Friedman sets rules for Trump-Biden debates!


Least savvy thought of all time:
Can anybody really imagine a set of Trump-Biden debates?

Theoretically, they're going to happen. But can anyone really picture such monsters from the deep?

In yesterday's New York Times,
Thomas Friedman offered some suggestions for the way these debates should work. At one point, he gave voice to the least savvy thought of all time:
FRIEDMAN (7/8/20): Biden should insist that a real-time fact-checking team approved by both candidates be hired by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates—and that 10 minutes before the scheduled conclusion of the debate this team report on any misleading statements, phony numbers or outright lies either candidate had uttered. That way no one in that massive television audience can go away easily misled.
Does Friedman actually live on this planet? No really—where does this guy live?

It's very, very hard to believe that any pair of candidates will ever agree to stop their debate with ten minutes to go so a fact-check team can identify their various misstatements.

It's very hard to imagine that. But no, that isn't our point.

What brought us out of our chairs was Friedman's reference to "outright lies." Is he really suggesting that our fact-checking team should identify such deliberate misstatements at the end of each debate?

That strikes us as a sad presentation. This is Elementary Logic 101, but how exactly would they know when an "outright lie" had occurred?

We're dealing here with a point so simple that everyone used to know it. It's relatively easy to spot a misstatement, but it's very hard to reliably identify a "lie."

Not long ago, every journalist understood this blindingly basic point. It was considered extremely bad journalistic form to refer to a misstatement as a lie.

Reason? A lie is a deliberate misstatement—and it's hard to get inside someone else's head.

In our view, Trump's mental disorder only drives this basic point home. We know of reason to think that Trump cares about telling the truth or making accurate statements.

But in any given case, can anyone feel they know what's going on inside that disordered noggin? How many of his lunatic statements might he believe to be true?

Maybe Friedman didn't mean that the fact-check team would explicitly identify "outright lies." But what a lack of sophistication was tangled up in that statement!

Journalistically speaking, of course, it's much like Springsteen said. Journalistically, this is our hometown, and its storefronts are badly faded.


  1. "We know of [no] reason to think that Trump cares about telling the truth or making accurate statements."

    And yet Somerby refuses to refer to Trump's misstatements as lies.

    One reason we know that Trump is lying and not just careless about truth is that his niece's new book tells us that he has throughout his life gotten off on deceiving other people, cheating, and lying to do so. She says that he takes pleasure in it.

    When a wrong statement is debunked yet Trump continues to make that self-serving statement repeatedly, that is a deliberate lie. An honest person would correct such misstatements, but Trump does not.

    Somerby's continued insistence that not only we, but also journalists, cannot call a lie a lie, aids Trump and the Republicans. It muddies the water and permits this liar and his lying Republican supporters, to go on lying blatantly while gullible people believe them and those without scruples take delight in his ability to evade accountability for his repeated lying. Somerby enables this shit. He should be ashamed, but instead he keeps repeating this garbage, with breaks only to warn us that Trump might win again.

    1. Maybe it is that some people simply can not think logically. Like being color blind.

    2. Logic is over-rated.

      Did you know that many people who are color blind do not know they are color blind and don't find out until they take a test for it?

    3. I mean, Mao = Kremlin 機器人

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  2. Don't worry, dear Bob, dembot "fact checkers" are standing by. They never sleep.

    As for the hypothetical debates, you liberals better find a way to replace Rapist Joe with a doppelganger who has at least two brain cells to rub together.

    Or else, no debates.

  3. It's an idea Stalin would have admired.

    Leftists admit Trump is going to eat Biden's lunch even if it's only Jello and prune juice.

  4. Sadly, it is not possible to find unbiased fact-checkers in today's US.

    1. I have yet to see you post something accurate.

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  8. Kevin Drum finds that the median income for men with a high school diploma is $36,000 while the median income for women with a high school diploma is $21,000 -- and he doesn't comment about it! Instead he notes that those without a high school diploma earn 65% of what those with one earn.

    I guess that's how natural and commonplace discrimination against women is to guys like Kevin. The difference is that women earn 58% of what men earn with a high school diploma. Apparently higher education narrows that gap a little.

    With the virus, women are finding it very difficult to continue working while home-schooling their kids. As a result, women have been losing their foothold in outside jobs. So these numbers may change for the worse. Not anything Somerby or Drum would ever care about.


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