Paul Krugman once joked that if President Bush said that the Earth was flat, the headlines of news articles would read, "Opinions Differ on Shape of the Earth." Our famed liberal media is terrified of the appearance of bias, which presents a problem, now that we've collectively decided that being "truth vigilantes" is part of reporters' job descriptions and fact-checks are a regular feature of political reporting.
What does one do when one side provides insufficient fodder for the truth mongers in the media? You could go the route of Factcheck.org, which described Bill Clinton's speech as a "fact-checker"s nightmare" because it required "lots of effort required to run down his many statistics and factual claims" while "producing little for us to write about" as "with few exceptions, we found his stats checked out." That sorrow is palpable — they want to tell you that "pants on fire" describes something other than the feeling in voters' loins when Clinton speaks, but alas, they can't.
Or you can go the Associated Press route…
CLINTON: "Their campaign pollster said, 'We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.' Now that is true. I couldn't have said it better myself — I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad."
THE FACTS: Clinton, who famously finger-wagged a denial on national television about his sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky and was subsequently impeached in the House on a perjury charge, has had his own uncomfortable moments over telling the truth. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," Clinton told television viewers. Later, after he was forced to testify to a grand jury, Clinton said his statements were "legally accurate" but also allowed that he "misled people, including even my wife."
I hope it's a fact that the AP Style guide accepts non-sequitur as a synonym for fact check, or else this makes no sense at all.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/Getty Images
Tags: Associated Press, Bill Clinton, Democratic National Convention, Media