PolitiFact Laments Biden Now Has His Own 'Very Fine People' Misquote

June 17th, 2020 2:10 PM

On Tuesday, PolitiFact demonstrated that Joe Biden now has his own “very fine people” misquotation. Samantha Putterman tagged as “False” a Facebook post claiming Biden said “Antifa are courageous Americans.” That’s not what Biden said.

In an early campaign ad in April 2019, he spoke generically about "courageous" people who stood up to white nationalists during the 2017 Charlottesville rallies.

BIDEN in ad:  It was there in August of 2017 we saw Klansmen and white supremacists and neo-Nazis come out in the open. Their crazed faces, illuminated by torches, veins bulging and bearings the fangs of racism. Chanting the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the Thirties. 

And they were met by a courageous group of Americans. And a violent clash ensued. And a brave young woman lost her life. And that’s when we heard the words of the president of the United States that stunned the world and shocked the conscience of this nation. He said there were quote, ‘some very fine people on both sides.’ Very fine people on both sides? With those words, the President of the United States assigned moral equivalence with those spreading hate, and those with the courage to stand against it. 

So PolitiFact is right. The quote is false.

But in this same passage, Biden is misquoting Trump on the “very fine people” quote! In April of 2019, did PolitiFact flag THAT as “False” as it was viewed all over Facebook? No. They didn’t. And neither did Putterman in their new "fact check." In fact, the day after Biden released this ad, PolitiFact editor Angie Drobnan Holic penned one of those sneaky "In Context" posts that negotiate around assigning a Democrat a ranking on their "Truth-o-Meter." The full Trump transcript shows Biden is False, but no ruling or measurement was made.

If anything, Trump's Charlottesville statements were more explicit, since he was being challenged by hostile reporters, so he explained what he meant by who were "very fine people" and explicitly rejected the fascists, while the Biden commercial blurred positively everyone who opposed the "crazed" racists as a "courageous group." He didn't single out Antifa as "courageous," but no reporters covering the Biden campaign pressed him to reject Antifa.

Pay attention in this cycle to how PolitiFact skips a "Truth-o-Meter" ruling (or seven, or eight, or 26) on Biden, and then see if Democrats suggest (as they did with Hillary in 2016) that Biden is far more "honest" than Trump just by using the "Truth-o-Meter" numbers.