The most irritating trend in media will always be the fact check. It is little more than a media outlet’s opportunity to stick it to someone under the guise of journalism.
The flaw in the practice is that personal vendetta can get in the way of actual fact-checking, and make for logically incoherent fact checks that are all too easy to spot. Take today’s “fact checking” of Trump from the Associated Press.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is falsely asserting that the federal policy that split migrant families at the border was practiced by his predecessor, Barack Obama, as well.
“Falsely asserting”? No. We’ve seen multiple news reports from the Obama years that showed this happening. How is this false?
The Obama and Trump administrations operated under the same immigration laws but the “zero tolerance” policy that drove children from their parents was Trump’s.
…Oh. I see. It’s the fact that Trump did it more.
Obama did not have a separation policy. The Trump administration didn’t, explicitly, either, but that was the effect of zero tolerance, which meant that anyone caught crossing the border illegally was to be criminally prosecuted, even if they had few or no previous offences.
The policy meant adults were taken to court for criminal proceedings and their children were separated. In most cases, if the charge took longer than 72 hours to process, which is the longest time that children can be held by Customs and Border Protection, children were sent into the care of the Health and Human Services Department. Zero tolerance remains in effect, but Trump signed an executive order June 20 that stopped separations.
So, what this supposed fact check is saying is that Trump is wrong because it wasn’t an explicit “child separation policy.” It was just the policy and practice of separating children from their accompanying adult while court hearings happened.
It happened during Obama’s administration, and it happened during Trump’s administration. However, Trump is wrong to say that Obama’s administration applied it as “policy” but Trump did. Because… because… well, I dunno. Shut up.
And then the AP has the tenacity to tack this on to the end of the “fact checking” so that they can claim they were fair. The writer has to acknowledge that Trump was correct when he said pictures of child separation in action came from the Obama era.
The president is correct, however, in saying that photos of children in holding cells were misrepresented online as showing the effects of Trump’s immigration policy.
Fact checking is an embarrassment, and it has only gotten worse since Trump came into power. This compulsion of journalists to dunk on him and screw it up in the process is the reason why faith in the media is so low. It makes no sense to do this, but they keep doing it over and over.