Donald Trump lies. Constantly. But news outlets have resisted calls to fact-check him during the presidential debates, apparently because of the ridiculous notion that pointing out falsehoods uttered by one candidate or the other is somehow a violation of the “impartiality” of reporters. Until now.
Politico is reporting that Bloomberg News will provide a real-time, on-screen fact-check of both candidates during the first debate. Things are about to get really interesting.
According to the Politico story, some of the networks have opted to do their fact-checking during post-debate analysis. They say that real-time fact-checking would be too difficult. Given the way that Trump lies, they may have a point.
Daniel Dale, a reporter for Canada’s Toronto Star, did an analysis of Trump’s lies over two time periods: September 15-17, and September 19-24. He found that during that time Trump put forth multiple lies each and every day, save one. The candidate didn’t lie at all on September 23. That is because on that day he made no public statements.
Dale’s findings back up those of Politifact. That site’s tally of Trump’s “False” and “Pants On Fire” statements have almost broken their meter. As of right now, Politifact has rated 137 of Trump’s statements with one of those two scores. Add to that another 44 “Mostly False” ratings and some 69 percent of things Trump has said that were rated by the fact-checking site are either mostly or completely lies. Compare that to “Crooked Hillary,” who has been called out by Politifact for statements that were mostly or completely false 28 percent of the time.
Bloomberg is investing considerable resources in the fact-checking effort, which will likely be watched closely by other media outlets to see if it is successful. If it is, could we expect increased fact-checking from other news outlets for the remaining debates? Or will Trump whine about the “unfairness” of it all, causing the networks to shy away from challenging him, as they always do?
So far Trump hasn’t responded to the report about Bloomberg’s plans, but it’s certain that he won’t be happy. Many people have been skeptical that the alleged billionaire would ever make it to the debate stage – that he would find some excuse to not show up. Could this be it?
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