Feeling the heat, media -fact'-checkers are becoming increasingly silly
The media this weekend offered two excellent examples of how so-called "fact-checking" has become an excuse to write straw men and then, using vehement opinion and banal facts as their weapons, to strike those straw men down. The stupidity of their arguments indicates that their brains are shutting down with fear as Attorney General Bill Barr and his lead investigator, U.S. attorney John Durham, close in on the truth behind the attempted takedown of the Trump presidency, a joint Deep State and media enterprise.
Writing at the Washington Post, Derek Hawkins asserts that Eric Trump is misleading credulous Trump-supporters by calling the coronavirus a "hoax":
Eric Trump claimed Saturday that the coronavirus will "magically" vanish after the November election and allow the country to fully reopen — an assertion that has no basis in science and is contradicted by health experts worldwide.
In an interview with Fox News's Jeanine Pirro, Trump suggested the president's critics were using the pandemic to undermine his father's rallies, calling it a "cognizant strategy" that would cease once it was no longer politically expedient.
"You watch, they'll milk it every single day between now and November 3," the younger Trump said. "And guess what, after November 3, coronavirus will magically, all of a sudden, go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen."
Even someone with a limited intelligence — clearly exceeding Hawkins's capacity — understands that Eric Trump is not saying the virus itself does not exist. Instead, he is saying the hysterical response is a deliberate effort to undermine the economy (his father's strongest selling point) in the lead-up to the election. The flip-side of his argument is that, if a Democrat were in the White House, the Democrats would have responded more rationally and, once the curve flattened, they would quickly have worked to get the economy back on track, despite the virus's continued presence in America.
That's not what Hawkins took from the article. Instead, he righteously explains that "experts" (who have gotten everything wrong to date) say the coronavirus will still be around in the fall, something Eric Trump never denied. Only a moron — yes, that's you, Mr. Hawkins — would set up such a silly straw man and then knock it down with an irrelevancy.
Sadly, Hope Yen, Eric Tucker, and Matthew Perrone, all from the Associated Press, made Hawkins look like a real genius. As with Hawkins, this trio's "fact-check" involves an almost infantile literalness in the face of manifest rhetorical flourishes. The AP trio contend that Trump and the entire GOP are misrepresenting the Flynn matter.
They're shocked — shocked! — that Trump would refer to "unspecified" conspiracies and the unmasking of Flynn's name as illegal conduct that amounts to an "Obamagate." Instead, they assure their readers:
[T]he so-called unmasking of Americans' names like Flynn's is legal, and such requests have been more frequently sought in the Trump administration than in the last stretch of Obama's tenure.
That's a straw man. Unmasking is legal only if it's done by someone who not only has the right to unmask, but is doing it on a "need to know" basis. That's not what happened when Obama administration officials who had no business whatsoever with the Flynn investigation started nosing around. Two more relevant facts: (1) The real unmasking was being done using Section 702 queries, which reached more than 30,000 in 2016, and (2) when it came to the infamous Kislyak phone call, there was no unmasking because the CIA was spying on an American official in an incoming administration.
The AP's 27-year-old know-nothings (as Ben Rhodes memorably described the media he manipulated on Obama's behalf) also tell their readers, based on no facts whatsoever, that there's no indication that the Flynn investigation had a partisan, and therefore wrongful, edge. Their proof: Robert Mueller investigated Flynn during the Trump administration, so it couldn't have been an Obama-era hit job.
This specious logic ignores a few other relevant facts: (a) Comey used an illegal leak to force the Mueller investigation; (b) Mueller knew that Flynn had done nothing wrong, yet he nevertheless sent his attack dogs after him; and (c) recently released FBI and DOJ documents reveal that the Flynn investigation was a setup.
What's worrisome about these truly stupid "fact-checks" is that there are people who are not like this site's readers. They don't know the news inside and out, and they're not conversant with the many and often confusing facts surrounding both the Flynn matter and America's over-the-top response to the virus. The media are banking on the unfortunate reality that a simple lie is much easier to sell than a complicated truth.