Friday, February 2, 2018

Meta-fact checking The New York Times: Both Sides Now

By A.J. Liebling
Meta-Content Generator

So the serial sex offender/traitor/bigot in the twilight of his Presidency embarrassed himself in front of the nation on Tuesday, according to the fact-checkers of The New York Times.  But, in the great tradition of “objective” journalism, the various Democrats who responded to the torrent of bullshit and bigotry must be fact-checked as well and their inaccuracies pointed out to the world.

Right?  Right.  So The Times duly published a long analysis of five different Democratic responses and concluded in aggregate that “Democrats mislead and leave out context about trade, health care and taxes in criticizing President Trump’s State of the Union speech.”

Let's fact check the fact checker and find out what Democratic whoppers merited that conclusion.  First in the barrel, our Congressman Joe Kennedy.  We thought he sounded a little tentative but unlike President U Bum, what he said made sense.  That wasn't good enough for the meticulous Times newsies.

What did that moron graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School screw up?  First, he said that “Top C.E.O.s making 300 times the average worker is not right.” After admitting that Kennedy had correctly referred to a study correctly reaching that conclusion, the Times then proceeded to offer what they called “context.”

First they pointed out that in updated data, the gap had shrunk to a measly 271 times.  Smarten up, Joe!  Then the Times turned to a comparison of cash compensation only.  Why?  Who the f*** knows?  No CEO gives a toss about cash compensation excluding his (and 99% of the time it's his) sweet options, restricted stock, and other finagles, except to make sure that he's got enough cash to pay taxes on his haul.  Amazingly, when all the good stuff is taken out, the 271 times shrinks.  That would also be the case if you excluded the ransom CEO's make from Tuesday to Friday, and would be just as meaningful.

Having reduced Kennedy to rubble, the fact checkers then turned their big guns to a Virginia state rep who gave a speech in Spanish.  And what did this Demo kingpin louse up?  She said: “He also wanted to destroy protections for people with pre-existing health conditions, and to punish the people in advanced age with a cruel tax just because they’re this age.”

After acknowledging that President U Bum has in fact worked to undermine protection for those sick bastards (which might therefore make the claim accurate to those ignoramuses not smart enough to work for the the Times), the fact-checker then said the claim was inaccurate because the Grifter-in-Chief has said falsely he wants to protect those individuals.

So the claim that I am the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl may be false but anyone so saying should provide the context that I said I plan to start and feel real good about my team.

As for the claim that the Grifter-in-Chief's plans would make old people pay a ton more for health care, the Times conceded that was true too, but it wasn't a tax because the money would not go to the government.  It would be trousered by health insurers, which makes all the difference to old people who can't afford their premiums thanks to President U Bum.  Maybe Ms. Guzman meant tax in the metaphorical sense of an extra financial burden.  Maybe the Times fact checkers could take this one up with Michi Kakutani.

Next up: Bernie Sanders.  He can be a little hyperbolic, so what whoppers were caught by the Times?   How about this one? “Last year, he [U Bum] supported legislation that would have thrown up to 32 million people off of the health care they had while, at the same time, substantially raising premiums for older Americans.”

First, the Times admitted that the 32,000,000 figure was, um, accurate.  (Is there a pattern developing here?)  Then, however, the Times rubbished Sanders because some of that multitude would be people dropping insurance due to repeal of the individual mandate.  Leaving aside the importance of that mandate to a universal private insurance system, the reason that people don't buy insurance we suspect is because they can't afford it.  Apparently, that's OK to President U Bum and the Times.

Fourth, Donna Edwards.  She's not even a Democrat, according to the Times.  But let's she how she did.  She said: “As President Trump said tonight, this is an administration whose proudest accomplishment is the Republican tax scam. Which is more than a scam really — it’s a heist that benefits some of the richest people who have ever lived.”

And this was wrong, why? Because she didn't mention that some poor people will get a measly temporary tax cut.  But she never claimed otherwise – she claimed that the plan overall is a scam.  Tiny temporary tax cuts for working families are part of the scam.

Both Sides Now
The last prevaricator in the Times' gunsights was California Rep. Maxine Waters, a well-known bad-ass.  She must have let something fly, right?  Hope you're sitting down for this one: “He’s isolating us with his inept trade policies, withdrawing the United States from trade agreements without negotiating viable alternatives.”

And that was off the mark because – ?  According to the Times, that was a whopper because the United States had not ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership before the Grifter-in-Chief withdrew from it.

And who said the United States was withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership?  Well, if you click on the handy link in the fact-check piece itself you get to this report in a well-regarded Eastern newspaper:
Although the Trans-Pacific Partnership had not been approved by Congress, Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw not only doomed former President Barack Obama’s signature trade achievement, but also carried broad geopolitical implications in a fast-growing region. 
The New York Times, January 27, 2018. Ffs.

So let's see.  Five accurate speeches, none in need of correction, with the possible exception of changing 300 times to 271 times greater.  Why did the Times publish this ridiculous niggling drivel?  It can only be a case of, in the words of Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now.  If the Times fact-checks a serial liar, it damn well better find something, anything, to question in the speeches of his opponents.  It's the same principle that led the Times to balance its pre-election reports of the Tangerine-Faced Grifter's numerous lies and felonies with equally hard-hitting coverage of Hillary Clinton's private email server.  And that turned out pretty well.

To paraphrase the great Joni Mitchell, “So many things we could have done but the Times got in our way.”

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