Accuracy in Media

The Washington Post Fact Checker column, which has analyzed the accuracy of both Republican and Democratic politicians’ public statements for the past eight years, is puzzled at the media’s reluctance to challenge presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump over the numerous inaccurate statements he has made since declaring his candidacy for the presidency last year.

According to the Fact Checker, Trump has made 26 Four-Pinocchio statements—the highest rating that can be earned—which represents 70 of his statements that have been fact-checked by the Post.

The Fact Checker’s Glenn Kessler laments the fact that despite the numerous inaccurate statements, the media let Trump go unchallenged on most of what he says.

Kessler cites Trump’s statement that he was against the 2003 invasion of Iraq and that the White House sent a delegation to tell him to tone it down, when in fact Trump had expressed his support for the attack. Kessler considers this to be one of the more egregious examples of the media allowing Trump to go unchallenged for misstating the facts.

Other Four-Pinocchio claims include, “ISIS has the oil [in Libya]. ISIS is making a fortune now in Libya;” “There are scores of recent migrants inside our borders charged with terrorism;” and Russian President Vladimir Putin “called me a genius.” These are just a few of the 26 examples the Fact Checker has compiled to date.

Kessler thinks that TV hosts should have a list of Trump’s repeated misstatements so that he can be challenged on them should he repeat them. But Kessler doesn’t say that the same should be true of likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who has repeatedly lied about Benghazi, her private email server, contributions to the Clinton Foundation, etc., often without being challenged by the media despite ample evidence to the contrary.

If the media are going to challenge Trump on his misstatements, as they should, they will also need to apply the same standard to Hillary Clinton, which may be difficult since it would mean that they would have to actually try to be unbiased.

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