The Washington Post “Factchecker” Wants Us To Know That President Biden Lying About the Georgia Voting Law Isn’t So Bad Because President Trump Lied All The Time.

Who couldn’t see this coming?

When I recently noted on Facebook the fact, and it is a fact, that Biden has intentionally told the public that the Georgia voting reform bill limits the times for voting when in fact it expands them, the Trump Deranged reacted predictably, immediately alluding to President Trump’s alleged lies as a justification for giving Biden a pass. First of all, a basic principle of ethics holds that an unethical act is not mitigated by similar or worse conduct by someone else. More importantly, however, when discussing leadership credibility, both quality and quantity matters. As Ethics Alarms pointed out early in the Trump administration, he had such a well-established proclivity for exaggeration, hyperbole, boasting, eccentric views of reality, selective memory and gibberish that it was difficult to take his assertions seriously. Moreover, the news media and anti-Trump fanatics refused to distinguish between actual lies—falsehoods designed to deceive—and Trump’s opinions they disagreed with or statements they deliberately misinterpreted—or lied about themselves, in some cases for years.

Biden’s current lie, like Obama’s infamous “if you like your healthcare plan” lie, is substantive, consequential and sinister. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a Trump lie that equaled either of these as deliberate deceptions of the public for substantive gain, and since he had a well-earned reputation as a BS artist, nothing he said could influence gullible members of the public like deceptions from saintly Obama and the AntiTrump Biden.

Nonetheless, fresh from being an objective journalist for a moment in time by calling Biden’s “5 pm polls closing” whopper what it is, Washington Post Factchecker Glenn Kessler felt it necessary to minimize Biden’s dishonesty by pointing readers to how much worse President Trump was in the lying category, at least according the mainstream media narrative.

I began factchecking the Factchecker. It was quickly obvious—again, for these were all familiar—that what the biased news media and the Trump Deranged point to as Trump’s “lies” are usually differences of perspective and opinion. Most of the examples Kessler linked to are not analogous to Biden’s outright falsehood, and cannot fairly be used to show that Biden has only done a few times (in less than four months, though) what Trump did constantly. Here’s one…I’d welcome reader participation by exposing some of the others:

Kessler cites Trump’s repeated assertion that the U.S. economy had never been “stronger” as a lie he repeated “493 times.” Kessler’s statement is deceit, indeed typical fact-checking dishonesty.

What is “the strongest” economy is not an objective fact capable of checking, and what Trump referred to, thought he was referring to or meant to refer to cannot be determined with sufficient precision to claim he was “lying.” Trump may have, for example, been primarily referring to the stock market, or a combination of the stock markets, employment, income, low inflation and other factors weighted the way he chose to weight them. Yet Kessler writes, “By just about any important measure, the economy today is not doing as well as it did under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson or Bill Clinton — or Ulysses S. Grant.”

Then Kessler begins comparing employment figures with periods in our history when women weren’t part of the workforce. Or If one regards the income levels of black citizens a key measure of a “great” economy, how can Kessler cite Grant’s administration? Can you really call Ike’s economy legitimately strong when the poor had minimal safety nets and we were enmeshed in an arms race? You can’t lie about a characterization that has no universally agreed-upon standards.

Now I would argue that the current economy can’t be in good shape carrying the kind of debt the U.S. now has—but that’s my opinion. (Maybe Andrew Jackson had the “best” economy because he eliminated the National Debt.) Kessler would call me a liar, because he’d find some economist to explain that I’m wrong. I also believe that “The Mikado” is a better musical comedy than any American musical, and I’ll state that position 493 times. (I may have already.) Kessler would find theater professors who state emphatically otherwise, meaning that I’m lying, by fact-checker standards. But my opinion is not a lie. (In fact, I’m correct. So there.)

Now, if I said the “The Mikado” was written by Eugene O’Neill and Irving Berlin, that would be a lie….just like Joe Biden saying the Georgia law cuts off voting at 5 pm. And nothing Donald Trump ever said, no matter how many times he said it, would make it any less of a lie, or more defensible.

10 thoughts on “The Washington Post “Factchecker” Wants Us To Know That President Biden Lying About the Georgia Voting Law Isn’t So Bad Because President Trump Lied All The Time.

      • Donald Trump is double plus I good. That’s three wrongs.

        Multiplied by Biden’s wrong, is:

        A lie x a lie x a lie x a lie

        Is no longer a lie….

        • Kind of like, “I know your are, but what am I? INFINITY!” And we re essentially dealing with sixth graders on the Post’s staff.

    • Not so much “lack,” as a studied indifference to the ethical malfeasance of the “not as bad as” fallacy and deliberately comparing apples and oranges. Their contortions to minimize Biden’s lie by trying to attack Trump as worse is just the inevitable consequence of picking one side as good and the other as bad.

      Once you decide one side represents good and the other evil, all sorts of unethical behavior become “justified.” Remember Jack’s favorite from “A man for all seasons” about giving the Devil the benefit of law? Obviously, the media prefer Roper’s side of the argument. One day, the Devil will turn and rend them.

      Either way, the verdict can only be “unethical.”

  1. When I recently noted on Facebook the fact, and it is a fact, that Biden has intentionally told the public that the Georgia voting reform bill limits the times for voting when in fact it expands them…

    How can you be sure that that is a fact, rather than (say) Biden sincerely believing what his script writers put before him? Is it the technicality that he intentionally spoke what was before him combined with the fact that it was not true, regardless of whether or not he was intentionally uttering what he knew to be untrue? Yet you go on to charge Biden with lying on the basis of that. But in my book, Biden can only be called a liar if he wittingly utters untruths. Can “Biden” really be associated with “wittingly”? Of course, this is only a technical exoneration of the man himself, not of the apparat behind him.

    • That wouldn’t change the fact that he “intentionally told the public that the Georgia voting reform bill limits the times for voting when in fact it expands them…”…right?

  2. There was an interesting PEW study a few years back that sort of touched on this:

    https://www.journalism.org/2018/06/18/distinguishing-between-factual-and-opinion-statements-in-the-news/

    Only 1 in 4 adults could correctly identify all 5 fact statements, and only 35% could identify all 5 opinion statements.

    It was not about if you agreed with the statement or not, or even if it were true or not, it was is it structured as a statement of fact, or opinion, and only 26% and 35% could identify that.

    Questions for facts were like: “President Barak Obama was born in the United states.” You can agree or not, but that is clearly someone making a fact statement. There is a fact that can be checked there.

    Questions for opinions were like: “Government is almost always wasteful and inefficient.” This is an opinion statement, what does “wasteful and inefficient” mean? Compared to what. Who decides what “Almost always” means, what if it is only wasteful 60% of the time, is that almost always? If it is almost always “wasteful and inefficient” isn’t it efficient at being wasteful? What if it were inefficient but not wasteful?

    Reading your thoughts above just brought this study to mind. These “fact” checkers seem to check opinion a lot, and don’t seem to know the difference.

    • I once heard a saying that went something like (quoting from memory): “there is no worse form of waste than doing well that which ought not to be done at all”.

      The rest of your comment deserves a full analysis, but I don’t have the time just now. But the theme I want to bring out is that a fact statement is still a fact statement even if its underpinnings have to do with opinion. There’s a definite spectrum here, e.g. “I don’t like porridge” is an opinion statement (which happens to be factually true of me) but that there government statement above may be factual, even if it is driven by an opinion and not supported by facts as it is presented; that is, it may be fact based if certain other conditions are met. Further: as I don’t have time to bring out facts and argument in support of what I just stated, you may be inclined to call it opinion – but that would be prejudging. Facts don’t become opinions simply from not yet having been brought out (feel free to infinitely regress calling that an opinion).

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