One of the favorite pastimes of news media since the election of Donald Trump has been to roll out the fact checkers every time he gives a public statement or speech on anything that might be of relevance. This newfound appreciation for incessant fact checking only seems to go one way-- a notion that was on full on full display during MSNBC's Morning Joe on Wednesday as the hosts reacted to Tuesday night's State of the Union Address.
While many politicians often speak in hyperbole and even misstate facts, co-host Mika Brzezinski singled out Donald Trump as a unique kind of liar. Brzezinski questioned, "How can anyone see this as a good speech?" She denounced Trump for allegedly "spewing out lies," declaring: "His data is wrong. His concepts are based on incorrect facts."
The fact that an instant CBS News poll found 76% of viewers approved of the speech and 72% approved of his immigration plans notwithstanding, Brzezinski also accused Trump of using World War II veterans to cover for his "angry, racist platform." CNN also found that 76% of viewers had a positive reaction to the speech.
As proof that obsessive fact checking only goes one direction, Morning Joe brought on former Missouri Democratic Senator and MSNBC political analyst Claire McCaskill to talk about failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams' official Democratic response.
McCaskill praised Abrams' tone, hailing her as "optimistic" and "inspirational" in the way she took "the liar-in-chief" to task. PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor highlighted the historic occasion of an African-American woman giving a response before asking McCaskill what the Democrats were trying to say by choosing someone who does not currently hold elected office. McCaskill hypothesized that Democrats were preparing her to run against David Perdue in the 2020 Senate election in Georgia.
Abrams is best known for decrying supposed voter suppression and racism that allegedly cost her the 2018 election against Republican Brian Kemp. When she finaly admitted she would not win, she also famously insisted that she would not concede. If Trump had refused to accept the results of the election, the media would have had a meltdown. When a Democrat does it, they get invited by their party to give the official response to the State of the Union and are praised by the media as up-and-coming political stars.
Here is a transcript for the February 6 show:
6:16 AM ET MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I was saying it off the air, I will say it on the air. How can anyone see this as a good speech? How can anyone see this as unifying when he is spewing out lies to the American people? Lying. His data is wrong. His concepts are based on incorrect facts. This is an angry, racist platform that has been surrounded by sweet stories and World War II veterans. Of course, you know, we all hate childhood cancer. Of course, he can smatter it with great stories that his staff helped put in there, but the bottom line is his platform is based on hate and lies, bottom line.
6:31 AM ET
CLAIRE MCCASKILL: I thought she was terrific. I loved the tone. She was tough but optimistic. I thought she was inspirational. I thought she really -- kind of really -- the most important line I thought she delivered was when she really took him to task for not telling the truth. This is the problem this President has. He has now lied so often, he lies like other people brush their teeth. It's very hard for people who are not big Trump loyalists to take him seriously about almost anything. I thought she was very effective at the way she kind of framed the issue of the President being the liar-in-chief.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: I want to ask a question about Stacey Abrams’ response. She's the first African-American woman to deliver that response but she’s also someone not holding political office what think Democrats are trying to say by having someone who isn't holding political office deliver this response?
BRZEZINSKI: Did they say it?
MCCASKILL: I think they're saying run, Stacey, run, for the Senate in 2020. I think my former colleagues in the Senate are very excited about the idea of her being a candidate against David Perdue in Georgia in 2020. And I think first of all, she's a remarkable communicator. She's incredibly smart and tough. She's the kind of candidate all of us want to see running in the Democratic Party. I think this was a way of saying to Stacey, we want to elevate you to the national stage because we'd love to welcome you into the United States Senate.