Topic: Media Research Center
Tim Graham's main job at the Media Research Center is to whine that President Trump gets fact-checked more than Democrats, while studioiusly ignoring the inconvenient fact that Trump tells more lies than most Democrats (or even most Democrats combined). The whining continued in a Nov. 25 MRC podcast, where Graham ranted:
I always put air quotes around the notion of independent fact-checkers. It's really important to understand that most of the people who do fact-checking are liberal journalists working for liberal outfits. So the fact-checker at the Washington Post, under the motto "Democracy Dies in Darkness," is going to be a fact-checker who counts Trump lies and doesn't count Democrat lies. So the other day, when some liberal Hollywood celebrity -- like Barbra Steisand, I think in this case -- said Trump's lied 22,000 times, and you ask, where would the get a stat like that? The Washington Post fact-checker. And now, of course, liberals always mangle this number, because if they say there are 22,000 lies, that's not accurate, because the way they do it at the Washington Post is to say Trump has committed or uttered 22,000 false or misleading statements. So misleading statements and lies are not the same thing.
At lot of times, for example, that the Washington Post loves to do is Trump will say this is the best economy for black Americans ever and they'll say -- or the best unemployment for black Americans ever [sic], and they will say, well, the federal government didn't start measure black unemployment until 1972, therefore you're lying, or therefore it's a misleading statement. So there's a lot of times -- we all understand Donald Trump loves to exaggerate, you know, make things sound as good as they possibly can, but it's not a lie to say it was a good economy for minorities. This is where you say, again, the fact-checkers seem on a lot of occasions to be accomplishing things that just line up so neatly with the Democratic agenda.
In fact, the Post did not cite the fact that black unemployment statistics weren't kept until 1972 as a reason Trump's statement is misleading (or at least the sole reason; it did note times in which other government statistics claiming black unemployment was lower in 1953). Rather, it points out Trump does not deserve the amount of credit he is taking because it was (pre-pandemic) the continuation of a black unemployment rate drop that started in 2010.
In short: Graham is once again complaining that Trump is being fact-checked at all.
Graham then read from his and Brent Bozell's pro-Trump, anti-media book "Unmasked," huffing about how PolitiFact "gets large grants from liberal foundations like the Ford Foundation -- which is the biggest, most massive, most leftist foundations out there -- the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the leftist Craig Newmark Foundation." He then declared, "This is one of the reasons we got into the sort of 'fact-checking of fact-checkers' project we do here at NewsBusters. Because when you use categories like true, mostly true, false, mostly false, pants on fire lie, it has that image or proclamation of some sort of great, scientific statement. And I think we've discovered over the years there isn't science, there's a lot of opinion."
Graham went on to deny the fact-checking parity he has been effectively demanding for years: "Liberals can argue they shouldn't have to observe some quota in which everyone gets an equally true and false rating. We understand that -- we don't expect you to give Donald Trump an equally true and false rating. But wewould expect to smome extent that you wouldapply the same standards to Republicans and Democrats, and they have a really bad habit of not doing that." This from the guy who wants you to think Democrats are all liars and Trump merely "exaggerates" and "makes things sound as good as they possibly can" and that shouldn't he held accountable for it. And, of course, he went on to rant about Trump and conservatives were rated as liars much more often than Democrats as liberals. So, yes, Graham absolutely expects and demands fact-checking parity.
Continuing to read from his book (which is certainly a surefire way to fill out a half-hour of podcast time), Graham also complained that PolitiFact fact-checked Hillary Clinton's camapaign memoir and didn't find anything false in it, and "that includes blaming the news media for her loss (they were 91 percent anti-Trump)." In fact, "the media" -- as defined by the MRC's extremely narrow description of "explicitly evaluative statements" on theevening newscasts of CBS, NBC and ABC -- was anti-Hillary, and Graham and the MRC knew it. As we documented, the MRC found in the same 2016 "study" that claimed a 91 percent negative rating for Trump that "the media" was 79 percent negative against Hillary. But it downplayed those results in order to push the "media hates Trump" narrative.
Graham also denied that he and that MRC are trying to destroy fact-checking, citing a call from what he derisively called "the dopes at Snopes" worried that the MRC's anti-fact-checking jihad meant, in his words, that "we were going to declare all of, you know, every fact-check is a fraud, or that there is no such notion or facts or truth. You know, I think part of the problem here is that we disagree on what facts are sometimes, and there's so many times that on these matters of evaluation that liberals confuse their own opinions with the facts." Of course, Graham will never admit that he's doing the exact same thing.
Graham ultimately huffed of the Washington Post's Pinocchio ratings system: "I think we can all predict there's not going to be a lot of four-Pinocchio ratings for Biden. The Washington Post is not going to count how many thousands of lies or false statements that Biden's committed. Which only underlines this whole project was to make a rhetorical point and to score the other side's rhetoric was full of lies." hethen argued that political rhethoric should not be judged as true or false and that only "obviously false or tremendously misleading" statements should be held to account.
Again: All this whining from Graham is because Trump keeps being exposed as a serial spreader of falsehoods and misinformation, and not only doesn't he think Trump should ever face any consequences for that, he doesn't want Trump's lies to taint the rest of the right-wing media. So fact-checkers must be brought down.