Washington Week Mocks Trump's 'No Wars' Claim, Urges Reading WashPost's Fact-Check

January 22nd, 2024 6:42 AM

PBS’s weekly political roundtable show Washington Week with The Atlantic lamented that Republican voters would never heed the wisdom of the Washington Post’s fact checker. In the latest edition, two pundits from The Atlantic responded to comments by Wall Street Journal reporter Nancy Youssef considering how potential candidates Biden and Trump could respond to the current international instability.

Nancy Youssef: ….To me, it could go one of two ways in that you could argue that the world is so unstable right now in conflict in so many places and that the Biden Administration is not handling it well. You could also argue that because the world is so complex and there are so many conflicts going on and they're so nuanced, you need somebody with decades of experience to manage it. So, it seems to me, if you're a voter, I think that's the question you're asking yourself.

That leaves out the question of how the current president's policies may have caused the current instability. Host Jeffrey Goldberg, who is also editor of The Atlantic, pivoted to his staff writer Adam Harris to take up the thread.

Goldberg: But, Adam, I somehow don't think that Donald Trump is going to take the position just articulated by Nancy that, oh well [laughter]. Donald Trump is going to say, hey, look, Joe Biden, he's an old guy and he can't handle all this.

Adam Harris: Well, one of the first things, a couple of days ago, maybe about a week ago, Trump actually said on the campaign trail, right, I am the first president in years and years that didn`t have any wars, right? So, and to voters, are they going to go back and check that? Are they going to read [laughter] the Washington Post fact-check? Is this base actually going to be--”

Goldberg: I mean, if there's a meme on TikTok, then they will definitely go check it but I'm not so confident that they're going to fact-check it….

Behind the mockery of those Republicans that barely read, perhaps the liberal press sees some anti-Democratic vulnerability in the fact that under the supposedly dangerously nutty Trump the United States didn’t actually invade any countries or start any wars, unlike the progressive Obama administration.

The Washington Post did run a typical 'Four Pinocchios' fact-check on Trump’s town hall statement (“I had no wars. I’m the only president in 72 years, I didn’t have any wars”) by its chief “fact checker,” Glenn Kessler, who has a substantial presence here at NewsBusters. Older voters remember that Jimmy Carter never started any wars. He just managed 444 days of American hostages in Iran, briefly interrupted by a disastrous rescue attempt. Joe Biden had a disastrous pullout from Afghanistan, which this group aggressively forgets. 

Kessler compiled over 30,000 "false or misleading" statements by President Trump for a database, which the paper promptly discontinued when Biden entered office. That makes the Post the gold standard for reliability at Washington Week.

One can’t imagine the taxpayer-supported Washington Week ever urging Biden supporters to race to a fact-check, perhaps because there have been few fact-checks of the Democratic president, who keeps telling whoppers without consequence.