Most 'Fact Checkers' Act Shifty Around Schiff's Lying and Fakery About Ukraine-Gate

October 3rd, 2019 9:03 AM

Congressman Adam Schiff was caught in a lie by The New York Times on Wednesday, although they didn’t make that point. The newspaper reported the whistleblower contacted Schiff’s committee and discussed his complaint in vague terms, and those terms were passed along to Schiff.

But on Morning Joe on September 17, Schiff said “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to, but I’m sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised as the law requires by the inspector general or the director of national intelligence just as to how he is to communicate with Congress.” The Times story doesn’t include this nugget.

Will the “fact checkers” notice?

It’s late enough that we can report several “independent fact-checkers” never found a need to evaluate Schiff’s false and cartoonish summary of Trump’s phone conversation with the Ukrainian president: "And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of dirt, on this and on that.”

Kudos to, which did it. And to CNN fact checker Daniel Dale, who also did it. 

AP Fact Check, which almost exclusively thumps Trump, had no Schiff item, but did find space for "Trump’s fiction about whistleblower complaint."

The Washington Post Fact Checker had nothing on Schiff...but they've published six "fact checks" on Team Trump's claims about Biden and Ukraine since September 23 (four of them were rated "Four Pinocchios," the Post's Pants on Fire rating.) didn't find it, but they did scratch their usual itch and defend Rep. Ilhan Omar against a satire site called Taters Gonna Tate. 

PolitiFact had no Schiff rating on the "Truth-o-Meter," but it's worse than that. PolitiFact was founded in 2007 and Schiff was elected to Congress in 2000, but as of today, PolitiFact has exactly ONE evaluation of Schiff over the last 12 years, from 2017. Naturally, it's a "True." 

Elizabeth Warren was elected to the Senate in 2012, and has never been found "False." PolitiFact negotiated around her Fake Cherokee News by writing about her fakery without any pesky "Truth-o-Meter."

And that's what they did with Schiff. Louis Jacobson wrote up a Trump-bashing article on October 1 headlined "Adam Schiff's retelling of Donald Trump's Ukraine phone call isn't treason." Jacobson quotes Schiff's phony summary of Trump's phone call, and then trashes the president. 

Jacobson made no real acknowledgment that Schiff's take was false: 

Trump has blasted Schiff for allegedly twisting his words, targeting him in several recent tweets....

Later in the hearing, when Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, pointed out that what Schiff said did not match the readout of the call, Schiff said his summary was "meant to be at least part in parody."

Experts agreed that nothing Schiff has said or done constitutes treason....

Indeed, even if Trump was right about everything that Schiff did — if he had fabricated Trump’s words and presented them to Congress — it wouldn’t qualify as treason.

PolitiFact's only defense is to say they're Trump-focused, not Congress-focused. There are 80 "fact checks" on President Trump in the first nine months of 2019. But so far in 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have zero “fact checks.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has one Mostly False, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has one False.

For more coverage of so-called "fact-checkers" see our Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers page