by Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Brian Flood
"All inaccuracy matters"?
CNN’s “Facts First” mantra doesn’t seem to apply equally to everyone.CNN in-house fact-checker Daniel Dale is quick to point out inaccuracies made by President Trump, but he has virtually ignored the inaccuracies of the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden despite his previous vow to fact-check 2020 candidates on both sides of the aisle.
Dale, who appeared frequently on CNN as the Toronto Star's Washington bureau chief before officially being hired by the liberal network in 2019, has become a favorite among CNN's anchors to refute claims Trump made at the latest press briefing or campaign rally. Dale also writes lengthy fact-checking articles for CNN's website that have been focused almost exclusively on Trump.
Back in early March, Dale suggested to CNN media critic Brian Stelter that he would treat the eventual Democratic nominee the same way he treats Trump when a "real" candidate emerged in the Democratic Primary.
"All inaccuracy matters," Dale told the low-rated pundit after fact-checking a rally speech from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., "Ideally, all politicians would be at zero inaccurate claims per speech."
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"It struck me while doing this checking how different this was than fact-checking a Trump speech. For one, Trump averages 21 false claims per rally by my count and many of those are egregious, total fabrications. He's making stuff up," Dale said. "Sanders' dishonesty, from the extent we had it, was traditional spin. He was stretching a little bit... it's just no comparison between Trump and anyone in the Democratic field."
"And do you intend to keep doing this for the Democrats all season long?" Stelter asked.
"Absolutely," Dale responded. "Especially once when we have a real Democratic nominee. I plan to count their false claims just as we count Trump's because it matters for both sides."
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While Dale has done plenty of counting of Trump's false claims, it appears few have been tallied for the former vice president since he became the Democratic frontrunner after Super Tuesday.
Since Super Tuesday, Dale has written roughly 30 fact-check reports on President Trump. Meanwhile, Biden was only scrutinized once by the CNN reporter, and it came after the network's March 16 debate where both he and Sanders were fact-checked for their entire debate performances.
Dale wrote 38 pieces fact-checking Trump from Jan. 18 through April 10, and only one for Biden over the same time period. A different CNN reporter, Holmes Lybrand, also did one fact check on Biden’s comments about gun control on March 21.
The last time Dale himself fact-checked Biden individually was on Jan. 6 when the former lawmaker repeated his debunked claim that he opposed the Iraq War while in the Senate.
Meanwhile, other fact-checkers have been busy with Biden.
Biden earned "three Pinocchios" from the Washington Post, was knocked by FactCheck.org, and given a "Mostly False" from Politifact over his claim that the Trump administration made "no effort" to send medical experts to China as the coronavirus outbreak began to grow.
Biden's campaign also earned "four Pinocchios" from the Post for claiming that Trump had "silenced" top officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Post determined that they falsely "manipulated" Trump's rhetoric as if he had referred to the coronavirus as a "hoax."
CNN and Dale did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Brian Flood
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