Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 15

TILTING AT WINDMILLS ton Post's Erik Wemple, and the New York Deal (and holds no known personal or fi- "false," or "pants-on-fire," compared to nancial grudge against Trump) told Jane 27 percent of Clinton's. And as with KesTimes's Paul Krugman wasted no time pointing out that, however exasperating, Mayer of the New Yorker: "Lying is second sler, PolitiFact found the disparity grew much wider when you confined observanature to him." Hillary Clinton's stinginess with press No perfect metric exists for Trump's tion to the most outrageously false stateconferences (she held precisely zero during the first half of 2016) did not com- and Clinton's comparative truthfulness ments. Here again, PolitiFact's Whopper pare with Trump's forcible eviction of re- as candidates. But in July, Glenn Kes- Gap was even larger than Kessler's: fulsler, who writes the Washington Post's ly 19 percent of Trump's statements were porters who displeased him. And I mean forcible. In June Politico's Ben Schreck- "Fact Checker" column, did as rigorous "pants-on-fire" false, compared to only 1 inger, already denied credentials to cov- an analysis as I've seen. Kessler reviewed percent of Clinton's. FactCheck.org, maintained by the his fifty-two assessed Trump claims and er Trump, purchased a general admission ticket to a campaign rally in San Jose, thirty-six assessed Clinton claims and University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg California-only to be escorted out by se- found Trump to be more than twice as un- Public Policy Center, has performed no truthful as Clinton. Nearly 85 percent of meta-analysis like Kessler's nor kept a curity when spotted. (Disclosure: I know most of the jour- the Trump claims rated "false or mostly running tally like PolitiFact. But in Defalse," compared to 40 percent of the Clin- cember it declared that in twelve years nalists just mentioned.) ton claims. The disparity was even great- of operation "we've never seen [Trump's] I'm with Baker and Murray that the mainstream press must make an effort to er when Kessler limited consideration to match. He stands out not only for the be fair to Trump, as it must with everyone. his "Four Pinocchio" worst ratings for the sheer number of his factually false Reporters should not feel free to charac- most outrageously false statements. By claims, but also for his brazen refusals terize him as a carnival barker or a dema- that measure, Trump was more than four to admit error when proven wrong." In gogue or a proto-fascist, and unless they times as untruthful can crack the mystery of whatever prod- as Clinton: 63 peruct it is that Trump may use on his hair cent of Trump's asWhen a political reporter says sessed claims rated and his face to lend them their unique tints, they should let up about it. (I never outrageously false, Donald Trump spreads many more said this was going to be easy.) But I think compared to 14 perfalsehoods-and much bigger Sullivan is right that reporters shouldn't cent of Clinton's. satisfy the directive to be fair with the Clinton, Kessler confalsehoods-than Hillary Clinton, "plague on both your houses" approach fa- cluded, "has a bell that reporter isn't spouting opinion. vored by Lee and Mason. Certain factual curve of a typical distinctions must be kept front and cen- politician. The numHe's reporting verifiable fact. ter. Trump has zero experience in govern- ber of false claims ment, whereas Clinton has been a senator equals the number and secretary of state. Trump is opposed of true claims, while her other claims fall previous years, the website said, "we've mostly somewhere in the middle." (If that not singled out a single claim or a sinby a great many leading Republicans, and that's highly unusual; we haven't seen sounds a bit harsh, remember that Kes- gle person, and have left it to readers anything like it since Goldwater in 1964. sler doesn't assess any candidate state- to judge which whoppers they considClinton is not opposed by any leading ment unless it already seems potential- er most egregious. But this year the evily questionable.) Trump, by contrast, was dence is overwhelming and, in our judgDemocrats. Trump has very little in the way of a policy platform, making it dif- off the charts. "There's certainly nev- ment, conclusive. So, for the first time, ficult to know what-besides tearing up er been a major-party politician with we confer the title 'King of Whoppers.' " What all this demonstrates is that trade deals, building a wall on the Mexi- Trump's Four Pinocchios score," Kessler when a political reporter says Donald can border, and preventing Muslims from concluded. PolitiFact, the Tampa Bay Times's Pu- Trump spreads many more falsehoods- entering the country-he would do as president. Clinton has detailed her poli- litzer prize-winning fact-checking col- and much bigger falsehoods-than Hillcy positions extensively, leaving support- umn, keeps a running tally on its rat- ary Clinton, that reporter isn't spouting ers and detractors alike with little doubt ings for Trump and Clinton, allowing us opinion. He's reporting verifiable fact. What do news editors even mean when about what her presidency would be like. to gather a second opinion. As of midAnd though both candidates have spoken July, PolitiFact's numbers put the Trump- they talk about being fair? Ideally, they untruthfully-as all politicians do from Clinton disparity even wider than Kes- mean maintaining an open mind, weightime to time-Trump is without ques- sler did, with Trump nearly three times ing all sides, and not imposing irreletion the more mendacious. It's not even as untruthful as Clinton. Among the cam- vant or gratuitous judgments. Less loftpaign statements PolitiFact evaluated, 76 ily, in everyday newsroom practice being close. As Tony Schwartz, who ghostwrote percent of Trump's were "mostly false," fair often means not provoking any powTrump's best-selling 1987 The Art of the Washington Monthly 15 http://www.FactCheck.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Monthly - September/October 2016

Contents
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - Cover1
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - Cover2
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 1
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 2
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 3
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 4
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 5
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 6
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 7
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 8
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - Contents
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 10
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 11
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 12
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 13
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 14
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 15
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 16
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 17
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 18
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 19
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 20
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 21
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 22
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 23
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 24
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 25
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 26
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 27
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 28
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 29
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 30
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 31
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 32
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 33
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 34
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 35
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 36
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 37
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 38
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 39
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 40
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 41
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 42
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 43
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 44
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 45
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 46
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 47
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 48
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 49
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 50
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 51
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 52
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 53
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 54
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 55
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 56
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 57
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 58
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 59
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 60
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 61
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 62
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 63
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 64
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 65
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 66
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 67
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 68
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 69
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 70
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 71
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 72
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 73
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 74
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 75
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 76
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 77
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 78
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 79
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 80
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 81
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 82
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 83
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 84
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 85
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 86
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 87
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 88
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 89
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 90
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 91
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 92
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 93
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 94
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 95
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 96
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 97
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 98
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 99
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 100
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 101
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 102
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 103
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 104
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 105
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 106
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 107
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 108
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 109
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 110
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 111
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 112
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 113
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 114
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 115
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 116
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 117
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 118
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 119
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 120
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 121
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 122
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 123
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 124
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 125
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 126
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 127
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - 128
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - Cover3
Washington Monthly - September/October 2016 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/washingtonmonthly/20190910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/washingtonmonthly/20180910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/washingtonmonthly/20160910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/washingtonmonthly/20150910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/washingtonmonthly/20140910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/washingtonmonthly/20120910
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com