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It’s Been a Rough Few Days for the Fact-Checkers

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"Riffed from the Headlines" is Townhall's daily VIP feature with coverage on the deeply flawed aspects of journalism in the nation. We'll look to bring accountability to the mishaps, malaprops, misdeeds, manipulations, malpractice, and manufactured narratives in mainstream media.

10.25.21

Body Checking the Fact Checkers – VARIOUS OUTLETS

  • Biden's town hall has presented numerous challenges for those polishing his image.

On Thursday evening, CNN hosted for the third time this year a town hall for President Joe Biden. The invite-only crowd peppered him with a few questions, and this sent the White House into overtime, as numerous administration figures were issuing corrections to what Biden said during the telecast.

Also doing yeoman's work with the cleanup has been the media fact-checkers. Two points made that evening had the media's Truth Detectors™ in hyperdrive. The first was the need to debunk that Biden gave a racist hand gesture. In his monologue, he mentioned, laughably, that corporations pay zero dollars in income taxes; he then made his hand into the OK sign and held it up to his eye. Many on social media joking called it the White Power salute, mocking the years spent by the press pushing this ridiculous fable. But today, they recoil at the mention of such, as Reuters and PolitiFact both issued corrections on this farcical claim.

Another section had a person in the audience asking why Biden had yet to visit the border, and he stammered while claiming he had been there at some point. The White House on Friday tried to spin this, saying he had once made a campaign stop in the region. Daniel Dale of CNN and Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post dutifully followed up on this, confirming he did sort of drive-by the border in his motorcade. That was in 2008, so according to these masters of mendacity, this counts as not being a lie. Here is a full breakdown of all the broken-down claims these experts provided.

Anti Social Media – VOX

  • Requiring non-compulsory coverage of non-news stories is a bad look.

One of the "gotcha" methods used by critics of Fox News is detailing the news stories that the network is supposedly not covering or is not covering in an appropriately obsessive fashion. So tired is this technique that we showed how Oliver Darcy used lazy efforts to make this sting and shot himself in the foot in doing so. 

In the latest example, Aaron Rupar looked at the announcement of Fox personality Neil Cavuto coming down with a breakthrough case of Covid and, like Brian Stelter, he saw a chance to slam the competition – Fox wasn't covering the story!

Why an individual contracting Covid is considered breaking news is a curiosity, as well as insisting it is compulsory to do so. It is a personal matter for Cavuto, after all, in how it is addressed. Then there is the small matter that announcements had been made during the days where Rupar repeatedly made the charge that Cavuto would sit for a lengthy interview on Sunday with Howie Kurtz on his "Media Buzz" program.

Pathological Media Amnesia – THE WASHINGTON POST

In possibly the most tone-deaf feature possible at WaPo, Ashley Parker and Carissa Wolf detail a very disturbing trend seen across the country – people are vocally objecting to Joe Biden! They actually present this as if it is both a novel development and one isolated to one party.

"Yet the anger also demonstrates how a political party or cause often needs an enemy, a target of vilification that can unite its adherents — and, in this case, one refracted through the harshness, norm-breaking and vulgarity of the Trump era."

The paper had to hilariously issue a correction on this piece already, as they made an assumption that Donald Trump Jr. provoked the wrong chant at a rally. One of detail; the writers were intemperate about a politician uttering the now-famous chant on the House floor. Funny how over the past four years, there was far less shock over far more profane invective delivered from the Left.

DNC PR Firm – LOS ANGELES TIMES

On "Reliable Sources," Brian Stelter hosted LA Times columnist Jackie Calmes, and it is easy to see why. The completely neutral, unbiased, objective, and even-handed journalist was on to explain that those in the media need to make a change – they are treating the Republican Party too nicely.

- "Political journalists are failing the public when they indulge 'both-siderism.' She says the radicalization of the GOP is a key story: 'People are feeling like, well, without Trump in the picture, we're sort of back to normal. And, in fact, we're not.'"

This is hack behavior, to be sure – but let's at least give her a little bit of credit for being honest about her approach to her work. 

Blue-Anon – WASHINGTON POST

Major League Baseball has been pitching its share of distemper this season, the nadir being the league officials removing the All-Star game from Atlanta, the original host city, in reaction to the state legislature passing a voter integrity bill. Not content to let controversies settle, WaPo jumps in with a scathing announcement: Now the accursed Atlant Braves had a singer deliver the National Anthem on Saturday who opposes vaccine mandates!

It is not entirely obvious why this qualifies as news, but they do go on to say that Travis Tritt would not have been able to sing at the Los Angeles Dodgers park because that stadium enforces mandates. "The choice is somewhat puzzling because it seems to court unnecessary controversy, given Tritt's stance against vaccination mandates."

Rather amusing to see an outlet recognize the idiocy of a controversy and still plow forward with highlighting that non-controversy. 

Reporting on the Mirror – MSNBC

  • The first step is admitting it.

Chris Hayes was commenting on a profile article he read concerning Katie Couric, as she continues promoting her new book release. However, in making a pithy quip, I do not think Hayes intended to make what is ultimately a revealing admission.

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