OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
When Donald Trump was president, the so-called ‘mainstream media’ spent a great deal of effort — often in real-time — engaging in what they considered to be “fact checks” of his statements, but a new analysis by a media expert finds such fact-checking has nearly disappeared under President Joe Biden.
In a finding that will no doubt add fuel to critics who accuse the vast majority of media outlets of having a pro-Democrat, far-left bias, media critic Joe Concha, in a column for The Hill, writes that “fact checkers are enjoying what feels like extended vacations or have simply checked out in terms of scrutinizing the many ways that he is misleading the public.”
CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale serves as a prime example of the lack of accountability surrounding the current president, Concha notes.
According to Mediaite, from June 2019 to November 2020, Dale appeared or was referenced on CNN more than once per day, on average. Using conservative estimates, this amounts to over 500 appearances or mentions on a national network within just 16 months.
“But Dale has become the fact-checker version of Edward Snowden under Biden. He’s almost impossible to find these days. In fact, Dale has not conducted even one fact-check of the president since June,” Concha noted.
Certainly, Biden supporters might argue that Daniel Dale doesn’t have substantial material to fact-check. However, that assertion doesn’t hold true, he said. For instance, in August, Biden claimed that inflation in July was zero, even though the actual figure stood near a 40-year high at 8.3 percent.
Recently, Biden asserted that the Inflation Reduction Act, despite studies suggesting it would have minimal impact on inflation, had already “helped reduce inflation at the kitchen table.” However, in a related development, food prices surged once more in August, with the Consumer Price Index showing a 10.6 percent year-over-year increase, Concha noted.
There are many other examples from the summer, but you get the point: The most powerful man in the country needs to be held accountable for his words and actions, particularly in an election year, when each side is attempting to shape the narrative through the press. But fact-checkers at mainstream outlets refuse to do it.
The situation is worse when it comes to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. She has been fact-checked only once by Politifact since June.
This is the same press secretary who claimed earlier this month that people aren’t just walking into this country across the U.S. Southern border, when in fact it’s happening daily, per border agents and reporting on the ground.
She also went on to claim that the Biden White House is “doing a lot more (than the Trump administration) to secure the border.”
She argued that the administration, which halted border wall construction and terminated the effective “Remain in Mexico” policy, is doing more to secure the border than the previous administration, Concha pointed out.
“In a related story, the numbers don’t lie: More than 2 million migrants will come into this country illegally this year, an all-time record. This is the easiest of fact-checks to make, but Politifact doesn’t seem interested. Why?” he asked.
Since assuming the role from Jen Psaki on May 13, Jean-Pierre has not been subjected to fact-checking by Factcheck.org, the Associated Press, Reuters, the Washington Post, or CNN. This absence of scrutiny parallels a toll collector in an E-Z Pass lane, a position that doesn’t actually require much effort, Concha emphasized.
The credibility of fact-checkers has suffered a significant blow, as a result, particularly among Republicans and independents, the media analyst argued. According to a Pew Research survey, seven in 10 self-identified Republicans believe that fact-checkers exhibit bias toward one side, while nearly half of independents share this sentiment.
“The midterm elections are 50 days from now. The balance of power in Washington hangs in the balance. More than ever, words matter,” Concha wrote. “Lies and half-truths must be called out. It shouldn’t matter if a Republican or Democrat occupies the Oval Office.
“But apparently fact-checkers are mostly on a four-year sabbatical at this point. And it’s pathetic,” he concluded.