Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been taking some punches by activist media for “bullying” a group of young men by explaining to them that they don’t need to wear masks that are useless just to virtue signal mask compliance, and saying that people need to cut it out with the ridiculous “Covid theater” that is unscientific mask wearing because it’s “not doing anything.”
So I guess Reyes thought he’d “fact check” the Governor’s informed and scientifically supported opinion that wearing masks is political theater, an opinion which Reyes labeled as “false.” Not “mostly false,” not “missing context,” not “partly false.” Straight up “false.”
And in so doing, Reyes showed the entire country exactly how little “fact checkers” cares about actual facts. The literal facts that he’s supposedly “checking.” Those facts. He doesn’t care about them. Here’s how we know.
In his article, Reyes says that Governor DeSantis “mischaracterizes the efficacy of face masks.”
Please read the rest for yourself. Then ask yourself a single question:
My answer is “No and hell no!” What’s yours?
Fact-checkers are almost unanimously on the political Left. They don’t exist to promote factual accuracy, but to buttress the Left’s preferred narratives. The cited article nicely demonstrates the currently dominant technique.
What Reyes does in the above — and I have no doubt that other “fact checkers” will emulate him, if they aren’t doing so already — is a version of the politicians’ game of “running out the clock.” It’s a simple technique founded on an old bit of wisdom that applies to nearly everyone: Talk too long and my eyes will glaze over. For politicians, it’s an oral method for deflecting a question to which they prefer not to give a candid answer. Barack Obama became famous for it. He never gave a brief, concise answer to an interviewer’s questions. His interview by Bret Baier is a classic study in oral obfuscation.
The “fact-checkers’” technique is much the same. Here we have a statement by a conservative politician that undermines an important Leftist position, and which is based on verifiable facts. To the keyboard! There’s no time to lose!
- Assemble a huge article largely from Leftists’ statements;
- Put a scathing denunciation of the speaker at the front of the article;
- “Refute” the facts with contrary statements of opinion from reliably Leftist sources;
- Grudgingly admit that the speaker’s assertions of fact are accurate near the end of the article;
- Trust to readers’ laziness: the admission will never be noticed!
Neat, eh what? “Too Long; Didn’t Read” is a marvelous shield for one’s admission that “Yes, what he said was true, but our side doesn’t like it!” It even bags me on occasion, especially if the article is sufficiently vicious up front and boring thereafter.
Don’t think this sort of tactic is reserved to left-wing websites. The major media organs use it, too. Hearken back to those dark days of 2004, when President Bush was running for a second term against the odious John Kerry. Remember the bogus Texas Air National Guard memo that was supposed to blacken Dubya’s reputation and cost him the election? Remember Dan Rather’s fall from grace? Remember “The facts were wrong but the narrative was right” — ? Remember the neologism “truthiness” – i.e., the construction of a believable narrative that favors the Left – as a supposedly superior version of actual truth?
Before I started looking into such practices, I’d thought I’d already reached maximum contempt for these people. I thought I’d “pinned the meter.” I was wrong.
Examples of this sort of verbal chicanery have multiplied so greatly that these past few years that I propose that when a man styles himself a “fact-checker,” he has given you an unambiguous reason not to believe him. There may be exceptions, but I wouldn’t bet the mortgage money on any of them. I’d rather trust a Three-Card Monte hustler. Your mileage may vary.