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OPINION

The Unmissable Liberal Tilt of the 'Fact-Checkers'

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Conservatives on Twitter are mocking CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale again, especially since his Twitter bio explains his work as "fact-checking the president." Fox News reported on June 16 that Dale hadn't published a fact-check of President Joe Biden since March 30, and that was only online, not on TV. "Since that time, though, his database shows 21 bylined stories or on-air appearances that fact-checked claims made by Republicans, most of them by Trump."

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One of the reasons you can laugh at the phrase "independent fact-checkers" is the apparent tilt in targeting. CNN may not be paid by the Democrats, but the target list makes it look like they are. CNN's obsession with Trump always prompts the question, "Who is the president now?" Because CNN acts like Trump never lost. Biden simply isn't someone powerful enough to evaluate.

Biden can repeatedly suggest the Republicans are pushing "Jim Crow 2.0" -- as if they were all segregationists -- and Dale and his colleague say nothing. An actress can wisecrack on CBS live coverage of the Tony Awards that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is a "Grand Wizard" of the Ku Klux Klan, and nobody objects.

On June 16 in Hartford, Connecticut, Biden falsely claimed, "Every damn day in America -- in areas that are poor, mostly minority -- there's a mass shooting." Fact-checkers, assemble?

PolitiFact is also an obvious example of tilt. For example, Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren were both elected to the Senate in 2012. Through 2016, Cruz was assessed for truth on 114 occasions by PolitiFact, and while he ran for president, Ted Cruz landed on the "False" side of their "Truth-O-Meter" 65% of the time.

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But Warren at that time? Only four checks and not a single "False." Amazingly, PolitiFact never evaluated Warren on the "Truth-O-Meter" when she claimed to be part-Cherokee Indian.

Today, four years after Warren's own presidential campaign launched, Cruz has 167 fact checks, and 106 of them (63.4%) are "Mostly False," "False," or "Pants on Fire." Warren has only 35 checks, and only six of them (17.1%) are on the "False" side.

Check that number of "False" checks again -- Cruz, 106, Warren, six. Cruz was tagged as a "Pants on Fire" liar 11 times, and Warren -- "Fauxcahontas" -- never drew one.

We found that overall, in 2017 and through November 2018, conservatives and Republicans were tagged as "Pants on Fire" liars in 96 articles. Liberals and Democrats? Fifteen. That's a margin of more than six to one.

Over his first 20 months in office, Biden had 58 fact-checks, while Biden's critics were checked 338 times. Overall, there were 5.8 fact-checks of Biden's critics for every one of the presidents.

In an interview with the liberal website The Verge, NBC's Chuck Todd exemplified the media's defiance of anyone who dares to assert a liberal bias. "I hear the attacks on fact-checkers where they 'fact-check Republicans six times more than they fact-check Democrats.' Yeah. Perhaps the Republicans are being factually incorrect more often than the Democrats."

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Someone who asserts the Republicans lie six times more often than Democrats sounds like a Democrat. Chuck Todd is obviously a Democrat. And so are the "independent fact-checkers."

Tim Graham is the director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Tim Graham and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


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