There may be no better example of fact-check hackery than Daniel Dale excusing the source of a quote.
I mean it when I say I love the fact-checkers in the media. There may be no better representation of the corrupted condition of our press than these offshoot minions of journalism. Consider – if a journalist’s job is the delivery of facts, then why does any outlet need an adjunct division dedicated strictly to the facts? That these arbiters of the truth are used as a biased tool has been known for some time.
The initial analysis of a story is straightforward, concerning it being either correct or incorrect. The fact-checkers, however, parse judgment with up to five measurements, considering nuance and context, all done to manipulate the desired result. A Republican can be fact-checked as saying something that is fully correct, but they can earn a Half-True or Mostly False designation as interpretational elements get imported. Recently our partner site Townhall was challenged in a fact check for doing nothing more than posting a direct quote by Joe Biden with a video of him speaking – with no commentary added.
Today brings us this piece of majesty from CNN’s corrective Kaiser, Daniel Dale. He was taking on the cause of verifying something going on in Washington D.C. and the recently strengthened COVID protocols in the city. A pair of GOP lawmakers dared point out that in order to cruise through town, residents would be required to have layers of ID on hand, and be masked in an appropriate fashion. Marsha Blackburn weighed in on the announcement.
Liberal logic: you need a photo ID to buy milk but not to vote. https://t.co/eVRMwss1Wt
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) January 12, 2022
Ron Johnson also addressed the new parameters in a tweet of his own.
Dems think it's racist to require voter ID but are happy to segregate the unvaxxed and require anyone leaving their home to have a photo ID, mask, and proof of vaccine.
Big Brother Dems want to divide us. How will they enforce? https://t.co/ZUr6i7FzjJ
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) January 12, 2022
As you can see in both examples, the senators included the tweet from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, where she declared the list of items that would be needed for you to dare break the seal on your front door and attempt to join polite society. Mr. Dale saw these two examples of Republicans getting chirpy about the ordinance and – dare I say it? – he pounced.
Dale issued a fact-check on the matter, taking the politicians to task for not delivering completely accurate representations of the new ordinance. It is beyond revealing that he takes a far more strident examination of the GOPers’ comments than he does Ms. Bowser, the very source of their comments.
Last week, some Republican lawmakers wrongly described Washington DC’s new proof-of-vaccination policy — incorrectly tweeting that the Democratic-run city is requiring people to show photo identification to buy milk or even to leave their homes.
Now, Dale recognizes that he has a challenge in front of him, in that those lawmakers dared to provide evidence of their position – Bowser’s tweets. Thus, Dale has to resort to one of the tools in the fact-checking tool kit, which is interpretation.
The tweet concluded by saying people could get more information by clicking her link to a government website.
Then, with the reframing in place, he tried to paint a new picture.
Two Republican senators amplified Bowser’s tweet in their own tweets. If they had clicked the link to get more information, however, they did not show it.
This is both precious and pathetic work. Sure, they were quoting the mayor directly, but they could have been more accurate if they had done more work. As for the mayor, her misrepresenting the issue and failing to be comprehensive in her description was not problematic. This stance is shown in the prior comment Dale made concerning the players.
Their inaccurate tweets, however, came after Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser herself used overly broad language in a tweet describing the policy. Bowser’s tweet could have led the senators and others astray, though the senators could certainly have verified the details before posting.
Those dastardly Republicans are to blame here for not doing corrective work, instead, doing the lazy thing by simply quoting the mayor. Dale’s approach towards the parties here could not be starker. The Republicans “wrongly described,” had been “incorrectly tweeting,” and were “inaccurate.” They did all of that, mind you, by using Bowser’s own words. Meanwhile, when it comes to the Democrats, Dale falls back on his trademark employment of euphemisms (Joe Biden never tells a lie; he embellishes, exaggerates, misremembers, etc.) With Bowser, he completely softens the assessment of her quote, describing her inaccurate tweet by saying she merely “used overly broad language.”
The other double standard towards identical content is in Dale declaring responsibility. He tells us the senators should have done more research before they tweeted out in an irresponsible fashion. Curiously, Bowser bears no such rebuke – and she is the Mayor, misrepresenting her own order. Between all parties concerned, if anyone should be held to a higher standard of accuracy, it should be Bowser. Instead, she is barely looked into, while others repeating her words is the criminal act.
The bias here is so transparent. Republicans bear greater scrutiny, and more is expected from them in order to deliver condemnation. A Democrat mayor delivering misinformation is barely an issue. Republicans who notice what she says – now there is the real problem!