It is a good question, raised once again in an article in Investors Business Daily about the Paul Ryan claim regarding the now shuttered GM Plant in Janesvile, WI and the Candidate Obama. This is a rather long extract from the article, but I am lifting it from Law Professor Glenn Reynolds (the InstaPundit) so I am expecting it is fair use:
If media “fact checkers” are just impartial guardians of the truth, how come they got their own facts wrong about Paul Ryan’s speech, and did so in a way that helped President Obama’s re-election effort?When people lose faith in institutions they look elsewhere, or double down. The third option is to just wander aimlessly. The reason Fox News does as well as it does is not because it is so good, but because the public, or a patch of the public, has rejected the Main Stream Media, including The Old Gray Lady, as perveyors of the truth.♥
Case in point was the rush of “fact check” stories claiming Ryan misled when he talked about a shuttered auto plant in his home state.
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler posted a piece — “Ryan misleads on GM plant closing in hometown” — saying Ryan “appeared to suggest” that Obama was responsible for the closure of a GM plant in Janesville, Wis.
“That’s not true,” Kessler said. “The plant was closed in December 2008, before Obama was sworn in.”
What’s not true are Kessler’s “facts.” Ryan didn’t suggest Obama was responsible for shuttering the plant. Instead, he correctly noted that Obama promised during the campaign that the troubled plant “will be here for another hundred years” if his policies were enacted.
Also, the plant didn’t close in December 2008. It was still producing cars [trucks?] until April 2009.
An AP “fact check” also claimed that “the plant halted production in December 2008″ even though the AP itself reported in April 2009 that the plant was only then “closing for good.”
CNN’s John King made the same claim about that plant closure. But when CNN looked more carefully at the evidence, it — to its credit — concluded that what Ryan said was “true.”
Regards — Cliff
♠ The Wikipedia article tells us that some question the authenticity of the quote and then notes that it is about ensuring the faithfulness of one's wife.
♥ That leads us back to the time when Pontius was a Pilatus, and asked Quid est veritas? (John 18:38).