My Response To The Washington Post

July 11, 2016 |

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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Comments 1-2 of 2

  • Tonya Williams

    07/13/2016 04:49 PM

    As a long time supporter of yours, I am appreciative of our efforts to keep up honesty and seek out truth. We need more like you to be inside politics. God bless you.

    We need to expose liars and lies and try to stop manipulation of real news and good people. Why can Dems lie about Trump, yet no one allows Trump his own voice to speak his own truth rightlty and nightly? a little onesided reporting is out there for certain.

  • Debbie Robbins

    07/12/2016 08:42 AM

    As always Governor Huckabee, you are "SPOT ON!" Thank you for taking the time to expose and clarify just exactly how the Washington Post writers approach their method of "fact checking" and their dishonest methods of reporting. Thankfully, I have the time to be engaged, am informed, have a formal education but most importantly, possess COMMON SENSE! And lastly, if you are not chosen to be Mr. Trump's V.P., I am DEFINITELY going to have a talk with Jesus about it.....even in heaven! I trust Him alone and I pray he is whispering in Trump's ear because it's His will for you to serve our country in this way! GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY! And do you ever read these responses and reply? You have no idea HOW MANY PEOPLE OUT HERE want you to be the nation's V.P.!!!
    Respectfullly-
    Mrs. Debbie Robbins
    Louisville, KY