Newsrooms need to keep their hard news reporting and commentary separated. People distrust this industry enough as is without the latter bleeding more into the former.
So let's cool it with the snarky on-air fact checks during news programming hours. Save that stuff for the opinion shows.
We're looking at you, MSNBC and CNN.
This trend started around June 2016 after President Trump denied suggesting Japan should have nuclear weapons.
CNN ran an on-air headline soon after that read, "Trump: I never said Japan should have nukes (he did)."
Later, after Eric Trump claimed his father had apologized to a Gold Star family, CNN ran this headline: "Trump's son: Father apologized to Khans (he hasn't)."
MSNBC got in on the fun later with a chyron that read, "Trump says he watched (nonexistent) video of Iran receiving cash."
CNN continued the thread not long after with a headline reading, "Trump calls Obama founder of ISIS (he's not)."
On Monday, MSNBC scored a twofer:
First, "Trump lawyer: Secret service ‘allowed these people in' to meeting (secret service: We didn't).'"
And then it ran this needlessly antagonistic chyron Monday as Trump touted his "Made in America" initiative: "Trump: Made in America ‘means the best' (his family's products are mostly made overseas)."
The recent trend towards issuing snide on-air fact-checks is annoying for the reason that it's 100 percent selectively applied to President Trump and his team. It'd be one thing if MSNBC and CNN did this across the board for all obvious lies, but the fact that they started doing it for Trump does nothing to help the press get away from the characterization that it's in the tank for a very particular political party.
Yes, Trump tells a great many obvious falsehoods. Yes, Trump's brand of lying is extremely easy to fact-check.
However, it's annoying that CNN and MSNBC are applying this standard now after they let lies like "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it" slide for years without so much as a raised eyebrow.
Did these networks just now discover that people in the nation's capital tell lies? Did they not run these live fact-checks for previous administrations because they felt the lies were too sophisticated for correction? If it's something along those lines, how embarrassing. Because nothing says fearless truth-tellers like an organization that runs fact-checks only when it's extremely easy and requires minimum effort.
It has to be all or nothing here. CNN and MSNBC either have to start up the snarky chyrons for all lies, or they don't do it at all.
Applying this standard only to Trump and his team may feel good, and it may score points with certain demographics, but it does nothing to help the press get away from accusations that it's a partisan entity.
Let's not prove the criticism accurate, OK?