Executive Director of the Commission on Presidential Debates Says Let Trump Lie

CNN’s Brian Stelter, who is big on facts, and was even called an “idiot pipsqueak” by Sean Hannity for fact-checking Hannity’s hero, serial liar Donald Trump, was told by “Debate commission chief: Candidates should fact-check each other.”

This comes not only at a time when America’s newspapers have made the unprecedented announcement that a candidate, Donald Trump, is a liar, but it would result in two candidates expending 90 minutes of their time and ours, calling each other ‘liar’ and advancing political discourse not one whit. It is a recipe for chaos. It is a recipe for disaster.

The executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, Janet Brown, appeared with Brian Stelter on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” and was asked by Stelter if moderators should fact-check candidates. Her less than satisfactory response was,

I think personally, if you start getting into fact-checking: what is a big fact, what is a little fact?
 
And if you and I have different sources of information — does your source about the unemployment rate agree with my source?
 
I don’t think it’s a good idea to get the moderator into essentially serving as the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The Poynter Institute, which hosts The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), correctly called this an “unfortunate argument.”

Brian Fallon, Press Secretary for Hillary for America, told Stelter that if the moderator “closes their ears to Trump’s lies, it will extend an unfair bias to Trump, ” who lies on an average of every three minutes. To put things in perspective, when Trump spoke for 35 minutes Sunday and told seven lies, he was telling fewer lies than he usually does.

Ann Compton, former White House correspondent for ABC News, told Stelter on the program, “We hate to leave absolute errors of fact on the table… There has to be some kind of check.”

Why are checks so critical to this debate? In March, The Huffington Post reported that they,

[A]ssigned five and a half reporters to look into a roughly 12,000-word transcript of Trump’s town hall event on CNN the night before. It took us hours, but in all, we found 71 separate instances in which Trump made a claim that was inaccurate, misleading or deeply questionable. That’s basically one falsehood every 169 words (counting the words uttered by moderator Anderson Cooper), or 1.16 falsehoods every minute (the town hall lasted an hour, including commercial breaks).

Donald Trump lies like other people breathe, and he is more than willing to cover himself by pretending he ‘doesn’t remember’ even while bragging about his great memory. He simply cannot open his mouth without spouting falsehoods, and he spews them faster than most of us can fact-check.

Kellyanne Conway pretends the Trump campaign wants to give voters the conversation they expect, when what she really wants to present them with is an unchallenged lie-fest by her historically dishonest candidate.

As HuffPo showed, Trump lied 71 times in one hour. The debate is 90 minutes. One certainty is that tonight, Donald Trump will lie. He will lie a lot. The Los Angeles Times said this weekend that the “Scope of Trump’s falsehoods unprecedented for a modern presidential candidate.”

As Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald, fresh from demonstrating that Trump either lied under oath or lied to his own followers, cautioned Sunday night, “… reality is, if ur informed — with REAL info, not bias confirmation — u know more than the reporters. Don’t fall 4 expectations game.”

Confirmation bias if basically hearing what you want to hear, interpreting new evidence as confirming what you already believe to be true.

The facts are out there; they are readily available; and there is no excuse for any viewer with access to the internet to remain uninformed.

This does not excuse the abrogation of responsibility by Janet Brown, which ensures a lot of people, instead of hearing the facts and becoming informed, possibly for the first time, are going to have the opportunity tonight to have their biases confirmed instead.