Fact-Checkers

Has anyone else noticed that all election season reporters have waited for “fact-checkers” to come out with lists of lies in political speeches?Example:

“I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again,” McCain will say, according to prepared remarks. “I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not.”

But when Joe Lieberman tried this line of attack on Obama, fact-checkers called the “claim false.”

“In the Senate he has not reached across party lines to get anything significant done, nor has he been willing to take on powerful interest groups in the Democratic Party,” Lieberman said.

“But we’ve found several instances of legislation that Obama passed in concert with Republican lawmakers,” Politifact wrote. Politifact cited three instances – working with Tom Coburn, a McCain supporter on a creating a databse “of federal contracts and grants;” with Dick Lugar on a law that “won enactment of a 2006 law (PL 109-401) that allowed the United States to export nuclear fuel, technology and reactors to India for the first time in three decades;” and “with Lugar on a Senate bill that authorized the president to carry out a program to provide assistance to foreign countries to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Another part of the measure was intended to stop the spread of conventional weapons, notably shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles that the legislation refers to as man-portable air defense systems, or MANPADS. The bill’s provisions were incorporated into a House bill that passed later that year and was signed into law in January 2007 (PL 109-472).”

Because if all it takes is some Googling or a phone call or a records check, last I checked that kind of “fact-checking” was the realm of JOURNALISTS. Why are we relying on separate organizations to do this, and waiting on their reports? I thought the big networks sent hundreds of reporters to the conventions. Can’t somebody have an intern look some shit up?

I know we’re outsourcing and right-sizing in newsrooms these days, but this is ridiculous.

A.

16 thoughts on “Fact-Checkers

  1. Sorry, A., but the stench of death from the print media has seriously weakened the mental ability of these journalists.
    Besides, if they called lies “lies,” that wouldn’t be objective, right?
    Or fucking something like that.

  2. I just don’t get the significance of the line “the scars to prove it.” Presumably mcCain’s “scars” from reaching accross the aisle come from *his own side* and therefore Obama’s refusal to work with the Republicans would have produced the same scars. The more partisan Obama is as a democrat (would that he were) the more scars he would have from the Republicans. Just like John McCain! so how on earth does this make sense. Look, McCain is implicitly arguing that he fought alongside democrats in the senate because their ideas were better, or they were better and more flexible senators, or they also put country first and that his scars were given him by his own party when he went against them because their ideas were worse, or less patriotic, or more partisan. Do they really think that the american can’t parse this filboid studge of a speech and realize that its mush?
    aimai

  3. The media has fallen by the wayside in a major way. This isn’t just print media, or TV or even internet.
    A friend of mine used to be an old-timey journalist. His first day at city desk, he meets his boss.
    “Lew, does your mother love you?” he asks.
    Perplexed, Lew stammers “ehrm…ahh…yes?”
    Lews boss looks at him and yells “HOW THE HELL DO YOU KNOW? Check your goddamned source!”
    To which Lew had to make a very odd call to his mother to confirm that she loved him. But it taught him early on an important level of journalism. Check your sources. Fact check. If it isn’t confirmed it is rumor.
    But this is what has happened to the media. Journalism students go in and expect to be a columnist right out of the gate. They expect a staff, or others, to do their work for them.
    Which explains, I feel in part, the shitty state of the media today.

  4. i like the version my grandfather, a journalist, told me “if you mother says she loves you, check it out!” Or, alternatively “what’s her source for that?”
    aimai

  5. Even our local news program has started a *special feature* “going the extra mile” (their wording, not mine) and checking information. For example. if the city makes a decision, calling the city manager to confirm it.
    And they seem rather pleased at their in-depth and hard-hitting reporting.
    So, how are they better than google?

  6. Rove started Palin early with the Road to Nowhere lie. Since it’s not being called out enough, my guess is it won’t die. I’m waiting for the first time I hear the word “lie” in response to something uttered by McCain/Palin. I’ll have a stroke.
    The latest is Palin’s line about putting the jet on eBay. Technically she did, but it didn’t sell. And once it did sell, the state took a $500K loss. But on the stump today, McCain claimed she not only sold it on eBay but for a profit. And nobody will say a thing about it.
    I hate these people because of the frauds they’ve foisted on the American public.
    Oh, and I keep hearing that Obama/Biden need to inject humor into their campaigns they way McCain/Palin are doing or they won’t be able to win in November. Ack!

  7. Maple Street, oh my God.
    The November sweeps will be here soon. Thirty effing days of “WHICH MASCARA LIVES UP TO ITS PROMISES? WE TEST THEM ALL FOR YOU!” and the equivalent. Finding a restaurant that has a waiter who doesn’t wash his hands, and calling it hard-hitting journalism.
    Kill me now.
    A.

  8. Today I was trying to figure out a strategy to help journalists get access to Palin. Then I though “What the FRAK!?” Why do I have to do that? Why is that even a ISSUE!?
    The press have to GROVEL to get access to a VP canidate? And that WORKS?
    This is what happens when the press don’t stand together when they were singled out for special favors from Bush. Fox get special access so they rest of them try to be like Fox and agree to all conditions.
    It makes me sick. And the McCain campaign used this cloistering of Palin as a BENEFIT.
    Kill me now.

  9. Jude: The stench isn’t from dying print media. It’s from the self-serving bullshit in which we tend to say it’s dying to make us feel better about ourselves. It certainly has nothing to do with why these people use fact checkers like these weird-ass services.
    Pompeo: The condition of the media does suck these days, although I’m left to wonder if it was better prior to the dot-com boom. I had a kid in one of my classes who said he planned to be a columnist upon graduating. Y’know, at the New York Times, because he liked the paper. This was decades ago and the kid really sucked. I had another kid who told me she wanted to be on television. Me: You mean broadcast news. Her: Oh God No! Do you, like, know Jenny Jones? Me: Not personally, but… Her: Yeah, that’s totally what I want to be. Self-delusion knows no limit or time frame.
    A: Yes, waiting for the “Will your socks kill you? A three-part investigative series” is my favorite waiting game. Love sweeps, though I do. At least we’ll see some Lost previews… Zoe says hi (bedtime).
    For years, I’ve told people if your mother says she loves you, check it out. I think the simplest of things are lost along the way and that’s where we’re losing journalism. Fact checking. The simplest damned thing is now farmed out? It’s just like fast food. Sure, you could go to the store, buy some hamburger, make some patties, heat them up and serve them, but McShithole has them all done for you and all you have to do is waddle your heart-attack-prone fat ass into their store and plunk down two bucks! Why would you work so hard when their shit is practically free and easy?
    Bill Woo, editor of the STL PD for years, loved to tell stories of his first editor in Kansas City. Ray (last name escapes me) would tell him, “Just write what happened” and make sure it’s right. If you stick with that, you don’t need a fact checking service or the Elias Sports Bureau to tell you how many times one of these guys reached across the aisle and deigned to touch the hand of one of “the others.”

  10. The sad thing is when they’re the same.
    St. Pete’s actually decided this year, instead of covering the campaigns, to devote their political reporting staff to just doing fact-checking.
    I can’t say I miss the boys-on-the-bus coverage, but I’d appreciate it if journalists thought their role was slightly wider in scope than doing line-by-line nitpicks of candidate speeches. The emphasis on politics, as opposed to policy, is truly depressing.

  11. *snerk* Doc, I actuallydo know Jenny Jones. I met her years and years ago. She used to work as a flight attendant for the same company as my father. (Her real name is Janina Stransky…)

  12. That’s right A. At least, in defense of our local news, we are a small market. My impression is that they try out the new folk here, and if they’re good they get to go to a bigger market.

  13. The “maverick” is looking more and more like a sidekick…merely going along with the powers that be…he says and does whatever he thinks his champions want to hear. Just like calling lobbyists‘birds of prey’ which is a total contradiction to what his true ties with these unnecessary evils in Washington are.

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