State of the Union ‘Fact Checks’ Slammed for Overt Bias

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
February 6, 2019 Updated: February 6, 2019

People are slamming dubious fact checkers for their overt bias in analyzing portions of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech.

One particular example was from the government-funded, left-leaning NPR, which provided a “fact check” of Trump’s statement praising the record-high number of women in Congress.

“Exactly one century after Congress passed the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before,” Trump said on Feb. 5.

NPR responded to the statement by admitting it was completely true, but tried to inject partisanship into the equation, which Trump mostly avoided in the speech.

Danielle Kurtzleben, a political reporter for the outlet, wrote that “There are more women in Congress than ever before, but not in Trump’s party.”

She later added that while the number of women, 127, in Congress is at a record high, “women remain hugely underrepresented—fewer than one in four members of Congress are women.”

Kurtzleben did not address the fact check on her Twitter account, but wrote: “We at NPR are fact-checking the bejeezus out of the SOTU.”

Politico was among the other outlets getting in on the “fact checks,” trying to analyze Trump’s statement that “one in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north.”

Despite Doctors Without Borders reporting in 2017 that 31 percent of female migrants said they were sexually assaulted while traveling through Mexico, Politico rated the statement only “partly true.”

Ted Hesson, an immigration reporter for the outlet, wrote that the report was based on a survey of 467 migrants in shelters that it supports in Mexico. He did not make clear how the statement was only “partly true. He seemed to be speculating that future surveys may not replicate the numbers but he didn’t cite any sources to support his argument.

A number of other sources also pegged the number of female migrants being sexually assaulted at around one in three or higher. For instance, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said last year that his agency’s intelligence and interviews put the numbers even higher.

Hesson did not address the rampant criticism through his Twitter account but did retweet, or share, the Politico post that claimed that Trump’s statement was only “partly true.”

The Washington Post, perhaps the most open about its anti-Trump sentiment among news agencies, also wrote a dubious fact check.

Trump said during his speech that “We have more women in the workforce than ever before.”

The Post admitted that the statement was true but tried taking aim at the reason for the number.

“As a raw number, this is correct but it mainly reflects the increasing size of the U.S. population,” Glenn Kessler, a notorious fact checker, wrote. “The more relevant figure is the labor participation rate of women. It stands at 57.5 percent, well below the high reached in 2000.”

Twitter users reacted negatively to the clearly biased “fact checks.”

Responding to the Post, one user wrote: “In other words: True.”

“A simple ‘Fact check: True’ would’ve done it. But ok,” added another.

To NPR, Federalist editor Mollie Hemingway wrote: “THIS IS NOT A FACT CHECK.”

“There are more women in Congress than any other time in history. That’s what he said, that is a fact is it not,” added another user.

“You folks need less taxpayer funds. This qualifies as daily beast material not the nation’s subsidized news platform,” added another.

From NTD News

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.