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When “fact-checking” Republicans, legacy media aren’t checking the facts per se, but what they appear to suggest

One wonders if our friends in the legacy media will devote as much time to “fact-checking” the error-prone Vice President’s speech Wednesday night as they did to that of his opponent in the fall campaign.  Perhaps, they will decide to build a narrative on a Romney campaign aide’s tweet.

And that aide will likely have a greater respect for facts that will the author of the tweet which inspired last week’s legacy media frenzy.

Immediately after Ryan finished delivering the passage on the GM plant in his speech,” reports the Weekly Standard’s Stephen F. Hayes,

. . . top Obama adviser Stephanie Cutter sent this tweet: “Ryan blaming the President for a GM auto plant that closed under Pres Bush—thought he was smarter than that.” With one click after another, Cutter’s false claim became accepted wisdom.

Miss Cutter, as you may recall, “maintained that she was not familiar with the details of Mr. Soptic’s[*] wife’s death even though she was on a conference call that featured Soptic in May.

Her tweet about Paul Ryan was similarly inaccurate.  The Wisconsin Republican never blamed Obama for closing the GM plant.   Below are Ryan’s remarks about the plant:

[1] My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it—especially in Janesville, [2] where we were about to lose a major factory. [3] A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that G.M. plant. [4-a] Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said, “I believe that if our government is there to support you, this plant will be here for another 100 years.”

[4-b] That’s what he said in 2008. [5] Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. [6] And that’s how it is in so many towns where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

Please note I added in the numbers in brackets, each representing a fact which can be checked.  If you wish to dispute the accuracy of Mr. Ryan’s facts, please identify by number the particular fact, then provide evidence demonstrating its inaccuracy.  Ed Morrissey provides video evidence showing that Obama did indeed say what Ryan says he said in 2008 [4].

To truly “fact-check” the speech, you would first need identify the facts, then check each one.

Our “fact-checkers” in the legacy media, however, have a different standard for determining the accuracy of a Republicans remarks.  Hayes quotes the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler who wrote:

In his acceptance speech, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan appeared to suggest that President Obama was responsible for the closing of a GM plant in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wisc. That’s not true. The plant was closed in December 2008, before Obama was sworn in.

Emphasis added.  This “fact-checker” wasn’t checking Mr. Ryan’s facts, but determining what the Republican appeared to suggest and then checking that.  Guess, by virtue of his job as the Post’s “fact-checker,” Mr. Kessler gets to determine what the facts appear to suggest.

Subjecting another media “fact-checker” to an exacting analysis, James Taranto finds that, in both cases he cites,

. . . the AP neither disputes nor verifies the factual accuracy of Ryan’s statements. Each of these is simply a tu quoque–an argument against Ryan. Under the guise of fact checking, the AP is simply taking sides in a partisan political dispute.

Read the whole thing.

If our media “fact-checkers” were truly concerned with checking the facts of Republican speeches, then they would identify the facts and determine their accuracy.  And not try to ascertain what they appear to suggest.

*This is the steelworker who held Mr. Romney responsible for his wife’s death.

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44 Comments

  1. Ryan appeared to suggest that President Obama was responsible for the closing of a GM plant

    Bullcrap. Kessler and the lefties are making it up. I never got that, from Ryan’s speech.

    What I got was that in 2008, candidate Obama ‘appeared to suggest’ that the GM plant could and would stay open, one way or another, as a result of Him being elected.

    Just like He suggested that the oceans would not rise, the planet would begin to heal, etc. And clearly, none of that happened.

    And Kessler is wrong on the facts, in another way:

    That’s not true. The plant was closed in December 2008, before Obama was sworn in.

    Nuh-uh. The plant was still producing Isuzu, well into 2009. It closed in 2009.

    Kessler FAIL.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 4, 2012 @ 6:23 pm - September 4, 2012

  2. I routinely have victims of our public education system and non-STEM university departments accuse me of implying something that hurts their feelings, then become completely baffled when I try to explain to them the difference between the words imply and infer. I’m not even a little bit surprised that media professionals try to blur the distinction between their own inferences and claims they accuse their political opponents of making.

    Comment by AndyN — September 4, 2012 @ 6:29 pm - September 4, 2012

  3. Unfortunately, actual facts mean nothing to the Obama Cult; their only Truth is what he tells them to believe.

    Comment by V the K — September 4, 2012 @ 6:55 pm - September 4, 2012

  4. Professional liars are not concerned with real facts.

    Comment by Az Mo in NYC — September 4, 2012 @ 9:29 pm - September 4, 2012

  5. Dan
    Did you defend Obama on the out of context “didn’t build that” lie?
    I don’t remember. If you did please provide a link.

    Comment by mike — September 4, 2012 @ 10:34 pm - September 4, 2012

  6. No need to, Obama meant exactly what he said: “You didn’t build that” i.e. Government is more important than private enterprise, and entrepreneurs owe their success to the Government. That was the exact context of the statement.

    On the other hand, Obama has never, EVER addressed a group of public employees and told them, “The Government doesn’t pay you, taxpayers pay you; and you owe them gratitude and a high level of services.”

    Comment by V the K — September 4, 2012 @ 10:53 pm - September 4, 2012

  7. Wonder if anyone will fact-check the Democrat lie that GM is “roaring back?”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/315895/about-gm-bailout-kevin-d-williamson

    Comment by V the K — September 4, 2012 @ 11:03 pm - September 4, 2012

  8. “That was the exact context of the statement. ”

    No. This was your PROJECTION of what he said.

    Stop projectin’ and start listenin’

    If both sides did that American politics would be better off.

    Comment by mike — September 5, 2012 @ 12:39 am - September 5, 2012

  9. mike, since you brought it up and have now dismissed V the K’s offered interpretation as a ‘projection’ of what Obama said, why don’t you tell us what Obama meant by the ‘you didn’t build that’ remark? That’s fair, isn’t it?

    Comment by Sean A — September 5, 2012 @ 12:46 am - September 5, 2012

  10. No. This was your PROJECTION of what he said.

    No, mike. It was the exact context.

    Indeed: the more context you add, the worse Obama’s statement there gets. Here is the official White House transcript of what Obama said: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/13/remarks-president-campaign-event-roanoke-virginia

    At the present time (I wouldn’t put it past them, to whitewash things in the future – Soviet style), the White House’s transcript still says this:

    There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

    If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

    So, the context is *Obama insulting as conceited fools, those business people who take pride in their own success and hard work* – which is the first paragraph above.

    The Dear Reader really screwed up on this one, mike. Don’t accuse anyone else of lying, because such accusations are in themselves… LIES.

    The BEST you can hope to argue is that the Dear Reader seriously misspoke. But I would argue that it is more plausible to think that He did not misspeak; that He revealed His true feelings. Look up some video or audio of the above two paragraphs, and you should find that the context (emotional tone and audience response) gets even worse for Obama.

    Long story short, mike: Take your accusation of lying and cram it. You haven’t a leg to stand on. American politics would be a lot better off – if people like YOU did not lie.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 5, 2012 @ 12:56 am - September 5, 2012

  11. Wonder if anyone will fact-check the Democrat lie that GM is “roaring back?”

    Well, since its re-IPO, the stock is down by nearly half: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=GM+Basic+Chart&t=2y – Of course, stock price isn’t everything.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 5, 2012 @ 1:01 am - September 5, 2012

  12. GM is going to idle the Chevy Volt plant, because they’ve been channel-stuffing: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/when-channel-stuffing-comes-home-gm-idles-volt-production-again

    Channel-stuffing means that they’ve been producing more than their distributors can sell, and leaving the distributors to hold the inventory. That inflates GM’s sales figures, employment figures, and more. Trouble is, eventually the channels are stuffed to the gills and at long last, GM simply must cut back on production and lay people off, to reflect reality. That’s where GM is now.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 5, 2012 @ 1:08 am - September 5, 2012

  13. why don’t you tell us what Obama meant by the ‘you didn’t build that’ remark?

    Some lefties have claimed that the Dear Reader’s pronoun ‘that’, in “you didn’t build that”, meant “roads and bridges” from the preceeding sentence.

    But that’s not what the White House transcript says. According to the White House, the complete sentence was “If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that.” Furhter notee that the singular ‘that’ matches the singular ‘business’. Had Obama meant the “roads and bridges” of the preceding sentence, he should have said “You didn’t build those.” And again, the context from the paragraph before: that Obama was putting down any successful person who would be so conceited as to think they did build their success, with their smarts and hard work.

    Again – the BEST that a leftie can hope to argue, is that Obama misspoke. “Oh, he meant one thing but He just said it wrong. I don’t blame you for seeing what the words mean, it’s cool, they’re just the wrong words, not what He should have said, not what He meant in His heart, people sometimes get their tongue into knots like that, don’t you?” And yes, I do. But Obama has never made that argument. I apologize, when I misspeak. Obama could have apologized for His own misspeaking, and thus far, He hasn’t. So, you’d have to be a mind-reader (of Obama) to make that argument.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 5, 2012 @ 1:18 am - September 5, 2012

  14. ” No, mike. It was the exact context.

    Indeed: the more context you add, the worse Obama’s statement there gets. Here is the official White House transcript of what Obama said: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/13/remarks-president-campaign-event-roanoke-virginia

    At the present time (I wouldn’t put it past them, to whitewash things in the future – Soviet style), the White House’s transcript still says this;”

    No, ilovecapitalism, it wasn’t. Funny how you completely leave out the next paragraph of his statement. Usually when someone says, “the point is,” it ,means they’re about to summarize the previous argument they just made. But not selectively editing that part out would mean your false narrative wouldn’t work. Here is the next part you thought was too insignificant to include.

    “The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

    Comment by aj — September 5, 2012 @ 2:47 am - September 5, 2012

  15. mike, two posts:

    (1) If Obama didn’t mean to say that entrepreneurs didn’t build their own businesses, why doesn’t he retract* the remark; there, I suggest that if Obama meant something other than the actual words meant, he should have added a few word to make that clear.

    (2) Democrats weren’t concerned about context of McCain’s economic commentary in 2008 campaign. And here, I note how Democrats pulled a McCain comment out of context in 2008 in order to demonize the then-Republican nominee.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — September 5, 2012 @ 2:51 am - September 5, 2012

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  17. There’s a secondary point that tends to get lost in the debate over what Obama meant by the ‘you didn’t build that’ remark and its meaning in the context of the entire speech. If (as Democrats have insisted) Obama is one of, if not THE greatest, most eloquent and articulate communicator in the history of American politics, why was it necessary for one of his speeches to be followed by the launch of an intense, weeks-long campaign by his re-election minions and MSM surrogates to explain to the American people what he meant? If Obama is such a gifted communicator, why are we still debating it almost 2 months later? Even mike and aj know the answer to that question.

    Comment by Sean A — September 5, 2012 @ 4:51 am - September 5, 2012

  18. Also, when Dear Reader said “You didn’t build that” he was using a formulation recommended by leftist talking point guru George Lackoff and used previously by Phony Indian Princess Elizabeth Warren; the explicit purpose of which (according to Lackoff) was to counter Republican arguments about free enterprise by diminishing the importance of individual effort and heightening and emphasizing the role of Government.

    Comment by V the K — September 5, 2012 @ 6:19 am - September 5, 2012

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  22. “The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

    Here is what I read, aj:

    “We succeed, in part, because of our own initiative, BUT, we don’t do things on our own, we succeed because we (the individual and the government) do things together. Therefore, YOU didn’t build that! WE built that. Just like fighting fires, we have to organize you to be successful.”

    So, aj, what do you read?

    Comment by heliotrope — September 5, 2012 @ 9:53 am - September 5, 2012

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  24. aj, let me be clear: You are not part of my success. Deal with it. I have succeeded in life, WITHOUT having done anything with you. I am a success because of my initiative and hard work. To coin a phrase, “You didn’t build that”.

    There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.

    And so we pay people to do them. It’s called “trade”, aj. Look into it. Business people are good at it. And people I trade with are duly compensated, when I pay them. And when they want too much of me, I don’t trade with them (and vice versa). That in turn is another concept worth looking into, called “freedom”.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 5, 2012 @ 10:36 am - September 5, 2012

  25. Have any of our critics yet challenged the accuracy of the 5 facts I identified in the excerpt of Paul Ryan’s speech?

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — September 5, 2012 @ 10:39 am - September 5, 2012

  26. Dan, Obama has in fact clarified his remarks:
    http://www.postonpolitics.com/2012/07/obama-responds-to-you-didnt-build-that-uproar-in-new-tv-ad-what-i-said-was/

    “Those ads taking my words about small business out of context – they’re flat-out wrong. Of course Americans build their own businesses. Every day, hard-working people sacrifice to meet a payroll, create jobs, and make our economy run. And what I said was that we need to stand behind them, as America always has, by investing in education and training, roads and bridges, research and technology. I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message because I believe we’re all in this together.”

    Comment by walker — September 5, 2012 @ 11:27 am - September 5, 2012

  27. So… Obama’s clarification begins with a LIE. Typical.

    (Again, nothing was taken out of context. At the time and in context, Obama certainly did not say that we need to stand behind our business people. Perhaps He misspoke, but it would sure be nice of Him to admit it, rather than lie and blame His readers/listeners.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 5, 2012 @ 11:33 am - September 5, 2012

  28. Dan, to recap:

    mike @ #5 ignored your five facts and shifted the topic.

    mike @ #5 continued to ignore your five facts and name called in connection with his topic shift.

    mike got gang-banged @#6, #9, #10, #13, #17, #18, for his silliness.

    aj @ #14 tried, feebly, to help mike.

    aj was answered @#22, #24.

    Dan @#15 posted two links to help mike attain clarity for his #5 diversion.

    So, once again, your challenge was treated as Herman Cain says it always will be treated by liberals. They will SIN. (S)hift the topic, (I)gnore the facts, and (N)ame call. mike and aj have no ability to address your five facts. Period. End of story.

    They have twisted Ryan’s statement and they are sticking with their twisted version. But, at the same time, they are insisting that we did not hear what Obama said when he said: “You did not build that.” That, of course, is because we do not accept their twisted, convoluted version. So, the game is the same with your “facts” and Obama’s words.

    If you don’t take the twisted version, you are a racist, homophobe, Neanderthal, ideologue, moron.

    Comment by heliotrope — September 5, 2012 @ 11:42 am - September 5, 2012

  29. walker @ #26,

    Nice try. Obama wants a Mulligan for stepping in it up to his hips.

    Apparently, you have granted him one.

    walker: how does the redo rule work in the case of a Republican candidate who puts his foot in his mouth? Is there a clearing house somewhere that the candidate calls and gets to do it again? Or, perhaps, should Obama and Biden stick to the TeleprompTer and leave unscripted remarks about “chains” and “You didn’t build that” unsaid?

    On another note: why do mike, aj, and walker all use the lower case in their names?

    Comment by heliotrope — September 5, 2012 @ 11:49 am - September 5, 2012

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  31. Dan, I have to say you’re correct on the Janesville issue. Not a lie by Ryan.

    Comment by walker — September 5, 2012 @ 2:50 pm - September 5, 2012

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  36. That was a particularly annoying attack. Obama promised twice to keep the plant open and within months sent the same jobs to China. Can’t count on Obama but one can count on Cutter to lie.

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