The Washington Post fact-checks Trump!


The wages of separation:  In print editions, the report appears atop the front page of this morning's Washington Post. 

In his report, Isaac Arnsdorf performs a very basic journalistic function. The hard-copy headlines say this:

Trump escalates false claims about Biden
On the trail, he plays up unfounded allegations about business dealings

We'll note that there's a basic difference between "unfounded" and "false." That said, Arnsdorf is executing a basic journalistic function. He's fact-checking a series of claims made about President Biden.

In theory, this is an important journalistic function. That said, we'll note a few problems with Arnsdorf's report, some of which can't be solved in any obvious way by the Washington Post.

As the Post's headlines suggest, Arnsdorf is limiting himself to false or unfounded claims made by Donald J. Trump. One problem:

As we noted in this morning's report, other such claims are being made, on a nightly basis, by major players on the Fox News Channel. 

The Post should be complimented for fact-checking claims by a political candidate like Trump. But, for whatever reason, news orgs are often much more reluctant to fact-check influential bogus claims made by partisan "journalists."

Here's a second possible problem with Arnsdorf's report. Some of his corrections of Trump may leave a certain bad taste in the reader's mouth:

ARNSDORF (9/8/23): In a campaign video posted to social media in August, Trump falsely claimed, “It is now 100% proven that the Biden Crime Family received more than $20 million from foreign countries while Crooked Joe was vice president.” That allegation comes from a House Oversight Committee Republican staff report detailing payments from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to Hunter Biden and his associates. Only about $7 million of the total was attributable to Hunter Biden, and none to Joe Biden, according to an analysis in The Washington Post by The Fact Checker.

Elsewhere, Trump falsely alleged that “at least nine Biden family members were paid vast sums of money through 20 different shell companies for no legitimate reason at all.” The source of the claim is another House Oversight Republican staff report, which found payments to Hunter Biden and two relatives, not nine family members and not including Joe Biden. The companies were operating businesses, not shells, The Fact Checker found.

Oof! Those corrections seem like a type of first cousin to the apocryphal "left-handed compliment." To wit:

Did nine members of "the Biden Crime Family" receive payments from foreign countries? Actually, it was only three members!

Also, did the Crime Family receive twenty million dollars in payments? Actually, Hunter Biden received only seven million!

(How much money may have gone to other family members? That question isn't addressed.)

We're going to guess that Candidate Trump might be pleased with such "corrections." That said, the largest problem with reports of this type would be extremely hard to correct.

A newspaper like the Washington Post could compose a perfect fact-check of some inaccurate or unfounded claim about President Biden. It could place that perfect fact-check right at the top of page A1, as it does today. 

It could even perform a careful fact-check of the claim that Vice President Biden helped fire Viktor Shokin for the reason which is described every night on the Fox News Channel, generally as part of a highly selective partisan rant.

The Post could engage in such admirable conduct. The problem would be this:

No one watching the Fox News Channel would ever hear a word about it! There is no obvious way to address the type of journalistic Babel in which we all currently live.

It's hard to address our ongoing Babel. At present, the promulgation of tribal misinformation and propaganda is an extremely big business.

Tons of money are being made as we the people consume such dueling porridges. Can a large, diverse nation really function this way?

Our answer would be no.


  1. The deeper issue isn't which politicians are corrupt, but why we have a system that makes it okay to lavish the elite with millions in vacations, speeches, dinners, instead of meeting with regular people.

  2. "At present, the promulgation of tribal misinformation and propaganda is an extremely big business."

    That's why the Twitter files is such a big story. It shows how the government has taken up that business with reckless abandon.

    1. Oh yes the nothingburger that effectively ended Matt Tiabbi’s grift of a career as a journalist.

    2. People refer to it as a nothing burger all the time. You know the like liberal blog types. You know those blogs that were relevant two decades ago but lost their way as the world changed? Poor fool's got stuck defending our bungling imperialism gosh darn it. It's been incredible to watch. Anyway, no, it is not a nothing burger at all. It's incredible! The government was censoring information they didn't like in a sweeping and systematic fashion.

      You can Google all the foreign influence task force. Or put it into YouTube. With an additional search term like taibbi or FBI or something.

      Not sure if you're the propagandized or the propagandist though. It's so hard to tell these days.

    3. In defense of the nothingburger, you offer…a nothingburger!

      The government was censoring, Twitter’s policy is that anyone can request tweets be removed when they violate their terms of service. Biden, as a candidate, appropriately requested Twitter to remove revenge porn pictures of his son. Trump, as President, wanted insults directed at him removed. Neither of these are censoring and both are fine.

    4. Somerby’s autocorrect. The government *was not* censoring…

    5. Yes, it wasn't just porn pictures my darling little child.

    6. It was revenge porn, Trump supporters are triggered that Hunter has a bigger penis than their hero Trump.

      There’s a difference between porn and revenge porn. Porn helps people navigate their sexual urges (in fact this is more likely a cause for decline in violence than lead poisoning). Revenge porn is when a wounded dark soul wants to harm someone else so they steal private media and post it publicly.

  3. Hunter Biden was a U.S. Secret Service protectee from Jan. 29, 2009 to July 8, 2014. A
    day before his last trip as a protectee, Time published an article describing Burisma’s
    ramped up lobbying efforts to U.S. officials and Hunter’s involvement in Burisma’s
    board. Before ending his protective detail, Hunter Biden received Secret Service
    protection on trips to multiple foreign locations, including Moscow, Beijing, Doha, Paris,
    Seoul, Manila, Tokyo, Mexico City, Milan, Florence, Shanghai, Geneva, London,
    Dublin, Munich, Berlin, Bogota, Abu Dhabi, Nairobi, Hong Kong, Taipei, Buenos Aires,
    Copenhagen, Johannesburg, Brussels, Madrid, Mumbai and Lake Como.

    1. This is of great interest I’m sure to all the economically anxious red state voters who would dearly love to end capitalism and vote progressive. It’s much more important I’m sure than the billions Kushner got from the Saudis, after holding a high level sensitive position in the White House. You are convincing no one here with this idiocy.

    2. With what exactly are you disagreeing?

    3. The Secret Service is authorized to protect the president and the vice president and their immediate families.

      You have learned the art of stating the obvious.

  4. Sometimes two parties, or two political parties, have a different account on matters that might be criminal. That’s what courts are for. Bob holds out legal structures in strange contempt, at least when the establishing of truth might embarrass conservatives. We have seen this endlessly on this ridiculous blog.
    The fools who trust Fox are indeed dogged in their foolishness. To Bob, this is MSNBC’s fault, or pretty much everyone except said fools.
    They see Trump as a truth telling hero who only picks on people they also like to kick and disparage. Bob demands the rest of the Country keep silent about it. F him.

  5. Somerby and Trump seemed surprised that people earn money for work they have done.

    1. C'mon, try harder, dig deeper. You can come up with something stupider than that to say.

  6. Despite Biden’s claim, Europeans WEREN’T trying to oust Ukraine prosecutor targeting Hunter’s firm

    The European Commission praised Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin for his efforts to fight corruption in a December 2015 progress report published nine days after then-VP Joe Biden demanded his ouster.

    The report flies in the face of Biden’s claims that the European Union joined his demands that Shokin be removed for being corrupt and obstructing anti-corruption reforms.

    In fact, the Dec. 18, 2015, progress report, obtained by the New York Post, says that the European Union was satisfied that Ukraine had achieved “noteworthy” progress, including in “preventing and fighting corruption,” and thus was eligible for visa-free travel in Europe.

    The European Commission noted that Shokin had just appointed the head of a specialized anti-corruption prosecution office, which it described as “an indispensable component of an effective and independent institutional framework for combating high-level corruption.”

    1. Link is

    2. Why do you bother? You know what’s coming. And it’s child play…

    3. …see, there’s this thing called Google, and it only takes a few seconds…

    4. …do you want to give it go? No? Ok fine…

    5. “The European Union has welcomed the dismissal of Ukraine's scandal-ridden prosecutor general”

    6. Wait, what? Holy shit! But DIC and his NY Post…

    7. “Ukraine's parliament voted overwhelmingly to fire Viktor Shokin, ridding the beleaguered prosecutor's office of a figure who is accused of blocking major cases against allies and influential figures and stymying moves to root out graft.

      This decision creates an opportunity to make a fresh start in the prosecutor general's office. I hope that the new prosecutor general will ensure that [his] office . . . becomes independent from political influence and pressure and enjoys public trust," said Jan Tombinski, the EU's envoy to Ukraine.”

    8. The EU’s envoy to Ukraine said that?

      Get the fuck out of here.

      Goddamn I almost got right wing-suckered!

    9. Yeah but where’s the link?

      Ok ok, you win. Europe DID want Shokin ousted, and he WAS ignoring requests to investigate Burisma.

    10. What’s that you say? Republicans wanted Shokin ousted too?

      No fucking way!


    12. Goddamn right wingers like DIC and Somerby are tricky bastards.

      “Fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again.”
      -George W Bush

  7. “The European Union has welcomed the dismissal of Ukraine's scandal-ridden prosecutor general”


    But the U.S. was not alone in pressuring Ukraine to fire Shokin.

    In February 2016, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde threatened to withhold $40 billion unless Ukraine undertook “a substantial new effort” to fight corruption after the country’s economic minister and his team resigned to protest government corruption. That same month, a “reform-minded deputy prosecutor resigned, complaining that his efforts to address government corruption had been consistently stymied by his own prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin,” according to a Jan. 3, 2017, Congressional Research Services report.

    Shokin served as prosecutor general under Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine who fled to Russia after he was removed from power in 2014 and was later found guilty of treason. Shokin remained in power after Yanukovych’s ouster, but he failed “to indict any major figures from the Yanukovych administration for corruption,” according to testimony John E. Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine under President George W. Bush, gave in March 2016 to a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    “By late fall of 2015, the EU and the United States joined the chorus of those seeking Mr. Shokin’s removal as the start of an overall reform of the Procurator General’s Office,” Herbst testified. “U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke publicly about this before and during his December visit to Kyiv; but Mr. Shokin remained in place.”

    1. David Archer, on the Burisma board with Hunter Biden, testified that to his knowledge Shokin was an ally of Burisma. So why would the Biden's push for his ouster? That and a variety of claims by the FBI whistleblower are debunked in a Fact checker column by Glenn Kessler in the Washington Post, based upon extensive research, published August 30, 2023. As usual DIC is FOS.

    2. Glenn Kessler doesn't have a good track record when it comes to fact checker columns that claim to debunk something about Hunter Biden.

    3. I guess this is Devon Archer testifying that to his knowledge Shokin was an ally of Burisma?
      So -- yes. I was -- the narrative that was spun to me, quite frankly, just to be -- and I remember this because, obviously, it's -- the narrative that was spun to me was that Shokin was under control and that whoever the next person that was brought in was -- you know, the fact that he was -- this is the total, this is the narrative spun to me, that Shokin being fired was a -- was not good, because he was like under control as relates to Mykola.

      I have no way to verify that. And that was spun to me from various folks in D.C., not Hunter specifically, but that was what I was led to believe. Whether it's true or not, I cannot speculate.

    4. Archer testified that he was told that Shokin was under control and good for Burisma.

      From one of many similar articles on the issue:

      “a Republican staff interviewer asked Archer to say definitively if he ever witnessed a conversation between a Burisma executive and Hunter Biden about Shokin investigating Burisma.

      “No, that didn’t happen,” Archer said.”

      “Under questioning from Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), Archer said he had “no reason to believe” that the push for Shokin’s ouster was driven by anything other than the U.S. government’s anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”


      Archer: “No that didn’t happen…no reason to believe.”

      In reality Archer’s testimony reinforces that there was no corruption on the Bidens’ part, and the only corruption is in the Repubs attempt to twist, distort, and mislead his testimony.

  9. Another bad day for Putin/Russia:

  10. The firing of the prosecutor may not make any difference at all. There still may be evidence of corruption. I think Joe Biden showed up at a Bursima dinner or something. Someone should Google it. It's not incredible to think Tucker Biden just happened to get that job without his father's involvement.

    1. There’s no evidence of corruption, but you are correct, it’s not incredible to think that Hunter got that job without his father’s involvement, particularly when you consider the context, it becomes very obvious that Joe had nothing to do with Hunter working at Burisma.

      Joe did show up at a dinner with his son, where a Burisma executive was also there, but Joe was there just to stop by and greet someone unrelated, he did not even sit down, all this has been widely reported on, such as this quote from a recent news article:

      “The timeline also says that Biden met Vadym Pozharskyi, an executive at the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, at a dinner Hunter hosted in Washington, D.C., on March 20, 2015. The dinner actually took place nearly a month later, on April 16, 2015. Pozharskyi emailed Hunter after the meal to thank him for “giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together.”

      But Biden only spoke to one person, a recently retired leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, the whole evening. One dinner attendee, then-president of the World Food Program USA Rich Leach, told The Washington Post that Biden “didn’t even sit down,” but only spoke to Father Alex Karloutsos. Karloutsos confirmed Leach’s account.”

      If you’d bother to spend a few seconds on Google, you would avoid making false claims.

    2. What false claim?

    3. The comment may be attempting to claim that there may have been corruption in Biden attending a dinner and/or getting his son a job, which would be a false claim.

      “If you’d bother to spend a few seconds on Google, you would avoid making false claims.”

      This is uncontroversial, it expresses the notion that if you research a subject, you can avoid making false claims about the subject.

    4. What false claim are you talking about?

    5. That Biden being at the dinner is evidence of corruption?

      One wonders why he lied being there initially and all the other lies he told about Hunter's businesses before being exposed to the point where he could no longer lie about it and had to move the goal posts.

    6. Biden being at that dinner was probably corruption. It's sent a message for anyone thinking about investigating the company for corruption to think again because they were protected.

      It's really hard for Democrats because they're called red-handed on a bunch of these things. So they can continue to deny it, but at some point you're going to have to face the fact that they're caught red-handed.

    7. I'm sorry. What I just said was false. They are not caught red-handed. There is a lot of plausible deniability.

    8. You appear stuck in some kind of OCD loop. Yikes!

      The answer to your question is in the above comments, as such, repeating your question suggests a mental disorder producing incoherence, or bad faith questioning, in either case what you have produced is your own irrelevancy.