CNN Found Everything True at Its Dem Town Hall; Unlike Last GOP Debate Full of 'False' Notes

CNN’s kid-glove treatment of the Democratic presidential candidates at Monday night’s “town hall” didn’t stop when the event ended. The CNN “Reality Check” team went about doing a fact scrub, and proclaimed that every claim they investigated was true. Six were rated “True,” and two were “Mostly True.”

This is not the way the CNN “Reality Check” team handled the last GOP presidential debate on January 14 (which aired on Fox Business). Three claims were rated “True,” one was “Mostly True,” and two ere “True, but misleading.” Eight were “False.”

This is the count after one “False” for Trump (about Cruz birtherism) was converted to “True.” One was just dismissed as “It’s complicated.”

So let’s be blunt and assess that a “True, but misleading” is still a negative rating for candidates. Democrat ratings were 100 percent positive. Republican ratings were 66 percent negative. On CNN's air shortly after their Iowa event, reporter Jim Sciutto touted up all the Truths:

Now no one is suggesting that fact-checkers should always find a tidy 50-50 when tallying up the facts. But CNN’s slant certainly suggests to their Republican consumers that they start any event expecting the Democrats have truth on their side, and the Republicans tend to be fact-manglers.

Here’s a rundown of the uniformly happy CNN ratings for the Democrats:

– Sen. Bernie Sanders said, "The United States today is the only major country on earth that doesn't guarantee health care to all people as a right."  True.

– Sanders talked about his athletic skills, describing himself as a "good athlete" though "not great."  True.

– Sanders promises to battle income inequality, which he says is greater now than in any year since 1928. True.

– During a discussion on the economy, Sanders said he wants to raise women's wages. He declared that female workers earn 79 cents on the dollar compared to men. Mostly true (they said 83 cents).

– Sanders said, "I would remind you, and remind the viewers, that in 2002, when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney said we should go to war in Iraq, Bernie Sanders listened very carefully and I said, 'No. I think that war is a dumb idea.' I helped lead the opposition to that war.” Mostly true.

– Martin O’Malley said, "By the end of my time as governor, we had driven down violent crime to a 30-year low and we had also driven down our incarceration rate to a 20-year low." True.

– Hillary Clinton pointed to the economic record of her husband, Bill Clinton, noting that "what was most important is incomes grew for everybody -- not just those at the top. More people were lifted out of poverty, incomes rose in the middle and (for) working people." True.

– Clinton claimed she led efforts to enact new sanctions on the regime during her tenure as the nation's top diplomat. True.

And here are the Republican assessments, in order:

-- Jeb Bush said, "As it relates to Iran, we need to confront ambitions across the board, reimpose sanctions. They already violated sanctions after the agreement was signed by testing medium-range missiles." True.

-- Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida claimed that Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas flipped on his support for ethanol. False.

-- Rubio said that Obamacare is "a certified job killer." False.

-- Sen. Marco Rubio took a swipe at Chris Christie when he said the New Jersey governor backed President Barack Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court in 2009. Christie hastily denied the accusation. Rubio is True, Christie is False.

-- Rubio also accused Christie of donating to Planned Parenthood. Official verdict: “It’s complicated,” CNN ruled “It's true that Christie once said he donated to Planned Parenthood, and Rubio and his allies are holding that article up as proof. But Christie claims the quote was inaccurate.” Well, then, maybe you leave it out of the True-or-False article.

-- Donald Trump said the terrorist attacks in Paris last year happened despite the city having "the strictest no-gun policy of any city anywhere in the world." False.

-- In defending his questioning of Sen. Ted Cruz's eligibility for the presidency, Donald Trump cited Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, who Trump claimed is raising "a serious question to whether or not Ted can do this." True – but CNN originally picked False, and was talked out of it by Tribe’s post-debate remarks about an anti-Cruz lawsuit.

-- Ted Cruz said, "President Obama is preparing to send $100 billion or more to the Ayatollah Khomeini.” False. This one’s a little funny, since Cruz didn’t say “Ayatollah Khomeini,” who died in 1989. He said “Ayatollah Khamenei.” Tough luck for the “fact checkers.”

-- Asked whether America's economy is as strong as President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address, Ted Cruz said, "We have the lowest percentage of Americans working today of any year since 1977." False.

-- During a discussion of gun laws in the wake of recent mass shootings, Cruz claimed, "Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said if she could say to Mr. America and Mrs. America give me your guns, I'm rounding them up, she would." True, but misleading. “Feinstein did say something to that effect -- 21 years ago. And she was referring specifically to assault rifles, not all firearms.”

-- Cruz, explaining his attack on Donald Trump's "New York values," asserted there are "not a lot of conservatives coming out of Manhattan." Mostly true. (Mostly?? How lame.)

-- During the Fox Business Network undercard debate, Carly Fiorina claimed that "this (Obama) administration has told us they don't even bother to check Facebook or Twitter to find out who's pledging allegiance to jihadists. False.

-- "We have record numbers of men out of work, we have record numbers of women living in poverty, we have young people who no longer believe that that the American Dream applies to them," Fiorina said. True, but misleading.

-- Regarding Iran's brief detention of U.S. Navy sailors, Fiorina said, "The President wouldn't even mention the fact that Iran had taken two Navy boats and our sailors -- hostage. He didn't mention the fact that they violated the Geneva Conventions." False.

-- Rick Santorum said that President Barack Obama's policies have hurt the manufacturing sector, creating dwindling employment opportunities for the "74% of Americans who don't have a college degree between the age of 25 and 65." False.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis