Soft-on-Trump watch: Three problems with the Fact Checker's tape!

MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2016

MSM versus Muhammad:
At the Washington Post's Fact Checker site, Michelle Ye Hee Lee has offered a short new report about Candidate Trump's bogus claims concerning Iraq.

A videotape is also provided. Below, you see Lee's full text:
LEE (6/10/16): Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump frequently—and falsely—says he opposed the Iraq War “from the beginning,” ahead of the invasion. He uses this as a contrast to Hillary Clinton, who in 2002 voted in favor of authorization for President George W. Bush to launch an invasion if negotiations failed with Iraq over its alleged illicit weapons programs. (She now calls the vote a mistake.)

But Trump’s claim is blatantly false, and has been debunked thoroughly. We awarded it Four Pinocchios, and compiled a timeline of Trump’s comments in 2002 and 2003 about the Iraq invasion, which showed he was not vocal about his opposition prior to the invasion.

Yet Trump has been repeating it in interviews and speeches since September 2015—to larger and larger audiences who have heard this Four-Pinocchio claim go uncorrected.

We took a snapshot look at just how far-reaching this false claim has been the past nine months. Check out the Fact Checker video, produced by Washington Post Video Editor Jenny Starrs.
This is about as strong as it gets in the mainstream press corps. That said, Lee's treatment isn't nearly strong enough. It isn't actually strong.

For starters, Lee fails to record the detailed nature of Trump's false claims. He hasn't just said that he opposed the war. At one point, he falsely said that he could produce 25 news reports to that effect. At other times, he has referred to alleged headlines about his opposition.

These were very specific claims. These specific claims were false.

Second problem: Lee's tape gives us a sense of the many times Trump has made this false assertion. Here's what is completely ignored—the many occasions on which Trump's TV star hosts let these claims pass without comment. The Fact-Checker site almost never breaks the code of silence regarding failed behavior by colleagues in the press.

The third problem with Lee's post isn't Lee's doing or fault. Her post appears on a little-read blog, not on the Washington Post's front page, where Trump's parade of misstatements should have been, and should still be, detailed and explored.

When we watched the Ali memorial service, we were struck by how much brighter and how much more principled the speakers were, as compared to the lazy actors consigned to us by the mainstream press.

Brilliant people rose to speak that day. By way of contrast, our national press corps is peopled by posers, sub-competents, clowns. With extremely few exceptions, all agree to the code of silence concerning this death-dealing fact.

Trump will continue making this bogus claim. On TV, the TV stars will keep averting their gaze. People who read the Post's front page won't know a thing about this.

Humorous update: Humorous update, via Slate:

Donald Trump Says He’s “Revoking” the Washington Post’s Press Credentials


  1. Stand by for some sick, sick burns courtesy of the brilliant troll.

    1. Our guess? He'll quote Bob doing exactly the same thing as Trump while demanding a fact check of Trump.

    2. @6:21 PM:

      "He'll quote Bob doing exactly the same thing as Trump"

      We expect such quotes to arrive pretty much never.

      Real world troll history being our guide, we expect some Somerby quotes that are "exactly" not the same thing at all.

      We also note it's not really a fact check of Trump that's being demanded:

      What's being rightly criticised is that even one of the strongest fact checks of Trump in mainstream media omits much of his most egregiously false claims on its chose topic, while at the same time the role of that same media in promulgating uncritical acceptance of his falsehoods is almost entirely overlooked (really, it would be accurate to say the role of the media is almost entirely disappeared).

      This actually is a problem with your press.

      Finally, being sane we also note that Somerby's own behavior and habits are of far less significance than those of our press overall. If his points against the press have merit, that isn't vitiated even by real or, especially, imaginary hypocrisy on Somerby's part.

    3. Right. Don't shoot the messenger. Shoot, don't shoot!

    4. "The fact-check we still haven't seen: Did Donald J. Trump really send investigators to Hawaii in 2011 to check the facts of President Obama's birth?

      Did those gumshoes, if they really exist, really uncover various facts which were highly disturbing?

      In 2011 and 2012, Donald J. Trump made these claims again and again from very high platforms."

      Bob Somerby (just two days ago)

      We know Trump made the claims about his gumshoes and their findings once; on the Today Show in April, 2011.

      But did he really make them again and again?
      Or did he shift the subject to Obama's academic records after Obama released his long form birth certificate.

      Did he bring up the investigators in 2012? Did he tout their surprising findings? Or did he instead say "some question the authenticity" of Obama's documents?

      Bob didn't say Trump continued to raise the issue of Obama's birthplace into 2012. He said he brought up the claims about his investigators and their findings again and again over two years. To quote Bob, when referring to Trump's statement about the Iraq War, "These were very specific claims. These specific claims were false."

    5. That's for starters Anon. @ 12:51.

      Second problem: Bob's second problem as stated in this post.

      For starters, Bob calls the video included with the Post Fact Check "Lee's tape." But bad crediting and wrong technology aside, is it really fair to claim Lee and/or the video's producer Jenny Starrs "completely ignored...the many occasions on which Trump's TV star hosts let these claims pass without comment."

      Lee does not ignore it. She pretty clearly states her online post is caused by the very thing Somerby falsely complains she does.

      "Yet Trump has been repeating it in interviews and speeches since September 2015—to larger and larger audiences who have heard this Four-Pinocchio claim go uncorrected."

      The purpose of the fact check is to fact check Trump, not the media, but we'd say the video actually shows one TV host questioning Trump's claim. Bob makes a blanket statement that many hosts let the claims pass without comment without naming a single host or instance himself. How many, Bob? Who? When?

    6. Humorous update: Humorous update, via Bob Somerby:

      The third problem with Lee's post ..... Her post appears on a little-read blog...."

    7. Hey other anonymi - you think very much like a journalist. If you like someone, list all of the things you can think of that you think will make them be viewed sympathetically. If you don't like someone, turn the attitude the other way. Screw proportion. A traffic ticket is more important than years of competent policy work.

      Most important: do not think deeply! There's a bad guy, or a good guy. Don't mix them up.

    8. This kind of thing is easy to write, but what do you think about Trunp's lie and its impact on the campaign?

      The mark of a troll is that they are more focused on attacking the blogger than discussing the issues here.

    9. I can't speak for the person you were addressing (even if I could figure out who it was) @ 11:31.

      I am not sure Trump's lie has had much of an impact on the campaign. None of his challengers for the nomination made it an issue, and it was their job to do so as much if not more than it was the job of the press.

      I would say it is arguable that most of Trump's supporters were vociferous fans of Bush's war and voted for him despite, not because of, his claims.

    10. @7:57 PM regarding trolls: PRESCIENT!

    11. Let's see how PRESCIENT, @4:51PM.

      "We expect such quotes...never."

      Missed on that one.

      "Somerby quotes that...not the same thing at all."

      Trump tells lie and embellishes it. Somerby tells a lies and embellishes it. Whiffed again.

      As far as I can tell that is the extent of @7:57's predictions. Want to find out how far off he/she is on mere observations?

  2. Trump isn't the destruction of the GOP. He is its fulfillment. We'd all know this if the press would do its job. Trump could only make a mockery of our politics because the media already had.

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