AP Runs Biased Fact Check of GOP Debate

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When politicians – Republican, Democrat, or other – get in front of a microphone, there is a tendency to get fast and loose with the facts. The most common infraction is the “half-truth,” a political tactic where the candidate says something that is technically true…but only if you ignore this other fact over here. Voters interested in bringing a bit more honesty to Washington are fortunate to live in the era of online fact-checking. Unfortunately, the checkers themselves have to be watched just as closely as the candidates.

The Associated Press ran a comprehensive fact-check of the Republican primary debate that ran Thursday on Fox News. But instead of soberly taking factual statements and comparing them to the real numbers, they seemed more interested in making opinion-based arguments as if disappointed they couldn’t have a podium of their own.

Consider their fact check on Trump’s statement: “If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about immigration.” That’s really not the kind of statement that can be put to a fact check. One, it’s impossible to know one way or the other. Two, there’s no question that his announcement thrust the issue back into the spotlight. Saying “Republicans have been talking about immigration for at least 30 years” is disingenuous.

The rest of the fact check is no better. They take umbrage with Jeb Bush’s promise to create 4 percent economic growth, saying that “most economists say the U.S. under any president is unlikely to grow consistently at even close to 4 percent.” That may be worth mentioning in an analysis of the debate, but it’s hardly a fact check. It’s a disagreement.

Uncovering the Bias

Conservatives are going to have their work cut out for them this election cycle. Not only is the liberal media sharpening their claws, but the Republican National Committee is relentlessly determined to shape the election. With Fox News in the bag for an establishment contender, conservatives who prefer a candidate like Trump or Ted Cruz will have to dig deep to find commentary that isn’t dripping with an agenda.

But maybe that’s a good thing. It’s high time that America wean itself from the “conventional wisdom”-style analysis found on television and major newspapers. This type of punditry is aimed more at guiding the campaign than it is reporting honestly on the facts. Voters are smart enough to investigate these candidates on their own, and they will be better informed by the time they go to the polls. It takes a little more effort, but it’s well worth it.