The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at The Wall Street Journal written by the editor, James Taranto.
Bottom Story of the Day
“English Man Spends 11 Hours Trying to Make Cup of Tea With Wi-Fi Kettle”—headline, Guardian (London), Oct. 11
Breaking News From 1792
“George Washington Still the Team to Beat”—headline, Register-Herald (Beckley, W.Va.), Oct. 12
Fact-Checking the Fact-Check of the Fact-Check
Media “fact checkers” were out in force as usual during Sunday’s debate, and PJMedia’s Patrick Poole notes a particular effort from the Associated Press. “#APFactCheck: Trump wrong that Syria’s Assad is fighting Islamic State militants. #debate,” the wire service tweeted shortly after the debate ended.
Poole: “Then some experts on Twitter noted to the AP that its ‘fact check’ directly contradicted some of the AP’s recent reporting”—specifically a March video report titled “Syrian Troops Drive IS Out of Palmyra.”
The following morning, the AP deleted its initial tweet in favor of a new one saying “his remark is only partially true.” “The correction, however, didn’t improve the quality of the AP’s ‘fact check,’ ” Poole writes. “It actually made it worse.” Here’s the AP’s explanation:
DONALD TRUMP: “I don’t like Assad at all. But Assad is killing ISIS. Russia is killing ISIS.”
THE FACTS: Only partially true. Syria’s President Bashar Assad considers the Islamic State group to be among numerous “terrorist” groups that threaten his government. His overstretched military is mainly focused on combating Syrian opposition groups, some of which are supported by the United States. Assad does use air power against IS-held areas and his ground forces are engaged in fighting with the extremists in Deir el-Zour in the east.
To call that statement “partially true” is like saying the statement “America was at war with Germany in 1944” was only partially true because America was also at war with Japan. One might reasonably say Trump’s comment was misleading because it was incomplete, but that is a matter of opinion, not fact. But that’s par for the course with these so-called fact checks.
For more “Best of the Web” from The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto click here.