Why Is An Irrelevant Clinton Tweet In This Politifact Check On Trump’s Whereabouts?
Politifact’s effort to fact check the whereabouts of President Donald Trump on June 9, 2016, apparently required noting that it was the same day Hillary Clinton tweeted at him to “Delete your account.”
It may seem like superfluous information, but Politifact, which prides itself on being “nonpartisan,” found it necessary to fully recount a back and forth Trump had with Clinton while fact checking a statement from former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Lewandowski said in an NBC interview Thursday that Trump was in Florida on June 9, 2016, the day of Don Jr.’s questionable meeting with a Russian lawyer. It’s not surprising to see people attempt to separate Trump from his son’s meeting, even when those defenses are wrong. PolitiFact concludes Lewandowski’s claim was incorrect, stating that, “Trump attended a fundraising lunch at the Four Seasons in New York before spending the rest of the day at Trump Tower.”
But the fact-check dedicates 114 words out of a 457-word article to the Clinton Twitter squabble. At just 106 words, less space goes to the evidence that supports the fact-check’s ruling than to covering Trump’s irrelevant tweets.
The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Fact Check team reached out to Politifact about the addition and received no response in time for publishing.
Almost a fourth of the check on his location focuses on Trump’s tweets during that day. It discusses the Twitter spat Trump and Clinton engaged in that began with Trump tweeting, “Crooked Hillary Clinton will be a disaster on jobs, the economy, trade, healthcare, the military, guns and just about all else. Obama plus!” Clinton later replied, “Delete your account.”
The tweets aren’t objectively useful in verifying or refuting Lewandowski’s statement on Trump whereabouts that day. So why would PolitiFact dedicate a sizable portion of the fact-check to discuss unrelated tweets?
When self-dubbed fact checkers begin to veer away from the relevant facts of a case, they become indistinguishable from opinion columnists. The information appears to be more about scoring points than about concluding on incontrovertible truth. It is unclear what Trump’s tweets had to do with the fact-check or what benefit they serve the reader.
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