As we shared with you yesterday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has taken the unprecedented step of
bullying pressuring tonight’s debate moderator to intercede and play fact-checker, in real time, with Donald Trump. (And they accuse Trump of being the bully?)
Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters on a conference call:
“His level of lying is unprecedented in American politics,” Palmieri said of Trump.
“This is the role of the moderator … to call out those lies, and do it in real time,” Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters on a conference call. “To not do that is to give Donald Trump a very unfair advantage. Any candidate who tells this many lies clearly can’t win the debate on the merits.”
Pretty rich, isn’t it, coming from the Hillary Clinton camp — the woman whose whole political life is built on one ginormous pile of lies, whose name invokes the word “liar” from even small children who know little else about her. Hillary Clinton is, once again, projecting — loudly accusing her opponent of precisely the thing of which she herself is guilty.
While it’s unclear as of yet whether tonight’s moderator, Lester Holt, will comply with Team Hillary’s wishes, at least one network is stepping in to do so. Bloomberg TV has announced it will do fact-checking on-screen during tonight’s debate.
The channel’s decision to conduct an on-screen fact-check sets Bloomberg apart from the other major TV networks, none of whom have committed to doing on-screen fact checks during the debate. Most will leave the fact-checking to segments in the post-debate analysis coverage.
Clinton’s supporters have called for aggressive fact-checking during Monday’s debate, saying that members of the media have failed to adequately fact-check and correct falsehoods from her Republican rival. NBC’s Matt Lauer was recently criticized for not correcting several false statements from Trump during a presidential forum on the network.
Spokespeople for the networks told POLITICO that on-screen fact checks would be hard to execute in real-time, which is why they were opting out. That leaves the real-time fact-checking up to NBC’s Lester Holt, the debate moderator, or Clinton herself.
Several other news organizations, including NPR, have said they will conduct fact-checks of the debate online and in their post-debate analyses.
While at first it might comfort some to know Bloomberg will fact-check both candidates, the truth is, as Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto opined on Twitter: ”‘Fact checking’ is opinion journalism pretending to be some sort of heightened objectivity.” The Washington Times has eight examples of this.
The problem is, as we know all too well, “facts” can be subject to interpretation — just ask FBI Director James Comey, who found a pile of evidence to suggest criminal wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton, but deemed not to recommend criminal charges. And, similarly, statistics and data can be manipulated and/or cherry-picked to prove just about whichever point you wish to make — you know the old saying, “Lies, damn lies and statistics.”
And on a related note, fact-checking can only be done on the information accessible to the fact-checkers. So, for example, that pile of documents Hillary’s State Department has been sitting on, stonewalling the release of, will not be available to confirm or contradict the former Secretary of State’s statements.
Moreover, the “journalists” doing the fact-checking will be making their own subjective judgements about which statements to cherry pick and fact-check, no doubt, and which ones to let just pass by. If there’s one thing that’s been made abundantly clear this election cycle — confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt — it’s that objectivity has become a relic of the past in journalism.
And, in case you’re still putting some faith in the “objectivity” of tonight’s fact-checkers, any idea who is a majority owner of Bloomberg TV? Yep, Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg — who endorsed none other than Hillary Clinton.
The theory of fact-checking actually isn’t a bad one — if it could be truly objective. We kinda used to expect our media to play that role, before much of them became soldiers in the progressive agenda-pushing — and even have come out openly in the tank for one candidate in this cycle.
In fact, it would’ve been great to deploy fact-checking for President Obama’s State of the Union addresses — or even the White House daily briefings. And, let’s be honest, fact-checking Hillary Clinton might just break the entire network.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]