Fact checkers supposedly don't fact check opinions.
PolitiFact fact checks opinions. Real Clear Politics has kept a study going looking at how often a set of top fact checkers rate opinions or predictions (among other things). PolitiFact has paced the group.
We expect Real Clear Politics will get around to adding this Nov. 30, 2022 PolitiFact fact check to the list:
Why do we think McCarthy was expressing an opinion?
In other words, why do we have the opinion that McCarthy was expressing an opinion?
We're intentionally giving away the answer, of course. "I think" counts as one of the classic ways of marking one's statement as an opinion.
Why does PolitiFact ignore such an obvious clue?
We think it's likely PolitiFact was looking to build a narrative. By overlooking that McCarthy was expressing opinion and focusing on one part of his statement to the exclusion of another, PolitiFact was able to support that narrative under the guise of fact-checking.
PolitiFact supports the narrative that Donald Trump counts as a racist. Facts don't matter in pursuit of that narrative.
PolitiFact quotes McCarthy correctly, and we'll highlight the part that PolitiFact decided to omit from its fact-checking focus even though it's the only part that McCarthy stated as fact:
"I think President Trump came out four times and condemned him and didn't know who he was," McCarthy said.For PolitiFact, it isn't important whether Trump knew who Nick Fuentes was. It's important that Fuentes is a white nationalist, and important to link Fuentes to Trump in a way that reinforces the narrative that Trump is a racist. Toward that end, PolitiFact ignores the claim Trump did not know who Fuentes was and focuses on the supposed lack of condemnation.
That drew real-time pushback from a reporter, who said, "He didn't condemn him or his ideology." McCarthy responded, "The president didn't know who he was."
We would argue that Trump saying he did not know Fuentes counts as a condemnation, when we consider the context.
PolitiFact argues the opposite, albeit without any real argument in support:
A look at Trump’s statements during the week between the Nov. 22 dinner and McCarthy’s press availability Nov. 29 show that McCarthy was wrong. Specifically, Trump did not condemn Fuentes on four occasions; instead, Trump said in four statements that he did not know who Fuentes was.PolitiFact implicitly says that it does not count as a condemnation to profess ignorance of Fuentes' identity.
Here's why that's wrong.
Trump was implying that if he had known who Fuentes was, he would not be welcome at dinner. Hardly anything could be more obvious, particularly given the context that Trump went on record condemning neo-Nazis and white nationalism.
We can even source Trump's quotation through PolitiFact, albeit the fact checkers do an excellent job of not drawing attention to it:
"And you had people -- and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists -- because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Okay?"
So the fact checkers, though they have reason to know Trump condemned white nationalism, leave that out of a fact check focusing on whether Trump condemned white nationalism. That's context fit for suppression.
The facts don't matter when liberal bloggers posing as unbiased fact checkers want to promote a narrative.