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Wednesday, October 12, 2016
MRC's War on Fact-Checking Continues
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center remains as anti-fact as ever. Witness Curtis Houck's whining about fact-checking after the Oct. 9 presidential debate:

NewsBusters has documented extensively over the past year Politifact's blatant bias and selective fact-checking of liberals, but the divide kicked into high gear on Sunday night in the second presidential debate as, using previous posts, it examined only six statements by Democrat Hillary Clinton versus 15 statements by Republican Donald Trump.

Not surprisingly, Politifact ruled that, of the five Clinton statements, all five were either “true,” “mostly true” or “half true” with a sixth about coal and her energy policy given no review but instead directed readers to a post about her thoughts on coal “in context.”

As for Trump, they looked at 15 claims and deemed one “full flop,” seven “false” or “mostly false” (with a ninth all but labeled so), one “half true,” two “mostly true,” one “true,” and two not given a ruling.


Diligent readers would notice that there was nothing examined about what Clinton said concerning her e-mail scandal, Wall Street speeches, or Trump supporters being a “basket of deplorables,” but then again, this is Politifact we’re dealing with.

Moving to Trump, the litany of statement Politifact sprinted to debunk was, to say the least, long and extensive. 

Diligent readers will also notice that Houck never does his own fact-checking of Clinton in order to prove PolitiFact wrong -- he simply rattles off a list of right-wing talking points. He's also pushing the claim that Clinton lied just as much as Trump during the debate -- which is simply not true. As the Washington Post noted, Clinton "on occasion made a factual misstep, but it didn’t even compare to Trump’s long list of exaggerations."

Yet Houck concludes his post by insisting he's not trying to draw false equivalence:

One can make the argument that Trump may say more things that are factually inaccurate, but a fact-checking site claiming to be dedicated to holding both sites accountable proved on Sunday night that they are either incapable of doing so or don’t care to.

Houck still doesn't want to concede that Trump tells significantly more falsehoods than Clinton does. When one side tells more falsehoods than the other, the record must reflect that. Houck insists that PolitiFact should be "holding both sites accountable," but in pointing out that Trump lies more, it's actually reflecting the record. Houck doesn't want to admit that -- or even the basic, indisputable premise that Trump does, indeed, tell more falsehoods. He must defend Trump, after all.

The MRC's war on fact-checkers continued with  Tom Blumer ranting about debate fact-checks that were too pedantic for his taste and stuck with facts rather than spinning things for Trump.

Blumer concludes by stating: "We can expect more 'Stupid Fact Checks' to appear on a nearly daily basis between now and Election Day. To echo the press's disingenuous whine, we can expect them to occur so quickly that no one can possibly keep up with all of them. " Of course, to Blumer, any fact-check that points out how much of a liar Trump is is, by definition, "stupid."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:54 PM EDT

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