Where Are the Fact-Checkers? ABC Lets Biden-Harris Lies Go Unchallenged

August 24th, 2020 12:27 AM

Watching ABC’s interviews with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Sunday night was an exercise in whiplash. World News Tonight anchor David Muir pivoted between asking the pair the expected anti-Trump questions to asking them surprisingly critical questions (for ABC) from both the right and left on the two candidates’ policies and controversial statements. However, that surprise turned to disappointment as ABC let Biden and Harris spin, deflect and even lie during these exchanges with little to no pushback or fact-checking. 

After Muir invited Biden to “blame President Trump” for 170,000+ lives lost to the coronavirus, not once, but twice, he went on to ask the Democrat about the economy and if he would raise taxes: "Over and over again President Trump leads on the economy. And you know what he's saying. He said, 'President Biden, a Biden administration will raise your taxes.' Will you raise taxes?"

Biden repeated twice that he would not raise taxes for anybody making over $400,000 a year.

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer noted how Muir didn’t challenge Biden on how the ObamaCare penalty was a federal tax:

Harris also was allowed to spin her record on Americans keeping their private health insurance.



Noting she was to the left of Biden, he asked if she would abolish private insurance. She told Muir that she had always supported keeping private insurance:

MUIR: [D]o you see a day where private insurance would go away as you once proposed?

HARRIS: No, and in fact that my plan, when I was running, was that we would not eliminate private insurance. And Joe and I--

MUIR: Even though you signed on for Medicare for All?

HARRIS: I signed on to that. I signed on to a number of bills that were about great ideas to fix the problem. I want to fix the problem. And Joe has a plan to fix the problem and I'm fully supportive of it.

However, she actually raised her hand during one primary debate saying she would eliminate private insurance. She tried to walk it back later with a confusing excuse. 

Harris also completely avoided answering Muir’s question about how she came around to joining Biden’s ticket after attacking him during the primary debates.

While there was not one question about Tara Reade or Biden’s involvement in the Michael Flynn case, his controversies didn’t go completely unnoticed. Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts also conducted an interview with the pair and asked about Biden “sparking controversy” with his “You ain’t black” comment. Roberts turned to Harris and asked her if she had a talking to with Biden: “Have you been able to speak truth to him about that?”

Harris deflected to trash Trump and falsely claimed he had never said, “black lives matter," a lie which Roberts didn't correct:

Muir ended his interview asking how Biden was going to unite the polarized country. Biden was allowed the last word to tout how he would be an honest president and would work for every American. The honesty part is quite a claim from a man who’s own presidential campaign ended in 1987 after he was caught plagiarizing and making false claims about his own academic accomplishments. In 2012, Biden also told a black audience that Republicans wanted to put them back in chains, so there goes that “uniting the country” part, too. Surprise! Muir didn’t bring either of these controversies up either.

Covering up for Democrats is what ABC does best. Tell their sponsors DoorDash, Kohl’s and Etsy you want their journalists to report on both sides fairly, by following the link here.

Read the relevant transcripts below:


"The Ticket: The First Interview: A Special Edition of 20/20"


9:00 PM ET


MUIR: We know there's another crisis attached to this pandemic and that's the economy. Thirty million Americans on unemployment right now we just learned of another million last week filing for unemployment. You lead in the polls, but in the same polls there's also a vulnerability. Over and over again, President Trump leads on the economy, and you know what he's saying? He said, President Biden, a Biden administration, will raise your taxes, will you raise taxes?

BIDEN: I will raise taxes for anybody making over $400,000. Let me tell you why I'm going to do it. It's about time they start paying a fair share of the economic responsibility we have. The very wealthy should pay fair share, corporations should pay a fair share. The fact is, there are corporations making close to a trillion dollars that pay no tax at all. I’m not punishing anybody. This is about everybody paying their fair share.

MUIR: So no new taxes $400,000 and down?

BIDEN: No new taxes, there would be no need for (inaudible).

MUIR: And in the middle of a recovery because you've seen this before when you entered back in 2008 with President Obama -- Is it smart to tax businesses while you're trying to recover?

BIDEN: It's smart to tax businesses that are in fact are making excessive amounts of money and paying no taxes. It's how we did it last time, look what happened. I was put in charge of making sure that $800 billion got distributed around the country and started economic growth. Less than two tenths of 1% waste or fraud, the largest, the most consecutive number of months of growth in jobs of any time in history. We did it the right way. Look what he's doing. The money was supposed to go to help small businesses, you have one in six small businesses have already closed. You're finding a situation that over 60% of the money -- only 40% of money for small businesses went to small businesses.

MUIR: But what is the cut off? You're talking about small businesses, will you be raising taxes on small businesses?


MUIR: You’re talking about...

BIDEN: I'm talking about -- I'm talking about businesses that in fact -- look, you have 90% of the businesses out are mom and pop businesses that are out there that are making -- that employee less than 50 people. There will be no raising taxes on them. We have to provide them with the ability to reopen. We have to provide more help for them, not less help.


MUIR: Let me ask you both about a moment that people love to make a lot of. I have no interest in going back and looking at all the debates. Instead, though I'd like to talk about the words on stage when the two of you were rivals. You remember that moment, Senator Harris, you were on stage talking about being a little girl who was being bussed, and you said of the Vice President's words about working with segregationist senators that they were hurtful and personal. I think the American people want to know that these aren't debate moments, these aren't political points, that when you say they were hurtful and personal -- you mean that. And so I'm curious what the vice president has said to you since then that made you think, OK, I'm OK with this, I can join this ticket.

HARRIS: What is hurtful to me is that black families own one-tenth of the wealth of white families. What is hurtful to me is that black and Latinos are twice as likely to die from COVID as white families. What is hurtful to me is that when you look at the disparities, and everything from health care to education, to the economic wellbeing of families in America, there are real racial disparities that are rooted in systemic racism. And -- and -- and a failure to address the truths that may be difficult truths. Joe Biden does that. And he is doing that. He is addressing these truths. He speaks these truths. And one of the reasons I'm so excited to be on this ticket with him and God willing to serve with him is that he has the confidence of character, and a real genuine commitment to address these issues...


MUIR: I was watching the convention, obviously, very closely. I saw you had a number of Republican headliners during the convention and everyday voters from across America, Republicans, independents and Senator Harris I wanted to ask you about something I'm sure you've heard often: The president and his campaign have said Kamala Harris was rated the most liberal US Senator in 2019, that she completes the radical leftist takeover of Joe Biden. I know you laugh, but you were to the left of Joe Biden on some major issues going into the primary, you know, Medicare for all, eliminating private insurance, the Green New Deal. So, have you moved closer to Joe Biden or has he moved closer to you?

HARRIS: Joe Biden and I are completely aligned on the goal: making sure everyone has health care, and it's not a function of how much money they have in their back pocket. He and I have personal experiences with people we love deeply, who have gone through the health care system and who ultimately passed away, and, and that is a personal and in a very deep held belief that is based on a shared value that all people should have access to health care. You look at what we need to do in terms of the climate crisis, Joe’s speech last night said it all, we're facing four crises right now in America, and one of them is the climate crisis. We agree on what we need to do, which is to take it seriously as one of the highest priorities of our government, knowing that it is an existential threat to who we are as human beings.

MUIR: And you know I ask you this because you have pressure from the left, you have pressure from the center, you're trying to appeal to Republicans, and so on sort of the evolution on the issues when you talk about health care that you see eye to eye -- do you see a day where private insurance would go away as you once proposed?

HARRIS: No, and in fact that my plan, when I was running, was that we would not eliminate private insurance. And Joe and I--

MUIR: Even though you signed on for Medicare for All?

HARRIS: I signed on to that. I signed on to a number of bills that were about great ideas to fix the problem. I want to fix the problem. And Joe has a plan to fix the problem and I'm fully supportive of it.

BIDEN: David, I think, if I can just interrupt for just a moment. The degree to which we disagreed in the primaries is-- was on tactic. We both believe Medicare, healthcare is a right not a privilege. We both believe that we have to deal with the existential threat to humanity, called global warming, but they call it a new Green Deal or-- we have, it’s just a matter of detail. I think we can eliminate and I think the senator does as well, we can eliminate, we can have a power system and electric grid system, that in fact has-- we get to zero emissions by 2035. We can own the market in electric vehicles. The question is how you get there, how you get there and how quickly and what you do to get there. And so I don't think we have any disagreement on the basic question of what we have to do, as a nation, and, and it's always been more tactic than it has been about a fundamental difference.


MUIR: Senator Harris, I wanted to ask you about the Postmaster General. As you know he was testifying just today, just before we sat down for this interview. You would typically be there to question. I know you sent in questions on your own. He acknowledged that the changes he's made have caused delays but then he said this: the Postal Service will deliver every ballot and process every ballot in time that it receives.That's a promise from the Postmaster General, that the postal service will deliver every ballot and process every ballot in time. Do you buy that?

HARRIS: I don't necessarily believe anything that he has said, when he says that what he has done has had no effect. Because I know it to be true that small businesses around our country in these last days, that he has withdrawn resources from the Postal Service, are suffering. I have been receiving stories from small business owners about how they can't get their product out on time. That it arrives late, and so their Yelp, or their Amazon rating goes down, because their customer is upset. I've heard stories about small businesses who are trying to ship out their product, and it arrives late past when they promised it would arrive. So now they're out of their product and they have to pay a reimbursement. I've heard about seniors who rely on receiving their medication in the mail on time. And, in addition to whatever they're suffering physically, they are worried to their bone that their medication may not come in time for them to take it properly. These are the things that are happening right now in America, because of the failure to put in place the resources in one of America's greatest institutions which is the Postal Service.

MUIR: Do you think the president is deliberately trying to slow down the mail-in vote?

HARRIS: You know, here's the thing about Donald Trump. You can-- I'm not gonna spend too much time getting into his brain. I'm just watching what he does and the effect of it. And the effect of what he is doing on this subject is hurting small businesses, seniors, people across our country in rural communities where that is the only method by which they receive mail or packages. This is what's happening in real time.

BIDEN: And he said he wanted to defund the post office at one point because he does not want people to be able to vote by mail. That's what he said.

MUIR: The president also said just this week, the only way we're going to lose this election is if it's rigged. And you have said if Trump loses, he might not leave the White House, do you really believe that?

BIDEN: Well, look I said two things I said, number one, I predict to you that Trump will say we could delay the election. On your nightly show, you pointed out Biden said that. Legitimately I did, and I said that's an exaggeration. Three weeks later he said, maybe we should delay the election until he got so laughed out of that position he said well I didn't really mean that. Then he comes along and says we should defund the post office because vote-by-mail as he’s sitting there, signing his absentee ballot he's mailing the Florida, is fraudulent. Zero, zero evidence that that’s true, and he's going to do everything he can. And that he also when asked, “Will you leave the White House if you lose?” He said it will depend, or something to that effect.

MUIR: So what would you do?

BIDEN: The American people will not let that happen. And by the way, everyone from the-- anyway, no one's going to allow that to happen.


MUIR: I want to get your thoughts on something else. President Trump has referred to you as "nasty," a sort of "madwoman," a "disaster," the "meanest, most horrible, most disrespectful of anybody in the US Senate." How do you define what you hear from the President?

HARRIS: Listen, I really -- I think that there is so much about what comes out of Donald Trump's mouth that is designed to distract the American people from what he is doing every day. That is about neglect, negligence and harm to the American people.

BIDEN: And incompetence.

HARRIS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

BIDEN: The idea that he would say something like that. No president-- no president has ever said anything like that. No president has ever used those words, and no president has said people coming out of fields with torches and spewing anti semitic bile and met by people who oppose them, and someone dies and he says they're good people on both sides. No president of the United States has ever said anything like that ever.


You said, "I choose to speak truth, even when it's uncomfortable."


BIDEN: So when you have a running mate who makes a comment like, "you ain't Black," and leads some people to say, "he just doesn't get it." Have you been able to speak truth to him about that?

HARRIS: Listen, when Joe and I talk about, and frankly have talked about, over the years, but in connection with this race about the state of Black America, he has a deep sense of awareness and knowledge about racial disparities, inequities and systematic racism. And Joe speaks the words and actually knows how to say the words "Black Lives Matter." Contrary to what the president of the United States, the current president of the United States, does which is to sow hate and division full time, has never spoken those words and will never speak the words "Black Lives Matter."