During Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate, the various reporters at The New York Times assembled to fact-check the various candidates and it did go well as they attacked them everything from “Joe Biden hides in his basement” to Iran to energy to transgenderism.
On former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s claim that “Joe Biden hides in his basement,” White House correspondent Michael Shear got hyper-literal, “this is false.”
Of course, Christie was speaking metaphorically about how Biden dodges accountability for things like the national debt. Christie also accused Donald Trump of hiding behind his golf clubs, but since that was obviously metaphorical and an attack on Trump, Shear left it alone. While Shear did not take sides in a Republican-on-Republican dispute he did take sides on the Republican-on-Democrat one:
Republicans repeatedly use this phrase as a way of suggesting that President Biden is afraid of being in public. It is a snarky reference to some campaigning that he did from his Delaware home during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. In fact, Mr. Biden travels frequently around the country and around the world. This year, he has traveled to Ukraine, Poland, Mexico, Germany, Canada, Ireland, Britain, Japan, Lithuania, Finland, India and Vietnam.
Shear also rode to Biden’s defense when North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum accused him of setting “a price on anyone’s head who’s a tourist from America. Who’s a student from America, for kidnapping” by paying $6 billion to Iran. Shear gave this claim the dreaded “this requires context.”
Burgum’s claim is a policy opinion that handing over money to Iran encourages more hostage taking. That the money was “in Iran’s oil revenues that were sitting, unusable, in South Korean banks” doesn’t matter because if Burgum’s opinion is correct it would require the release of more sanctioned money in the future without any change in Tehran’s behavior.
Climate reporter Lisa Friedman objected to former Vice President Mike Pence’s assertion that “on Day 1, Joe Biden declared a war on energy.”
Labeling the claim “misleading,” Friedman writes, in part, “The Energy Information Administration estimates that, this year, domestic oil production will surpass its record high, set under the Trump administration, and continue to climb into 2024. Natural gas production, which reached a record high in 2021, is also expected to continue to grow this year. The statement also ignores the extensive investments the Biden administration has made in renewable energy.”
Speaking of ignoring things, Friedman omits that Biden recently squashed oil and gas leases in Alaska.
Sex, gender, and science reporter– a left-wing beat if ever there was one– Azeen Gharoyshi tied herself in knots while seeking to rebut Vivek Ramaswamy’s claim that “transgenderism, especially in kids, is a mental health disorder.”
Gharoyshi wrote, “Being transgender is not a mental health disorder. Many transgender people experience gender dysphoria, or psychological distress as a result of the incongruence between their sex and their gender identity. Gender dysphoria is a diagnosis in the psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and can be given to children, adolescents or adults.”
National correspondent Dana Goldstein also defended Vice President Kamala Harris against attacks from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis when he labeled her depiction of Florida’s history standards on slavery a “hoax,” but DeSantis was almost certainly referring to the idea that Harris was portraying the curriculum as pro-slavery, not whether specific words were literally mentioned in the standards.
With reporters like these Joe Biden just might decide to stay in his basement and have the New York Times stand in for him during next year’s debates.