When it comes to so-called “fact checkers” like FactCheck.org, the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, and Politifact, probably the worst of the bunch is Politifact.
Politifact isn’t exactly the type of fact checking organization that rushes to defend Republicans over false accusations or to take Democrats to task over the lies they tell. They’ve proved it several times over the last couple of months, with the exception of a “pants on fire” rating they gave to California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) earlier this month (because even a broken clock is right twice a day).
The latest example of their unreliability and inconsistency comes from a fact check they did today of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s claim that Trump has never condemned racists like David Duke or Richard Spencer.
Here’s how they started it off:
In a speech in Iowa Aug. 20, Biden said:
“David Duke, head of the Ku Klux Klan, former head of the Klan. When that group came out of the woods, the fields, carrying those torches he said, ‘That’s why we voted for Donald Trump.’ He said he would take the country back. The white nationalist, Richard Spencer, he hailed Trump. He said, ‘This is the white nationalism we have been looking for.’ Did you hear him condemn either one of those people? Ever utter a word of condemnation?”
Biden didn’t answer his own question, but he was clearly stating Trump hasn’t condemned either racist leader.
Next, they don’t accuse Biden of lying, they just say he’s “exaggerating” about Trump’s criticisms of David Duke even though they admit in the very next sentence that Trump’s condemnation of David Duke “goes back decades.”
After that, they insinuate that Biden’s claim about Trump condemning Richard Spencer can’t be considered “pants on fire” false because of Trump’s comments about the Charlottesville riots (which they’ve wrongly mischaracterized):
But Biden exaggerates when he says Trump hasn’t condemned Duke at all.
Trump’s condemnation of Duke goes back decades, though sometimes Trump has been more forceful than other times. Trump has also criticized demonstrations in which Spencer participated. But then Trump also said that there were “very fine people, on both sides” at the Charlottesville, Va., march.
Throughout the piece, Politifact gives numerous examples of Trump condemning the KKK. Of Trump condemning David Duke. Of Trump disavowing racist protests like the ones put on or participated in by Spencer.
But even after definitively proving Biden’s claims were “pants on fire” false, they gave it a “mostly false” rating. In again saying Biden was merely “exaggerating”, they explain why here:
Trump didn’t condemn Duke when asked about him in an interview with Tapper on CNN in 2016. But decades before, he had clearly condemned the former KKK leader — and he did so after the Tapper interview, too. Some of his disavowals have been brief.
We can’t find an example of Trump condemning Spencer by name or being asked to do so, but he has criticized gatherings where Spencer, a white nationalist, played a major role, including Charlottesville.
But Trump has at times detracted from his own denunciation of racism. Most notably, Trump said there were “very fine people, on both sides” at the Charlottesville march. At other times his denunciations have seemed reluctantly made. But he has made them.
We rate this statement Mostly False.
This is simply not true, and they even have the complete transcript of the press conference on their own website of what Trump said after Charlottesville, which disproves their insinuation that the presser “detracted” from his denunciations of racism.
With fact checking outlets like Politifact and mainstream media outlets like NBC News and CNN, Republicans literally cannot win. When you do condemn racists and racism, it’s not enough. No matter how often you do it.
I suspect this is probably the reason Trump refuses to continuously play the “do you condemn/disavow/repudiate” game, because he knows his critics are going to spin whatever he says to their advantage, no matter how dishonestly they have to in order to fit their false narratives, which in turn whips up the outrage mobs to fever pitches.
I think we should start calling these “fact checks” by a more accurate name: “fake checks.” Because that’s what they are.
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –