Monday's Wall Street Journal carried a piece by Gordon Crovitz that nicely detailed how the new breed of journalist "fact checkers" are really journalists comment on matters of opinion, not fact, under the guise of factual reporting. Crovitz gave his own examples, but none as precious as this piece from the Washington Post. In total, this piece gives cover to President Obama on an issue on which he is very vulnerable: voting against, repeatedly, "born alive infant protection" legislation, which he clearly did.
You can read for yourself how they divine that a born alive baby wasn't discarded. What's really interesting is where they protect President Obama on the above mentioned votes. Many have criticized Obama for this, but they focus in on the comments of Mike Huckabee on the issue:
Huckabee said Obama “believes that human life is disposable and expendable … even beyond the womb.” But this is a mischaracterization of the president’s stance on the Born-Alive Infants Protection legislation in Illinois.
Granted, we don’t know why Obama voted against the 2003 bill that included a clause to protect abortion rights. The measure never made it out of committee, and comments from the meetings are not recorded. Nonetheless, we find it hard to fathom that the former senator expressed a belief that human life is disposable outside the womb.
Huckabee earns Three Pinocchios for his twisted interpretation of Obama’s no votes.
This is stunning. In one paragraph they call Huckabee's words a mischaracterization. In the next they concede they don't know Obama's motive for voting against the bill, but "find it hard to fathom that the former senator expressed a belief that human life is disposable outside the womb. But they admit in the same breath they DON'T KNOW. In other words they simply don't want to believe it.
This is precisely what Crovitz was talking about. This is a subjective debate piece about Obama's position on this issue, not a re-checking of indisputable facts. Quite frankly, this is what I do on the radio, but label it as opinion. The Washington Post is trying to arguing a position in the same subjective, opinion-based way that I do, and claim it's factual reporting, or "fact-checking."
If I say the sun is 50 million miles from the Earth and I'm corrected by the WaPo (it's 93 milliion miles) that's a fact-check. Calling someone a liar because you don't want to believe what they're saying about the President, is shameful.