those doctored Planned Parenthood tapes. That said, everyone knows that the authenticity of those tapes has been widely called into question.
Other claims about the contents of those tapes seemed to be baldly inaccurate. Unless we missed it, Tapper and Bash never stepped in to question or challenge such claims, or to question the general reliability of the heavily edited tapes.
We had a similar reaction to Tapper and Bash’s permissive conduct as factual claims were tossed about concerning the Iran deal. It was pretty much no bogus claim left behind as the permissive cable news pair let the hopefuls utter whatever pleasing claims they liked.
Debates are much like interviews. In theory, moderators should challenge or question factual claims which seem shaky or false on their face. Tapper and Bash didn’t seem to play it that way last night.
Journalistic norms are dying, one by one, within the remnants of our “press corps.” Last night, Tapper and Bash gave Simi Valley a bit of a wild west feel.
Meanwhile and needless to say: Meanwhile and needless to say, Mika was gushing today about Carly, the “breakout star.”
She was “pitch perfect, a star, like a breakout star,” Mika excitedly said on Morning Joe. “My God, I have never seen anyone like her. Ever.”
Remember—Mika’s normal job on Morning Joe is pretending that she doesn’t hate Clinton, even as she plays along with every claim by her crazoid partner.
This morning, Mika’s love was real. The MRC has the full dope.