CNN's "Reliable Sources" offered a panel discussion on June 26 asking if Americans are so apathetic to the truth that our politics have entered a "post-fact check phase." This is a reference to Donald Trump, of course. The media believe he's a liar and gets away with it because of public apathy. What these journalists will never concede, however, is that Democrats get away with dishonesty because of their own apathy. Hillary Clinton's obscene lie about landing in sniper fire in Bosnia is a distant memory.
Washington Post humorist/columnist Gene Weingarten was less than amused. Referencing the segment, he tweeted, "Everyone associated with this needs to be fired, killed, buried in an unmarked grave."
Surely he was reacting to Trump-defending Jeffrey Lord who said, "I honestly don't think that this fact checking business ... is anything more than, you know, one more sort of out-of-touch, elitist, media-type thing." You can start with CNN. It has been documented countless times over the years how its fact-checking of politics has required fact-checking in return.
CNN is by no means alone. This arrogance, this "out-of-touch, elitist, media-type thing," also infects the liberal-media project calling itself PolitiFact. CNN interviewed PolitiFact boss Angie Drobnic Holan, who agreed in assessing last week's candidate speeches that Clinton's was more accurate than Trump's: "Clinton is very well-prepared. She is very literal. She doesn't make unforced errors." Like Bosnia?
Let us briefly review the ratings this "fact-checking" project gave the candidates that week.
Nine of Trump's statements were rated. There was one "Mostly False," four "False," three "Pants on Fire" and one "True" — restating that Hillary-Bosnia thing. Only four of Clinton's statements were rated: two "Mostly True," one "Half True" and one "True."
A Clinton critic can easily shred these results. They found it "True" in a Clinton speech to Planned Parenthood that maternal mortality has plummeted since Roe v. Wade — as if that's some kind of scientific principle connecting the two instead of a general advance in health care since 1973. That was a "Mostly False."
What about Clinton's claim that Trump "actually said, 'women should be punished for having abortions'?" Fact is, under heavy pressure from MSNBC's Chris Matthews Trump gave the thoughtless answer — "there has to be some form of punishment." But fact also is that he then almost immediately backed away, withdrawing that answer. "Half True" is being generous.
PolitiFact avoided rating another Clinton statement altogether. In the same speech she said, "Thank you for being there for Natarsha McQueen, who told me how Planned Parenthood caught her breast cancer when she was just 33 years old, and saved her life." Wrong. One of the most persistent lies is that Planned Parenthood does mammograms and "catches" breast cancer. Planned Parenthood doctors only refer women to other people who do mammograms. Clinton tells that lie incessantly. "Pants on Fire Lie" puts it mildly.
This is a pattern with PolitiFact. Overall, they've rated Trump "False"/"Mostly False"/"Pants on Fire" 77 percent of the time. But they've rated Clinton "False" and "Mostly False" only 26 percent of the time.
The PolitiFact political agenda jumps off the page. On the Republican side, Sen. Ted Cruz lands on the "False" side 65 percent of the time, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 57 percent of the time and former Sen. Rick Santorum 55 percent of the time. For Democrats, President Obama is ruled false 25 percent of the time, and Sen. Bernie Sanders is false only 30 percent of the time. This is the guy who routinely says, "the business model of Wall Street is fraud."
Then consider possible Clinton running mates. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro has 11 ratings from PolitiFact, and not a single one leans false. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has only four ratings, and again, not a single on leans false. It's not just quality of analysis. It's quantity. Cruz and Warren were both elected to the Senate in 2012. Cruz has been assessed for truth on 114 occasions by PolitiFact, but Warren has only been assessed on four? And for the record, there's no rating for Warren claiming to be part Cherokee Indian.
Does this sound like a liberal, out-of-touch, elitist media thing? Jeff Lord nailed it.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.