Shock: Snopes Factchecks MSM's Fake News
The conventional thing for media fact-checkers to do these days is to focus on President Trump's myriad gaffes, goofs, misstatements, jokes, exaggerations, etc. -- and to characterize them all as intentional lies. The non-conventional and wholly unexpected thing for a media fact-checker to do is to focus on the media's own dishonesty.
But that is just what the fact-checking website Snopes did in a recent post, "The Lies of Donald Trump’s Critics, and How They Shape His Many Personas," by Dan MacGuill.
Conservatives have long accused Snopes of having a left-wing bias when it comes to fact-checking political stories -- so this comes as a very welcome surprise.
This article is intended as a neutral, reliable analysis of the lies, false allegations and misleading claims made about and against Donald Trump since his inauguration in January 2017. We’ve attempted to strip away the hyperbole, name-calling and generalizations, and examine the patterns and trends at work: what characterizes these lies and exaggerations, the effect they have, what might explain them.
We pay particular attention to selected examples — claims that have gained prominence among the mainstream opposition to Trump, revealing much about the methods, priorities, and tone of that opposition, and illustrating how this movement both cultivates and plays off a number of caricatures of the 45th President and at times falls prey to a handful of identifiable and repeated errors of thought.
This is nothing new. Supporters and opponents of every high-profile politician in American history have done exactly the same, but in the current cultural atmosphere, where “the truth” is universally, even manically, exalted as an abstract concept but then widely degraded in practice, it’s essential to confront, correct, and analyze patterns of falsehoods like these.
This is not an exhaustive list. For that, and a litany of fact checks of claims made by the President, you can browse the Snope archive on him.
The focus here is on attacks against Trump. So for the purpose of this article, we’re not interested in false claims that are intended to reflect favorably on him. Nor does this analysis address claims made against his family members, of which there have been many. It’s also limited to the period following the inauguration on 20 January. This analysis was primarily based on an in-depth search of our own archives.
MacGuill says that the media's falsehoods about President Trump are drawn from what they perceive to be the "four public personas" of the president.
- Donald Trump: International Embarrassment
- Trump the Tyrant
- Donald Trump: Bully baby
- Trump the Buffoon.
Some of these claims are downright fake, entirely fabricated by unreliable or dubious web sites and presented as satire, or otherwise blatantly false. But the rest — some of which have gained significant traction and credibility from otherwise serious people and organizations — provide a fascinating insight into the tactics and preoccupations of the broad anti-Trump movement known as “the Resistance,” whether they were created by critics of the President or merely shared by them.
Generally speaking, we discovered that they are characterized and driven by four types of errors of thought: