Who Fact-Checks the Fact-Checkers?

American media have abandoned their primary job of reporting the news.  Gone are the days of telling readers and viewers the who, what, where, when, and why.  Now it's telling the audience what to think, after filtering the news story through layers of bias and activism.

The latest trick is "fact-checking" President Trump in "real time."  I don't recall any mainstream news networks fact-checking Barack Obama.  In anticipation of Trump's first Oval Office address, and immediately following, the anti-Trump resistance media went into fact-check mode.

There was this CNN headline: "Fact-checking Trump's immigration speech."

NPR jumped in with "FACT CHECK: Trump's Oval Office Pitch for A Border Wall," followed by the New York Times: "Trump's Speech to the Nation: Fact Checks and Background."  And then Politico: "Fact check: Trump's speech on border crisis."

A CNN crank even encouraged fact-checkers to prepare for Trump's eight-minute speech as they would for a triathlon, with proper nutrition and rest.

It's as though all the major media organizations read from the same playbook.  Perhaps they do.  A few years ago, "[a]n off-the-record online meeting space called JournoList" was revealed.  The same sort of thing likely still does exist in some other name or form, allowing such immediate coordinated attacks by news organizations that are ostensibly in competition with each other.  Yet their reporting and headlines are so coordinated as to suggest a form of collusion or conspiracy.  Maybe Robert Mueller can investigate this.

Some degree of fact-checking is reasonable, if it's applied equally to leaders of both political parties, but not when it becomes the entire story.  Before President Trump even uttered a word, the fact-checkers were lined up, ready to provide real-time rebuttals to every word Trump uttered.

But who fact-checks the fact-checkers?  Why are we supposed to believe CNN or MSNBC and their supposed fact-checkers?  These are the same media organizations that ignored the blatant lies about the Benghazi video or "hands up, don't shoot."  They refused to fact-check "if you like your insurance and doctor, you can keep them."  They doctored George Zimmerman's 911 call to make him sound like a racist.

There are myriad stories of fake news, enough for President Trump to create a top-ten list and give an award for the worst of the stories.  Even then, the Washington Post couldn't resist "Fact-checking President Trump's Fake News Awards."  What happens when even fact-checking is fake news?

Let's look at a few of many examples.

CNN tweeted after Trump's address, "Fact check: President Trump misleadingly claims drugs will kill more Americans than the Vietnam War."  Time to fact-check the fact-checkers.

According to the National Archives, there were "58,220 US military fatal casualties of the Vietnam War."  The Centers for Disease Control reports approximately 70,000 deaths in 2017 in the U.S. from drug overdoses.  The Vietnam War is said to have lasted from 1955 to 1975, or 20 years.  This translates to an annualized 3,000 deaths per year in Vietnam, less than 5 percent of the number of drug overdose deaths per year.

Who is misleading?  Obviously, CNN reporters are unable to perform simple research or do basic arithmetic.

If the fact-checkers can't catch Trump lying, as they hope to do, they will claim he is "misleading."  The Washington Post actually published this on its website: "266,000 aliens arrested in the past two years: The number is right but misleading."  Wow – Trump was actually right.  Imagine that.

The Washington Post's beef is that "[t]he quarter million arrests cover all types of offenses, including illegal entry or reentry."  So what?  Trump said "aliens arrested."  He didn't specify why they were arrested.  How is that misleading?

Is not "illegal entry or reentry" a crime?  Shouldn't those who commit such crimes be arrested and deported?  Perhaps if such crimes were handled according to the rule of law, Kate Steinle and Officer Ronil Singh would still be with their families.

When "misleading" doesn't cut it for the fact-checkers, they step in a big steaming pile of fake news, inadvertently making Trump's case for him.  Here are two examples of this.

When President Trump claimed that one in three women are sexually assaulted on their trek through Mexico, CBS, rather than saying Trump was overstating and exaggerating, instead confirmed what he said, and then some.  They cited Amnesty International data showing that 60 to 80 percent of women were being raped, bolstering Trump's assertion.

CBS removed its tweet, as it was counterproductive to their fact-checking mission, but the internet remembers.  Trump was right, and in their zeal to catch him in a fib, CBS actually confirmed the veracity of his claim.

Lastly, everyone's favorite CNN stooge, Jim Acosta, stepped in it bigly on the southern border ahead of the president's visit.  He tweeted a video of himself standing in front of a border wall in McAllen, Texas consisting of steel slats and noting that the "community is quite safe."

Poor Jim isn't smart enough to draw the obvious conclusion: that having a border wall makes America safer. Even a wall that doesn't "run the entire length of the border" is still a deterrent to illegal crossings and the associated crime.  In other words, the wall is working – just as it's supposed to and as Trump asserts.  The smartest "resistance reporter" in the room unintentionally made Trump's case.

He also neglected to mention that the area where he was walking was obviously safe and secure ahead of the president's visit.  Or that mischief and mayhem tend to occur under the cover of darkness, not in the middle of the day when he made his stroll.

If he wanted to report honestly, he would pitch a tent where there is no fence or wall and live there for a week.  Then he can decide if things are "quite safe."

The smuggest reporter of all doesn't realize he isn't as smart as he thinks he is and is truly "a smartass," as White House adviser Kellyanne Conway noted.

Why is President Trump the only person worthy of big media fact-checking?  What about the numerous members of Congress or other Deep State operatives who spout off about Trump being a Nazi or a traitor?  Where are the media fact-checkers to point out the absurdity of such statements?

And who fact-checks the media?  Their ombudsmen are supposed to do that, but how often does that happen?  Why is fact-checking even necessary?  Shouldn't the news be reported, letting viewers do their own fact-checking?  The internet makes it easy to look up virtually anything, including previously contradictory statements from politicians who were for the border wall before they were against it.

When the media fact-check only one person, and can't even do it accurately, their diminishing credibility and relevance take yet another hit.

The obsessive hatred of President Trump confirms the "fake news" moniker that he has conferred upon them.

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer.  Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.