The Biden administration is taking fact checks to heart, at least some of the time


NCS reporter and resident fact-checker Daniel Dale has seen one thing very fascinating about President Biden’s relationship with fact checks.

When confirmed incorrect, Biden really course-corrects.

At least in some circumstances, the Biden White House has been responsive to fact-checking. “There are some false or misleading that claims that Biden has repeated without correction,” Dale mentioned, “but I’ve counted at least two cases in which he or his team said something wrong; I’ve fact-checked it as false, others fact-checked it as false; and they never said it again. They significantly amended their language.”

This is a concrete instance of a post-Trump return to normality.

“One hallmark of Trump’s dishonesty is that if he thinks a false or incorrect claim is a winner, he will repeat it constantly, no matter how often it has been proven wrong,” The Washington Post’s fact-checking workers, led by Glenn Kessler, wrote in the 2020 guide “Donald Trump and His Assault on Truth.”

“Many politicians are embarrassed to receive a Four-Pinocchio rating; often, they will drop or refine the offending talking point,” the authors wrote. “Some even apologize for their departure from the truth. Trump digs in and doubles down.”

Biden does the reverse, at least in a pair of extremely publicized circumstances. Here’s what Dale said on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” telecast: “One notable example is, they rolled out their infrastructure plan by saying ‘This will create 19 million jobs.’ Biden himself used a slightly more correct formulation but it was still pretty misleading. And then when I said ‘look, this is false, this is misleading,’ they never used that 19 million figure again. In fact, it’s closer to 2.7 million jobs.”

“I’m not saying let’s all congratulate them for fixing their false claim,” Dale added, “but it’s much better and it’s much different than what we saw in the Trump era, when you might see the president repeat the same false claim literally 100 times.”

>> Read more from Dale about the relative honesty of Biden’s first 100 days in this NCS.com story…

It “warms our hearts” when…

Fact-checkers sometimes say they’re working for the public, not politicians. “Regular readers know we don’t write fact checks to change the behavior of politicians,” Kessler wrote last month. “Still, we’ll admit it always warms our hearts when a politician drops a talking point or admits error in response to a fact check.” He has referred to as out some Biden claims “that appear impervious to fact-checking,” however like Dale, he has seen Biden course-correct in different circumstances. After Kessler identified a “messed-up calculation of war deaths,” Biden now not made the comparability…

FOR THE RECORD

— Where we’re: Weaponized lies echo by right-wing media and find yourself as coverage… (Twitter)
— Jake Tapper on “SOTU:” “It’s my opinion that the United States needs a healthy, thriving, fact-based Republican Party. It is difficult to look at these events, all of them just from the last week, and conclude that we have one…” (NCS)
— Sad however true: “For Republicans, fealty to Trump’s election falsehood becomes defining loyalty test,” Ashley Parker and Marianna Sotomayor report… (WaPo)
— Nicole Hemmer on “Reliable,” speaking about including key context to fact-checks: “Rather than just saying ‘No, Joe Biden isn’t coming for your hamburgers,’ we can talk about the role that lies play as a rhetorical and a political strategy for trying to discredit the Biden admin…” (NCS)
Quick plug: Later this month, I’ll be talking at PolitiFact’s “festival of fact-checking…” (PolitiFact)

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