During Sunday’s presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, both candidates threw insults and accusations at one another in one of the most heated presidential debates in recent history. As expected, media sources were checking the validity of these accusations.
But at least one mainstream media source decided to only check on one candidate’s claims.
According to The Daily Caller, NBC News conducted “live ‘fact checks’ during the debate, but they only seemed to be checking one candidate: Donald Trump. Unsurprisingly, the NBC News team declared every one of Trump’s statements they ‘fact-checked’ to be false.”
Some of the things they fact checked were downright absurd. For example, they focused on Trump’s use of the term “acid washed” in reference to Hillary Clinton’s deletion of 33,000 emails from her personal server. NBC News said that an app called “BleachBit” was actually used. It was evident for everyone watching the debate that Trump was using the words “acid washed” as a form of speech and not a proper noun naming the app that was used. He later said that she “bleached” server.
Trump also called Hillary out for laughing after getting charges dropped on a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl. NBC says he was wrong on that one because the rapist took a plea deal after prosecution mishandled evidence in the case.
The Daily Caller quotes Clinton as saying, “I had him take a polygraph, which he passed – which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs.”
To an attorney, this makes a difference. To the average voter, her laughter implies that she clearly thought that her client was guilty and didn’t have a problem with that.
Fact checking like that done by NBC News is at best reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s questions about the definition of the word is. It is important to fact check our candidates. This helps voters distinguish between truth and lies, right and wrong, and knowledgeable and ignorant. But that fact checking must be fair. It must relate to facts that have an impact on the election and issues that are important to voters. And it most definitely should be balanced across all candidates.