The Last Real Journalist does her homework.
We the media have “fact-checked” President Trump like we have fact-checked no other human being on the planet—and he’s certainly given us plenty to write about. That’s probably why it’s so easy to find lists enumerating and examining his mistakes, missteps and “lies.”
But as self-appointed arbiters of truth, we’ve largely excused our own unprecedented string of fact-challenged reporting. The truth is, formerly well-respected, top news organizations are making repeat, unforced errors in numbers that were unheard of just a couple of years ago.
Our repeat mistakes involve declaring that Trump’s claims are “lies” when they are matters of opinion, or when the truth between conflicting sources is unknowable; taking Trump’s statements and events out of context; reporting secondhand accounts against Trump without attribution as if they’re established fact; relying on untruthful, conflicted sources; and presenting reporter opinions in news stories—without labeling them as opinions.
What’s worse, we defend ourselves by trying to convince the public that our mistakes are actually a virtue because we (sometimes) correct them. Or we blame Trump for why we’re getting so much wrong. It’s a little bit like a police officer taking someone to jail for DUI, then driving home drunk himself: he may be correct to arrest the suspect, but he should certainly know better than to commit the same violation.
So since nobody else has compiled an updated, extensive list of this kind, here are…
Follows, a compendium of fifty (!) “mistakes”—some major, some minor, some distortions of the truth, some outright fabrications. Some of them are truly petty and childish, enough so to make one wonder what kind of purblind dolt would put not merely his own personal credibility but that of his entire industry at risk by perpetrating them. But all of them cut only one way (against Trump) and are therefore neither “honest” nor “innocent,” but self-evidently malicious.
And still a dwindling few of them persist in denying the existence of any liberal bias in “journalism,” a claim that would be despicable if it weren’t so transparently laughable. Thus do they deal their rapidly-vanishing credibility another shattering blow, carrying self-beclownment beyond limits previously thought unbreachable.