CNN Commentator: Assume Trump Always Lying, 'Fact-Check Him Backwards'

August 26th, 2018 3:05 PM

In a segment titled “So many lies, So little time” on his Sunday show Reliable Sources, CNN's Brian Stelter complained about the hardship of fact-checking every one of President Trump's statements: “Should there be a bug in the corner of the screen that says, ‘Warning, the president's probably misleading you again’?” A panelist later offered another imaginative suggestion: to assume that everything the president said was false, and “fact-check him backwards.”  

The segment commenced with a lengthy Stelter monologue, in which the CNN host spent a solid four minutes exploring various new and creative ways to restate that the president was a frequent liar. “By now we all know Trump lies in tweets, he spreads false information at rallies, and he spins and misleads when he sits down for friendly interviews on Fox and Friends,” Stelter rattled off. 

Other notable permutations of this phrasing included:

He says so many things that are bogus...

He tells us all these lies, he spreads all these falsehoods...

He’s done nothing to earn your trust and everything to squander it...

The president is constantly lying and spreading conspiracy theories every day...

The second half of the segment featured of a panel of leftwing journalists discussing Stelter’s question: “Is it time for newsrooms to think of new ways to convey Trump’s lack of credibility?” 

CNN political analyst Carl Bernstein warned against “the business of every minute that the president lies, proclaiming, ‘Liar, liar, pants on fire.” Meanwhile, Washington Post reporter Margaret Sullivan supplied the obligatory hand-wringing over Trump’s attacks on the press. “He has made an enemy out of the press,” she complained.



However, final panelist to speak was Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik, who largely stepped over Bernstein’s call for measured reporting on the president:  “I’m done with it. I’m done being talmudic about ‘Is it a lie, what’s his intent?’” Raising his voice, Zurawik continued: 

Who could know intent with this man? He lies every minute! He changes his story second to second. We should just say, "He’s lying, folks," — start from that premise. He’s a liar, okay? If you can prove he’s not telling a lie, great. We should fact-check him backwards maybe, see if anything he’s telling us is true.

Stelter quickly ended the segment there, perhaps worried that Zurawik might have more helpful suggestions on deck.