Ted Cruz Says Accurately Quoting Him is Yellow Journalism

Ted Cruz has a fact problem. It goes like this:

  1. Ted Cruz says something crazy-sounding;
  2. His words get accurately reported, complete with video;
  3. Ted Cruz gets a justifiable reputation for being a “wild-eyed lunatic”;
  4. He says it is the “liberal media’s” fault.

Reality is not Ted Cruz’s friend.

Now you would think it would be obvious that the problem is with what Cruz is saying, since the media – to the extent they bother to actually report it at all – is only accurately reporting it.

But the Cuban Anarchist says liberals use “yellow journalism called PolitiFact.” As though PolitiFact were a branch of the DNC and not a creation of the Tampa Bay Times.

CNBC’s John Harwood sat down with Cruz and told him that “You’ve said a few things that don’t necessarily comport with the facts,” for example, Cruz’s claim that Obamacare would kill jobs, or that there are “125,000 I.R.S. agents, [so] send ’em to the border.”

“They’ve only got 25,000 agents,” Harwood pointed out.

And then it came, the question media figures should be asking EVERY political candidate when they play with the facts:

“Why shouldn’t somebody listen to you and say, ‘The guy’ll just say anything — doesn’t have to be true?'”


Because like every Republican candidate in recent years, Ted was only joking:

There is a game that is played by left-wing editorial writers. It’s this new species of yellow journalism called PolitiFact. Colloquially I was referring to all the employees as agents. That particular stat is in a joke I used. So, they’re literally fact-checking a joke. I say that explicitly tongue in cheek.

It turns out Harwood was a little off, but Cruz was a lot off. The actual quote was,

There are 110,000 agents at the IRS. We need to put a padlock on that building and take every one of those 110,000 agents and put them on our southern border.

But there aren’t 110,000 employees at the IRS. There were 90,000 in 2013, when Cruz made his “joke.” A discrepancy of 20,000. Which is a lot. An inflation of over 25 percent.

We have seen Republican presidential hopefuls dodge facts before; even dodge questions. We’ve witnessed the “I’m not a scientist,” routine. But Cruz has a new twist on an old trick:

Harwood: A third Texas president, L.B.J., created Medicare in the mid-’60s. Your hero Ronald Reagan campaigned vigorously against that, saying it would lead to socialized medicine, would end liberty in the United States. Who was right: L.B.J. or Reagan?

Cruz: It’s not worth tilting at windmills. I don’t know. I wasn’t alive then.

Oh, you weren’t alive then. So if not being alive then precludes you from having an opinion, you can’t have an opinion on what the Founding Fathers may or may not have intended through writing the United States Constitution.

Yet you repeatedly claim the United States was founded as a Christian nation for Christians. How can you know? You weren’t alive then.

Rick Ungar pointed out at Forbes that by choosing a religious institution to make his presidential announcement, Cruz automatically excluded all non-Christians from his constituency. He is supposed to be president for all Americans, but he has decided that he will be a Christian president for Christians.

Well…people who pretend they are Christians. But you get the idea.

This is nothing new. As a Houston Chronicle editorial said of Cruz following his announcement, “We’re not so happy about his disdain for 30 million Texans he was elected to represent just a couple of years ago.”


In truth, to judge by what he said at Liberty University – “Imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel” – he cares more about Israel than about 30 million people in Texas.

His absence will hardly be noticed. Unlike Kay Bailey Hutchison, his predecessor in the Senate, Cruz isn’t in Washington to get things done for his state. He’s not there to govern. He sees himself as an agitator, a disruptive force who disdains crafting solutions to problems or compromising with his colleagues toward a pragmatic end. He’s made a lot of noise during his time in Washington, but except for partially shutting down the federal government in 2013, it’s hard to point to much of anything Cruz has done.

This point has been made before, but of course, Cruz’s own delusional view of himself is that he is not a “back-bencher like Obama”

but a guy who gets things done. The trouble is, the only person Cruz gets things done for is Cruz.

Thirty million Texans learned that lesson. Every person in America who is not a far-right Evangelical will learn it if Cruz becomes president.

Ungar points out what we have pointed out many times here:

Call me crazy, but it seems logical to expect that had our nation been intended to be a Christian nation, there would have been some reference to the same in the Constitution—and yet there is none. Indeed, the words, “God”, “Jesus Christ”, “Christianity”, “Bible”, and “Creator” are never so much as mentioned in our founding document —not even once. In fact, the only time religion is discussed in the Constitution is in Article 6, Section 3 requiring that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Ungar says of Cruz’s announcement, “Personally, I think most of our Founders were turning over in their graves.”

Cruz has a fact problem. Every Republican candidate has a fact problem. The facts, simply put, argue against every shred of the ideology they are trying to force down our throats. They can dance around it, as Cruz did with Harwood and as Rand Paul did with Sean Hannity, but the facts are what the facts are.

It is not the media’s fault, and CNBC is far from being “liberal media” just as PolitiFact is far from being a left-wing website. The problem isn’t CNBC or PolitiFact. The problem is the GOP and their misuse of facts. As Stephen Colbert once quipped, reality has a liberal bias. But that is because liberals are cognizant of that reality, and conservatives are not.

If you don’t want to sound like a lunatic, don’t say crazy things. It’s that easy. But it’s a lesson Republicans can’t learn because their ideology does not permit it. They’ve become lost in the very alternate reality bubble they created to ensorcell Americans.

We don’t know if Ted Cruz is really crazy. We can only judge him by his words and deeds, and according to those, he is that wild-eyed lunatic he claims not to be. And that’s not the media’s fault; it’s his.

Welcome to reality, Ted.

Photo: Screen capture from CNBC


View Comments

  • Right Wing Watch reports on Cruz's latest remarks in Iowa on Thursday:

    Cruz, speaking at a panel moderated by conservative talk show host Steve Deace, who regularly castigates the “Rainbow Jihad,” told the crowd of homeschooling activists that they should fear “the jihad that is being waged right now in Indiana and Arkansas, going after people of faith who respect the biblical teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”

    By condemning this gay “jihad,” Cruz said, he could “bring people together” to defend religious freedom.

    Before he opens his mouth again, Cruz may want to look up the origin of the Arabic word "jihad" — which actually referred to an effort to practice religion in the face of oppression and persecution.

  • "... I don’t know. I wasn’t alive then."

    I seem to remember a young Megan McCain making the rounds on political panels when her da-da was running; she was caught making up stats, history, etc. on talk several shows (even though she is well ed-ju-ma-cated like Cruz).

    When confronted, she answered with the same exact line, "I don't know, I wasn't there..." She was promptly schooled told that she couldn't sit at the adult table any longer. After this happened to her a several times, she stopped appearing as a young rising star for the GOP, remember?

    Can't wait until King Teddie is carted out as the GOP's royal, prized pig and has to debate with other "adults" regardless of party on a national stage!

    (Notice how he never answers/takes on more than on interviewer at a time?)

    ...I'm sure the McCain Klan will help with his smack down. Get the popcorn!

    • This behavior may be a ruse. He won national awards for debating while at Princeton. I don't think he will ever be president but he may be dangerous. He could probably out perform the other repug dopes.

      Bottom line to me is he comes across as one of those nutjob preachers like his daddy. That probably will be his downfall. I hope so.

      • Well yes, on a college debating team, you're given the subject AND the pro or the con. You may not agree with the side you've been given to debate about. The audience is made up of your peers and your professors.

        That is vastly different from spouting off about stuff in a debate which is nationally televised and picked apart by national media. I suspect he will take his firmly held rightwing fundamentalist positions so very far to the right as to have them falling right off the cliff. He needs to win -- probably especially for his totally wingnut preacher father.

        I foresee him losing his temper more than once -- probably by snarling at his opponents through snark. He's thoroughly unlikeable - his looks, his voice, his opinions. He won't win any independents, IMHO. And the saner Repubs hate him already.

        • Well Maple, if there are some rethugs who dislike Cruz, I may find it necessary to rethink this party! I find that way too distasteful !

    • Cruz cant even handle or remember what crap comes out of his own mouth. When caught in a lie, "deflect, defect, accuse, deflect, lie some more, whine."

    • When you're young, you have the face Fate gave you. When you're old, you get the face you deserve, and the more you deserve it, the sooner you get it.

    • I hear that! I usually make a concerted effort to not attack pols on their looks, mainly because it's shallow, judgemental, low-hanging fruit and there are always much more valid reasons to dislike them.

      But I am human and I do fail. Looking at a picture of Ted Cruz makes me feel like I need to shower. And he looks slimy, like an oil slick, like the constant haughty sneer could slide right off his face. *shivers* Blech!

  • Cruz is a worthless religious fanatic, who lies as easily as breathing.

    But Harwood and the rest of the media need to get their own facts straight.

    LBJ did NOT create Medicare. He had to be talked into signing it into law. Medicare was created by President Kennedy via his Medicare Task Force.

    If you're going to hold politicians accountable for what they say, get your own facts right.


  • So Cruz was just joking around when he made up that stat about IRS agents.

    It seems to be a common pattern: A conservative says something crazy or inaccurate, gets called out on it, and says they were just joking.

    When are these guys going to learn that either 1. most people don't get their sense of humor and 2. nobody's falling for the "it was a joke" routine?

    • Just once I'd like someone to follow up by asking them to explain the joke. For example, I could tell the following joke:

      Knock. Knock.
      Who's there?
      Who who?
      An owl, apparently!

      Is it funny? Nope. But if I was asked to explain why it was a joke, I could.

    • They sure ignore "Thou shalt not kill" in their honor of murderer Chris Kyle who took pride and "honor" in the cowardly murder of innocent citizens defending their families from a fraudulent military invasion. Worst Christians ever.

    • Hey Jeff look up Dominionst. They believe that a lie for Christ is no sin. Therefore, they can lie all they want, because they are the elect.

  • I have a theory about both Cruz and Rand Paul, and it has to be true. The GOP encouraged them to announce early and to bring on the stupid as quickly as possible, so that when J. Bush finally gets around to it, he'll appear as a safe, sane and competent option to the buffet of fruitcakes that will have already announced by then. It can be the only truly possible explanation... that, and these two clowns are being paid obscene amounts of money as well.

    • You are just now figuring that out? Why do you think mitt got the nod last time? After all the insane ones he looked more middle of the road.
      And this is one of the other reasons I am turning away from the GOP. These guys just don't represent what I believe in any more.

    • Interesting theory but I think you're giving the GOP way too much credit as this is far 'too sophisticated a thought process' for them.

      Besides Cruz & Paul are so arrogant & full of themselves they'd rather waste millions trying to run for an office they're not qualified for & have no chance of winning than be part of some larger plan to make Jeb Bush appear electable by comparison.

      Ted Cruz continues to sound like a dictator.

  • "That particular stat is in a joke I used."

    Fine, Teddy. From now on, every time you quote a stat, we'll assume it's a joke. Every time you say something, we'll assume it's a joke. To save time, we'll assume your entire campaign is a (painfully unfunny) joke.

    Happy now?

  • While there may be 90,000 people employed by the IRS, that number includes secretaries, mail clerks, data processors, and actual field agents. Are all those people to be sent to protect the border too?

    Had he made a joke, he might have said there are 1M employees at the IRS. Everyone would have known he was joking, but coming very close to the truth shows he wasn't.

    Of course Cruz would call Politifact "yellow journalism". they research all the data on accusations he has made and rates them based on FACTS.


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