“So if you've been watching the debates on CNN, you know that one of the most anticipated moments of truth literally comes from CNN fact checker Daniel Dale,” proclaimed CNN New Day co-host John Berman on Friday. There did not seem to be a lot of anticipation though, nor was there a lot of fact checking. There were, however, a lot of attacks on the President, and a lot of covering for Joe Biden.
The so-called "fact checking" began with an out and out insult from Dale: “we have a President who's running for re-election on a strategy of deliberate serial dishonesty. That's what we got from Trump at this debate.” Throughout his 2 minute 11 second fact checking spiel, there were few actual specifics given and no sources were cited.
What there was were several attacks and even lies about the President. Dale declared: “[Trump] claimed in that first answer that a vaccine is ready.” Look at the transcript of the debate, this was never said by the President. When Dale gave a statistic, like when he was critiquing the section on immigration, he gave no indication of where that came from.
The only time that Biden was called out for lying was when he said that he never opposed fracking. Even then, Dale put on kid gloves: “Now, his campaign always clarified, that was not his actual policy, a complete fracking ban, but he did create that strong impression.”
Later in the show, John Avlon’s “reality check” segment was even worse. Regarding Biden’s lie about not wanting to ban fracking, Avlon pardoned: “[H]e doesn't, but he has been really inexact about it in the past but he does support moving to a carbon neutral economy by 2050.”
The rest of the segment Avlon spent attacking and insulting the President. Trump claimed that “I’m the least racist person in this room” during the debate. Avlon didn’t even fact check it, just mocked it.
He outright attacked the President on immigration, not even making clear what he was fact checking. Avlon snarled: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying we need to take away children and now 545 children have been effectively orphaned by the policy.” There are currently over 200,000 children in waiting for family reunification here in America, but I guess that is not as damaging to Trump.
Thankfully, there were other groups, such as the National Review, that offered analysis on what Joe Biden got wrong. There is nothing wrong with the media fact checking a debate. That is actually something they should do and it should be highly encouraged. What CNN was doing was not fact checking, but making partisan and at times baseless attacks on President Trump. Instead of facts, they gave democratic talking points.
A transcript of the October 23rd Coverage is included below:
7:45 a.m. Eastern
JOHN BERMAN: So if you've been watching the debates on CNN, you know that one of the most anticipated moments of truth literally comes from CNN fact checker Daniel Dale. Part human, part accountability robot. This is what he saw last night.
DANIEL DALE [CNN Fact Checker]: Alisyn and John, we have a President who's running for re-election on a strategy of deliberate serial dishonesty. That's what we got from Trump at this debate. In fact, he was somehow more dishonest at this debate than he was during his bombastic performance in the first Presidential debate. His very first sentence at this last debate was incorrect. He was wrongly describing a pandemic-related statistic. And he went on from there to again falsely assert that the pandemic is rounding some sort of corner, it's going away. In fact, the situation is getting worse in terms of cases, deaths, hospitalization, test positivity rate. He claimed in that first answer that a vaccine is ready. No vaccine is ready. And he continued to make false assertions about Biden's plans. For example, again asserting that Biden wants to terminate the private health insurance of 180 million people. Biden, again, as explicitly, vocally rejected that kind of single-payer medical-for-all approach in favor of a voluntary public option in which people could opt in if they wanted to. Trump basically kept repeating many of his other false claims there campaign rallies, claiming that only 1% of people show up for immigration court hearings. In fact, it's closer to 75%. Again asserting that he's been better for black Americans than any President since Lincoln. This is completely ridiculous, frankly. Again, asserting that it is China paying the tariffs. As Biden correctly pointed out, it's U.S. Taxpayers. I could go on and on. Now, Biden was not perfect. He made a false claim that he had never said he opposed fracking. He did say that in the 2019 and early 2020 democratic primary. Now, his campaign always clarified, that was not his actual policy, a complete fracking ban, but he did create that strong impression. Biden also omitted important information about his own plan, the public option, describing it as something that would automatically enroll people in states that have not expanded medicare under Obamacare, but declining to mention or maybe forgetting to mention that it would also allow millions of other people, not just low-income people, not just in those states to enroll. So Biden made some fall claims some that were misleading. But we got a fire house, a bombardment of whatever you want to call it, it was the same as usual from President Donald Trump. Alisyn and John?
BERMAN: Our thanks. A big thanks to Daniel Dale. Like we said, accountability robot.
8:53 AM ET
JOHN BERMAN: I can barely remember the debate last night at this point, but what I do know is there was a lot to fact check in it and John Avalon back here well reality check.
JOHN AVLON: That's right, guys, look, debate reality check round two, let's start with health care.
DONALD TRUMP: I'd like to terminate Obamacare, come up with a brand-new beautiful health care. When he talks about a public option, he's talking about socialized medicine. When he talks about a public option he is talking about destroying your medicare, totally -- and destroying your social security and this whole country will come down.
AVLON: Okay. Fear mongering is usually a sign that the facts aren't on your side. Now, Trump is trying to kill Obamacare and he has no plan to replace it. Biden is campaigning on a public option which is not socialized medicine. This was one of the biggest fights between Biden and Bernie Sanders in the primaries, the public option would expand Medicare not destroy it, it would also have no impact on social security while Trump's proposed payroll tax cut could deplete social security within three years. Did you notice this surreal exchange?
TRUMP: I just gave $28 billion to our farmers.
JOE BIDEN: Taxpayers money.
TRUMP: It's what?
BIDEN: Taxpayers money.
TRUMP: The taxpayers, it's called China.
BIDEN: He has caused the deficit with China to go up, not down.
AVLON: All right. So the Trump White House will actually give $46 billion to farmers to blunt the pain of his trade war, but Biden was right, that isn't China's money, it's yours, taxpayers. Now, as for the trade deficit with China, Biden was wrong here, it's actually down 6.7%, basically flat from where it was in 2016, but the overall trade deficit, a frequent Trump talking point is up to a 14-year high. Things got really heated on immigration and while the Obama administration did occasionally separate families when parents were smuggling drugs, for example, the Trump administration dramatically expanded the policies, Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying we need to take away children and now 545 children have been effectively orphaned by the policy. When Trump railed on Obama-Biden for not passing immigration remember that was because Republican opposed it. Alright lightning round! Trump said Biden's Climate Change/ Jobs plan would cost $100 trillion, he was off by 50. Trump said Biden wants to ban fracking, he doesn't, but he has been really inexact about it in the past but he does support moving to a carbon neutral economy by 2050, but I want to end on this claim.
TRUMP: I'm the least racist person in this room.
AVLON: Really? Do you think anyone in the room believed that? And that's your reality check.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: John, we really -- I don't know when you sleep. We really appreciate you --
AVLON: It was for the week.
CAMEROTA: I know you think that, but, yeah, I think it's really interested to hear that both sides obviously fudged, but as Daniel Dale said, on the Trump side trying to fact check his misleading statements he said it was like I love Lucy at the chocolate factory. It was coming down the conveyor belt that furiously and he was trying to gobble them up.
BERMAN: Not as much of a sugar high. John, thank you very much.