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Friday, November 17, 2023
MRC Nitpicks GOP Debate Fact-Checkers
Topic: Media Research Center

Along with its defense of the second Republican presidential debate, the Media Research Center engaged itn its usual sniping of fact-checkers who responded to claims made at the debate. Alex Christy, in full DeSantis Defense Brigade mode, nitpicked one fact-checker in a Sept. 28 post:

During Wednesday’s GOP Presidential Debate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defended his state’s history standards on slavery by labeling criticisms of them a “hoax” that has been perpetrated by Vice President Kamala Harris. Such a defense did not sit well with the fact-checking industry despite DeSantis being correct.

On CNN’s post-debate coverage, Daniel Dale told Anderson Cooper, “Governor DeSantis's hoax claim is false, Anderson. It is not a hoax. Florida social studies standards for middle schoolers includes the sentence that the moderator read to him here. And I think Governor DeSantis effectively admitted it was not a hoax when immediately after he called it a hoax, he pivoted to defending that sentence as being written by great scholars who are descendants of slaves.”

Dale continued, “So, here are the facts. Florida's new standards for sixth through eighth graders say they will -- quote – ‘examine the various duties and trades performed by slaves,’ and it gives a bunch of examples. And then it goes on to say that this -- it says that the standards say that this ‘instruction includes how slaves develop skills, which in some instances could be applied for their personal benefit.’”

However, Dale undermined his own point that DeSantis was almost certainly referring to Harris’s conclusion of the curriculum, not what it literally says, “So again, the moderator wasn't making it up, Vice President Harris didn't make it up, it is there in black and white. Now, some context, the governor, his allies and various other Republicans, I've heard an argument from our Scott Jennings, they've said that the so-called hoax is making it sound like the curriculum broadly is pro-slavery.”

Conceding that they have a point, Dale observed, “They correctly note that the standards include item after item after item about the evils of slavery in addition to this line. And they're entitled to make that argument, though some other elements have also received criticism from historians. But in this debate, you know, he was read the precise line. He made it sound like it was a line made up by VP Harris.”

So, what exactly is Dale fact-checking? DeSantis called accusations that Florida is teaching that somehow slavery was a good thing a hoax and Dale conceded that he is correct, but still labeled him false.

Christy returned a couple hours later to grumble about more fact-checks:

During Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate, the various reporters at The New York Times assembled to fact-check the various candidates and it did go well as they attacked them everything from “Joe Biden hides in his basement” to Iran to energy to transgenderism.

On former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s claim that “Joe Biden hides in his basement,” White House correspondent Michael Shear got hyper-literal, “this is false.”

Of course, Christie was speaking metaphorically about how Biden dodges accountability for things like the national debt. Christie also accused Donald Trump of hiding behind his golf clubs, but since that was obviously metaphorical and an attack on Trump, Shear left it alone.


Shear also rode to Biden’s defense when North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum accused him of setting “a price on anyone’s head who’s a tourist from America. Who’s a student from America, for kidnapping” by paying $6 billion to Iran. Shear gave this claim the dreaded “this requires context.”

Burgum’s claim is a policy opinion that handing over money to Iran encourages more hostage taking. That the money was “in Iran’s oil revenues that were sitting, unusable, in South Korean banks” doesn’t matter because if Burgum’s opinion is correct it would require the release of more sanctioned money in the future without any change in Tehran’s behavior.

But Christy made no effort to prove Burgum correct -- which means that the fact-check stands.

Joseph Vazauez spent his own Sept. 28 post that Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler wouldn't fall in line with right-wing narratives on the economy:

Apparently The Washington Post’s in-house fact-butcher Glenn Kessler hasn’t learned his lesson. He regurgitated one of his already-debunked arguments spinning inflation data to protect President Joe Biden.

Kessler used the second GOP presidential primary debate to once again target candidates who dared to suggest that American families lost significant spending power as a result of President Biden’s inflation crisis. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley asserted that Biden’s economy has cost “$7,000 more a year for families,” which Kessler got triggered over. He attributed Haley’s statement to analysis conducted by Heritage Foundation economist EJ Antoni, which the fact-checker brazenly misrepresented. Kessler falsely claimed that Antoni’s analysis was faulty because it supposedly “relied on a change in purchasing power and a change in borrowing power. The change in borrowing power relied on mortgage rates — and not every family is looking for a new home.” This isn’t the first time Kessler has done this.

Vazquez featured a lot of ranting by Antoni accusing Kessler of getting things wrong. He couldn't be bothered to obtain a response from Kessler, however, since narrative trumps facts and fairness at the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 PM EST

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