Washington Post Only Fact Checks Republicans After First Day Of Impeachment Hearings
Shelby Talcott on November 14, 2019
The Washington Post fact checked various statements made during the first day of public impeachment hearings Wednesday, but the roundup failed to look into any comments Democrats made.
The WaPo Fact Checker article was a roundup of only Republican Congress members, and the publication declined to include any statements from Democrats. The analysis, published Thursday, is titled “Fact-checking the opening day of the Trump impeachment hearings” and did not specify whether it was only intended for Republicans.
“Here’s a roundup of misleading claims made during the opening day of House impeachment hearings,” the article reads.
WaPo fact checked Republican Reps. John Ratcliffe of Texas, Elise Stefanik of New York and Michael Turner of Ohio. Republican Reps. Devin Nunes of California and Jim Jordan of Ohio were also each fact checked twice. U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr. and senior State Department official George P. Kent testified during Wednesday’s impeachment hearing.
Glenn Kessler, WaPo’s fact checker, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that nothing the Democrats said rose to “the level of being an interesting fact check.”
“Ideally, we would have liked to highlight at least one Democratic claim, if something had risen of the level of being an interesting fact check,” Kessler said.
One fact check WaPo omitted was Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff’s assertion that the White House took an “extraordinary step” by moving the memo of President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president to a “highly classified server.”
FactCheck.org highlighted the “extraordinary step” comment, noting that White House National Security Council staffer Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman testified Oct. 29 that the move was not “unusual.” Vindman added that putting the call into a more secure system could have been justified to avoid leaking information that would hurt relations between the two countries, according to FactCheck.org.
“We had to make some choices given time and staff constraints, and that detail just seemed too in the weeds given how it was so inconclusive,” Kessler told the DCNF regarding the Thursday fact check.
In another moment, Jordan went after Schiff by saying that his “staff is the only staff of any member of Congress that’s had a chance to talk with” the whistleblower. Schiff replied by saying “that’s a false statement,” adding that he personally doesn’t know the whistleblower.
The New York Times reported Oct. 2 that Schiff’s team likely knows who the whistleblower is – a point Jordan mentioned. The whistleblower reportedly reached out to a House staffer, so “it’s reasonable to think his [Schiff’s] team knows” who the person is, PolitiFact reported.
The Associated Press also fact checked Schiff’s Wednesday whistleblower comments. PolitiFact’s fact check originated with WaPo’s Oct. 4 report, which gave Schiff’s previous whistleblower comments “Four Pinocchios.”
WaPo didn’t include this fact check in its roundup because it had previously fact checked the comments, Kessler said.
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