Objective reporting ‘helps Trump and normalizes his behavior by promoting false equivalents like Hillary’s emails and Biden’s gaffes…’
(Dan E. Way, Liberty Headlines) Democrats finally agree. Media fact-checkers are dangerously biased. When they fact-check Democrats, that is.
As Politico reported on Wednesday, deep resentment is gaining momentum on the Left as one Democratic presidential candidate after another is called to account for untruthful statements on the high-profile campaign stage.
It is a bizarre turn of events, given that Republicans and conservatives have long felt mainstream media fact-checkers have it in for them, and are little more than left-leaning opinion writers masquerading as neutral arbiters of the facts.
A Pew Research Center survey released June 27 found a nation evenly divided in its confidence about fact-checkers. Fifty percent of respondents think they treat all sides fairly, but 48 percent said they lean one way or the other.
More telling was the partisan split showing 70 percent of Republicans don’t trust fact-checkers, but 69 percent of Democrats believe they’re reliable.
Far-left operatives in the Trump era haven’t helped the trust divide by invoking claims of “false equivalency” in their effort to move the ethical goalposts.
Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow for the Brookings Institution, recently suggested that the media shouldn’t seek balance in pointing out untruth.
Doing so only “helps Trump and normalizes his behavior by promoting false equivalents like Hillary’s emails and Biden’s gaffes,” Rauch said.
1/7 In 2016, gullible media (I don’t exempt myself) helped elect Trump by letting him distract us and providing false “balance.” Uh-oh. Here we go again…
— Jonathan Rauch (@jon_rauch) September 5, 2019
But now, some have abandoned even the nuanced debate of moral relativism, claiming any lie from the Left, no matter how egregious, deserves a free pass since the ends justify the means.
Politico summed up the Democratic presidential candidates’ sudden unease with fact-checking as a belief the greater good is not being served by holding them to standards of truthfulness.
“Trump’s bold lies and spreading of disinformation—which have been regularly cited by almost every mainstream news organization—are a core part of their case against him,” Politico said.
“But when those same outlets begin parsing Democrats for using questionable data and making exaggerations, they create the impression that everyone’s a fibber,” it continued. “When it comes to lying, Democrats say, Donald Trump has once again broken the bounds of politics as usual, and the media is only helping him by enforcing the old rules.”
In other words, the Democrats were much happier when their fact-checking allies in the liberal media obsessed over Trump, and didn’t pay close attention to their falsehoods and distortions.
PolitiFact editor Angie Drobnic Holan has a different take. “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” she told Politico.
Although her site has often been criticized for its leftward skew—including its selective fact-checking and double-standards in its rating system—Holan said there was a particular need to call out primary candidates whose truth-parsing could undermine other Democrats.
It would be “a huge disservice to the voting public, the primary voters, for fact-checkers to pull their punches in any way,” she said.
That doesn’t mean fact-checkers don’t still merit fact-checking themselves.
The Washington Examiner is among those that have expressed frustration with fact-checkers, saying they have gotten lazier amid a feeding frenzy to find new ways to burn Trump on something, anything, regardless of size or relevance, with hopes of one-upping each other.