This post is sponsored by Iris Plans.

There's a new breed of political operative spreading: the self-appointed “fact checkers,” who cherry-pick quotes to score partisan political points by branding honest disagreements as lies (for instance, a 2013 George Mason University study found that Politifact.com was three times more likely to accuse Republicans of lying as Democrats). I’ve become accustomed to having my comments twisted to imply things I never said, or even had my pants declared to be “on fire” (that itself is a blatant lie; that’s never happened, no matter how close I’ve sat to campfires). But this week brought a first: The Washington Post gave me “Two Pinocchios” for telling a deceptive half-truth because I quoted, with 100% accuracy, the Washington Post.

Perhaps WaPo’s slogan should be, “Quote us accurately, and we’ll call you a liar!”

The comment that sparked this “fact check” came on Fox News, when I mentioned that a study by the Washington Post found that “more white people have been shot by police officers this past year than minorities.” That is undeniably true, compared group-to-group. Out of 990 fatal police shootings in 2015, 494 suspects were white and 258 were black. Even WaPo’s “fact checker” was forced to admit that 494 is more than 258.

But she claimed it was only half-true because I failed to provide reams of context, such as adjusting the numbers to reflect the percentages of the races of the suspects in the general population, the racial demographics of the local areas, etc., all of which could have been used to build an argument that the killings of black suspects were disproportionate and/or racially-motivated. Sorry, but I’m still working on a way to motor-mouth 500 pages of data into an 8-second TV response window.

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I think the problem is that WaPo’s “fact checker” isn’t clear on the definition of a “fact.” What I stated was a fact. What she wanted me to include was highly selective data upon which to build an opposing argument. But the conclusion she seems to prefer (cops are racists based on proportional shootings per general population numbers) is not a “fact,” it’s an “assumption.” (And again: I had eight seconds!)

I could just as easily fault WaPo for a massive failure to provide “context.” The whole point of my Fox News comments was to put claims of an epidemic of racist police shootings into context and urge people not to leap to conclusions until all the facts were known. The Post left out the context of my quote! Also, the Post’s own study found that three-quarters of the police killings were defensive, involving suspects who were attacking officers or a third party. I would think even the harshest police critics would be more lenient in judging shootings of violent suspects. But WaPo didn’t include that “context," either. I did, along with endorsing prosecution of police if the evidence warrants, when I wrote about this on my website and Facebook pages (where, unlike on TV, space isn’t an issue. What was WaPo’s excuse?)

Also, did more black suspects than white suspects react violently to police intervention? And what were the races of the cops who shot them, or the third parties they were attacking? Who knows? The WaPo “fact-checker” didn’t say. She also didn’t “adjust” the numbers to reflect the violent crime rates in the local neighborhoods, only the basic demographic breakdown. By her own standards, leaving out all this "context" means she engaged in “half-truths” in an attempt to deceive readers.

She also failed to note that on the very same day, the New York Times published an article about a study of police-public interactions by a young, African-American Harvard researcher. He admitted he was very surprised to discover that blacks were actually less likely than whites to be shot by police. Of course, there’s more to the study, and you are free to use that to try to build a counter-argument. But I trust that you, unlike Hillary Clinton, know how the Internet works, so you can easily find it yourself.

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In assessing the rise of “fact checkers” who don’t recognize their own biases, Daniel J. Flynn of the American Spectator wrote, “It’s precisely the person arrogant enough to assume the mantle of ‘fact checker’ that proves most ill-suited to be one.” In a world where former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos is considered an objective journalist and allowed to moderate a 2012 Republican debate (Hillary wanted him to moderate one of hers, but that proved a bias too far), the term “fact checker” has also been sadly eroded by liberal partisanship into meaninglessness. And that’s a fact, Jack.

I hereby award the Washington Post “Four Pinocchios” for calling its fact check of me a “fact check.”

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A Tragic Irony

July 11, 2016

One of the tragic ironies of the racist Dallas police shootings is that Dallas has an African-American Police Chief, David Brown, who’s been widely acclaimed for maintaining both police discipline and good community relations while bringing the murder and violent crime rates way down. Dallas has even been described as a model for other big city police departments. Just look at the praise coming from the protesters, who are calling the Dallas cops heroes for putting their lives on the line to protect the very people who were there to protest them. Chief Brown just gave a news conference in which he said something that’s needed to be said for a long time to the professional agitators who are stirring up the blanket condemnation of police: If you want the job done differently, then why don’t you do it yourself?

Brown noted that the Dallas Police have been hamstrung by low pay (rookie cops make less than dog catchers) and the resulting loss of officers to higher-paying suburbs. So Brown said to the “Black Lives Matter” supporters that the Dallas Police are hiring: come fill out an application, take the training and become cops yourself. He even offered to assign the new hires to their own neighborhoods. Let’s see what kind of reaction that offer gets. Will the critics line up to show the cops how to police their neighborhoods in a caring, compassionate way? Or will they decide it’s a heck of a lot safer to keep letting someone else face danger and potential death at every turn, and then attack them for not handling it right?

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/07/11/dallas-chief-13-officers-used-force-stop-rampage/86942116/

Benghazi Update

June 28, 2016

Nearly four years after the deadly attack on our diplomatic outpost in Libya, the House Select Committee on Benghazi is finally releasing its report.  For once, I don’t blame the slow-turning wheels of government, but the difficulty in getting anyone involved to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but.” 

As expected, the official version goes easier on then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton than the report by the Committee conservatives (“a tragic failure of leadership”), but it still finds that Clinton and top aide Patrick Kennedy should have realized the risk their actions were causing to our diplomats and staff.  As to their claim that there was no “actionable intelligence” suggesting an attack, the report says it’s not clear how much more intelligence it would have taken to make them understand the risk, short of an attack.  So in summation, the best defense the Administration could make is that when it comes to dealing with radical Islamist terrorists, they suffer from a tragic lack of intelligence.  I think that’s something that we can all agree on.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/28/politics/benghazi-report-hillary-clinton/index.html

 

 

The Democrats on the House Benghazi Committee tried to steal attention from the official report and muddy its findings by releasing their own report the day before.  As expected, their conclusion was that Hillary Clinton and her aides did nothing wrong at all, it’s all just a political witch hunt, so move along, nothing to see here.  It’s about as useful a report as you can expect from a group of politicians who mostly cite “witnesses” who were in Washington at the time, not Benghazi, and who actually devoted part of their official investigative report to attacking Donald Trump, who in 2012 was hosting “Celebrity Apprentice.” 

Amazingly, whoever released the Democrats’ report failed to save the file properly so that anyone reading it could reverse the cut-and-paste function and view the redacted parts of the testimony transcript, revealing the politically-motivated questioning and the huge amounts of money paid to Clinton crony Sidney Blumenthal.  Once again, the Democrats exhibit a “tragic lack of intelligence” in relation to Benghazi.  I don’t know which is more appalling: that these people are in charge of making America’s foreign and defense policies, or that they have any say in making our laws governing technology and cyber-security.

 

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-benghazi-democrats-20160627-snap-story.html