By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
During a CNN-produced segment on December 10 called, “Does the truth matter for Trump supporters?,” co-anchor Alisyn Camerota tested this proposition with the help of a focus group of handpicked Trump supporters.
“Next topic. The truth, and Donald Trump’s relationship with the truth,” said Camerota before the break leading into the segment.
She then questioned those supporters’ responses to Donald Trump’s statement about having seen “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating in Jersey City, New Jersey immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Trump’s memory failed him this time: He clearly didn’t see “thousands and thousands” celebrating in New Jersey while watching television after those terror attacks. However, he did likely see reports, and some images, of people celebrating, both across the Middle East and in the New York and New Jersey areas.
In fact, The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, who fact-checked this claim, initially failed to find the Post’s own article from September 18, 2001, which reported that “authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks” and holding “tailgate-style parties” while viewing the “devastation.” It was found, instead, by Powerline blog. Of course, it becomes quickly apparent that some reports don’t actually cite exactly how many people were celebrating, which has allowed Kessler to repeatedly update his fact-check and maintain that there weren’t “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating within the United States.
The “alleged” part is not whether some Muslims were “detained and questioned,” but whether or not they were seen “celebrating the attacks” on and after September 11. The local CBS New York City affiliate aired a segment back in 2001 referring to a “swarm” of people celebrating 9/11 on a rooftop in Jersey City, and saying that people were waiting and watching with binoculars as the planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Breitbart reported that with this and other reports of similar celebrations, Trump’s figure may not be so far off, and they argue that Trump is vindicated.
This observation is not to defend Trump, so much as to criticize the mainstream media’s decision to focus on Trump, a derangement syndrome that brings so much attention to Trump because it gets them ratings. They also likely hope they can be active participants in so dividing the Republican Party as to produce an independent run, either by Trump if he fails to win the Republican nomination, or by someone else if Trump wins the nomination. Trump, however, announced during Tuesday night’s debate on CNN that he won’t run as an independent if he fails to get the nomination.
So was this a big lie on Trump’s part, or a confused but largely accurate—except for the numbers—account of the actual response by some number of Muslims in New Jersey and elsewhere? Rudolph Giuliani, the then-mayor of New York City,said there were a number of arrests that were made in that city because of people celebrating the attacks, but that Trump was exaggerating.
But the real question is this: Why doesn’t CNN also do a segment asking, “Does the truth matter for Hillary Clinton supporters?” with a group of Hillary supporters, and ask about their thoughts on how Hillary’s statements match the truth?
Instead, on November 12 Camerota said that Mrs. Clinton’s claim that she wanted to join the Marines is “one of those anecdotes that a candidate kind of throws out and we often move on.” Kessler awarded Hillary’s suspect story only two Pinocchios. Kessler gave her four Pinocchios for one that he labeled as one of “The biggest Pinocchios of 2015.” That was her claim that “DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] had to be enacted to stop an anti-gay marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution” in 1996.
The investigation and questions into Mrs. Clinton truthfulness could go back a few years. Why not test American responses to Hillary’s claim about being named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who had not yet scaled Mt. Everest? He successfully reached Everest’s peak more than half a decade after Hillary was born.
Also, what about her false claim about coming under fire in Bosnia? Are those examples not enough to also pillory Hillary in the press?
Maybe not, but some of her more recent grand lies demand attention. Mrs. Clinton claimed at her October 22nd hearing before the Benghazi Select Committee that she did not see any of the 600 emails that came to the State Department from Libya, the ones which sought beefed up security.
Mrs. Clinton also claims that she didn’t tell the family members of the Benghazi victims that “We are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of your son,” though several maintain that she did.
Mrs. Clinton claims to have had no knowledge of the flow of arms to al Qaeda-related groups in Libya, although her own public emails contain an admonishment from a fellow State Department employee, Ann-Marie Slaughter, warning against providing arms to the Libyan rebels. This dishonest candidate also claimed that she never sent or received classified materials on her unauthorized private server, another statement that has been proven false, andconfirmed again this week.
Mrs. Clinton has also been caught in another number of lies about how she hadtold her daughter, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil, and the President of Libya that she knew the Benghazi attack was a terrorist attack perpetrated by an al-Qaeda related group. Yet she still conspired with President Obama and Susan Rice in claiming that a YouTube video critical of Islam sparked the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
A Quinnipiac Poll from a few months ago found that 61 percent of voters found her neither “honest” nor “trustworthy.” But the media don’t want to emphasize that.
The greed and dishonesty coming from the Clintons are unlike anything we have previously witnessed. Earlier this year the book Clinton Cash cited numerousconflicts of interest, such as the owner of Laureate Education, a George Soros backed company, receiving tens of millions of dollars from Hillary Clinton’s State Department through a non-profit he controlled, and, in turn, paying Bill Clinton more than $16 million, plus donating generously to the Clinton Foundation. The mainstream media, if possible, appear to be vetting Mrs. Clinton as inadequately as they did former presidential candidate Barack Obama. They turn a blind eye to these sorts of activities.
It’s clear that most of the media are determined to wreck the Republicans’ chances of winning the White House, at any cost. But the political winds are blowing in a conservative direction in many countries, such as France, Argentina and Venezuela. Already, as a backlash against Obama, the Republicans have made tremendous electoral gains since he was first elected in 2008. As The New York Times had to acknowledge last month, in addition to Republican control of both the U.S. Senate and House, “the president today presides over a shrinking party whose control of elected offices at the state and local levels has declined precipitously. In January, Republicans will occupy 32 of the nation’s governorships, 10 more than they did in 2009. Democratic losses in state legislatures under Mr. Obama rank among the worst in the last 115 years, with 816 Democratic lawmakers losing their jobs and Republican control of legislatures doubling since the president took office…”
If only CNN had the courage to examine both parties equally, instead of perpetuating its own Trump derangement syndrome while working to help elect a Democrat for president next year. Don’t count on it.