Fact-free ‘Fact Check’

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on January 25, 2012

From a post by OpinionJournal.com’s editor James Taranto (original post date 1/24/12):

The Associated Press “fact checks” Jan. 23’s debate, and again shows how ridiculous the whole genre is:

Romney: “I don’t think we can possibly retake the White House if the person who’s leading our party is the person who was working for the chief lobbyist of Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac was paying Speaker Gingrich $1.6 million at the same time Freddie Mac was costing the people of Florida millions upon millions of dollars.”

The facts: While going after Gingrich forcefully on the issue, Romney did not mention his own earnings from the government-backed lender and its sister entity, Fannie Mae, which came to light in his most recent financial disclosure report.

The report shows he has as much as $500,000 invested in the two lenders. GOP presidential hopefuls almost across the board have blamed the two institutions for contributing to the housing crisis that helped to drag the nation into recession. Among Romney’s ties: a mutual fund worth up to $500,000 that includes assets from both lenders among other government income, and separate investments in each of the lenders in Romney’s individual retirement account, each worth between $100,000 and $250,000.

Romney campaign officials said Monday the investments were handled by a trustee with no direction by the candidate.

The AP not only does not refute Romney’s factual assertions, it doesn’t even evaluate them. Instead, it responds to Romney’s criticism of Gingrich by offering its own criticism of Romney. That’s fine in a commentary by a Gingrich partisan, or a Democratic partisan seeking to spread the dirt as widely as possible. But the AP is supposed to be in the business of news.