Monday, December 21, 2015

If you Want Proof of the Worthlessness of Beltway Fact Checkers This is it

I had this discussion before about the media's faux outrage over Trump. You know they were so indignant that he lies and he appeals to bigotry.

I had a discussion with Tom Brown about this in the comments section. He wanted to believe that at least in part the media was being sincere in protecting the truth. I-and Matt Ygleisas-was not buying it. The media was so up in arms over Trump because he breaks their rules. Full stop.

My argument was that there have been plenty of candidates and politicians who have lied at least as egregiously as Trump and suffered no penalty whatsoever. For awhile, though, the media was absolutely obsessed with getting Trump to admit that he made up the 'thousands of cheering Muslims in NJ.'

Actually he was repeating an- obviously false-rumor which had been around since the first days after 9/11.

But now we have a the classic example of what Krugman calls the Very Serious People in action. For weeks the Beltway pundits and the GOP Establishment has been repeating again and again that Trump's talk of cheering Muslims, of a database for Muslims, or to pause Muslim immigration are extremely irresponsible measures that will help ISIS make recruitment's.

Now though, the press is in something of a mini frenzy post Saturday night's debate that Hillary Clinton lied in saying that Trump is great for ISIS recruitment. As is typical for the press they are playing the both sides do it game.

Trump is demanding that she apologize to him. But the press has come to his aid, basically saying there's no proof this is true.

I'm sure she will apologize after he apologizes for saying she's responsible for the deaths of 'hundreds of thousands of people.' Just so we're clear of course he never will.

Even though they have panned Trump as engaging in dangerous rhetoric that will increase ISIS recruitment, now that Hillary basically said the same thing, they are treating this as a literal empirical claim to be closely checked. Now we're hearing demands that she show where ISIS has used this in Social media. Which is absurd. Social media is a very big place. How could you really categorically declare that no one anywhere hasn't?

But this sort of totally silly hairsplitting is Beltway 101. I mean if I say that I'm not going to stand on the train tracks when a train is coming do I need empirical backup to my claim that it would be harmful? It's pretty obvious that Trump's comments can easily fill that role, whether or not you can point to someone who already has. It should be obvious and the Beltway and the GOP Establishment wouldn't stop reminding us of that-until Hillary Clinton said the same thing.

Which now basically undercuts what the Beltway itself had been saying for weeks. So now they think there is doubt that Trump's wild anti Muslim comments are so harmful after all.

They are not about the truth. They just want to feel that they set the rules. Full stop.

What this shows us yet again, is once a claim moves from being what an individual said to a partisan disagreement the media goes back to being agnostic.

What 'equal time' in the media today amounts to is simply equal time between the truth and a lie where the Beltway refuses to take sides. 


  1. Mike, do you agree with Hillary? Is Trump great for ISIS recruitment?

  2. Obviously I do. My point is that the media and GOP Establishment have said this for weeks and now she says it they're saying 'Gee our fact checkers say there's no proof of this'

  3. When Jeb or Lindsay Graham said this would boost ISIS recruitment no one said--'Do you have the proof of this?' but now that she says it they're back to saying 'He said-she said'