Accuracy in Media

PolitiFact, not known to be neutral politically, has retracted its positive rating of the Obama administration’s handling of Syria. The administration claimed that they were able to remove all of Syria’s chemical weapons.

The recent chemical weapon attack in Syria suggested that the Obama administration was not truthful in their claim.

PolitiFact sai the following about the retraction:

The outcry leads us to revisit a 2014 claim from former Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry said in a television interview that in Syria, “we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out.”

Syria had agreed in 2013 to an ambitious program to destroy its chemical stockpiles under international supervision, as part of a deal brokered by Russia. When Kerry spoke in July 2014, the process seemed far along. Based on reports from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons — which later won the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts — we rated that claim Mostly True. There were caveats about incomplete information, but at the time, international experts said the claim largely held up.

Given recent events, we have pulled that fact-check (you can read an archived version here) because we now have many unanswered questions.

We don’t know key details about the reported chemical attack in Syria on April 4, 2017, but it raises two clear possibilities: Either Syria never fully complied with its 2013 promise to reveal all of its chemical weapons; or it did, but then converted otherwise non-lethal chemicals to military uses.





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