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.)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.
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.
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