MSNBC destroyed Trump’s lie that his policy of child separation at the border was the fault of Democrats with an immediate fact check while Trump was still talking.
While Trump was still talking Andrea Mitchell cut in and said, “Let’s do a quick fact check. It is not the Democrats, it’s not congress. This is an enforcement action which the Obama and Bush White Houses rejected as being too harsh and unnecessary, what they were calling a nuclear option, and it is something that Lindsay Graham and others who support the president who say he could change with a phone call. But again, using it against the Democrats and as Bill Kristol was just saying, doubling down on it as a midterm election strategy.”
Jacob Soboroff said, “Let’s all say it together, there is no law that requires the federal government to separate children from their families if they have entered the United States illegally. That is a policy that has been put into place, and it has resulted in, in this border patrol station, 1,100 children since April being taken away from their parents. It has resulted in little children waiting alone in this station. I saw some of them yesterday, waiting to get picked up by the Department of Health and Human Services, and taken to facilities across the country, one of a hundred, in 17 states where they have to wait to go through a process, to get into a foster care program or sponsorship program, because of a decision by the President Of The United States. He said it makes him sad. What is sad is that he doesn’t understand that this is a policy that is 100% under his control and he could end it right now.
Andrea Mitchell asked Kristen Welker, “Is it clear he doesn’t understand? How much leeway do we give the president for not understanding his own policy? Or is it something being done deliberately?”
Welker answered, “I think there’s a deliberate element, Andrea.”
Andrea Mitchell, who no one would describe as a flaming liberal, would not let the explanation that Trump doesn’t understand his own policy slide.
Trump can no longer spew his lies unchallenged
The big secret to Trump’s success is that he was able to use journalists’ professional standards against them. Journalists at mainstream outlets are supposed to be neutral and present the facts. Trump exploited their neutrality and used cable news to spew an endless series of lies. Journalists at mainstream outlets are still neutral, but they have never had to deal with a White House where lying is the strategy. More and more journalists have adapted and realized that in order to present the facts and not be used as propaganda tools they must fact-check Trump quickly.
MSNBC didn’t give Trump’s lie unchallenged airtime, and that is the key to both protecting journalism and US democracy.
For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association