Holan was dispensing her sage advice to debate moderators, suggesting they do not rely on memory for their facts.
It was good advice, but her illustration showcased bad fact-checking:
Moderators who don’t keep research at hand are leaving themselves open to dodged questions and outright bluffing. Check out this exchange between Trump and moderator Becky Quick of CNBC from an October primary debate.Quick and Trump were talking past each other, and Trump was more right than Quick. We presume that Holan had time to think about what she was writing, but she still botched the facts.
Quick: "You have talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him (Facebook founder) Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator, because he was in favor of the H-1B visa."
Trump: "I never said that. I never said that."
Quick: "So this is an erroneous article the whole way around? … My apologies, I'm sorry."
Trump: "Somebody's really doing some bad fact-checking."
Actually, there was no need for Quick to apologize. She was right; Trump was wrong. Trump’s website has a line about Rubio being Zuckerberg’s personal senator. It’s still there.
1) Quick said Trump had talked a little bit about Rubio. If Quick had said Trump's website had used the line about Rubio being Zuckerberg's personal senator, then she would have been right.
2) Trump was reasonable to assume that when Quick said he had "talked" about Rubio that her example would involve something he talked about, not just something written on his campaign website.
3) If Trump did not talk about Rubio being Zuckerberg's personal senator, then Trump was right.
4) If Trump was right, then Holan was wrong to say Trump was wrong.
5) Quick was wrong, so Holan was wrong to say Quick was right.
It isn't good fact-checking to blithely equivocate between a person literally saying something and making that person responsible for something posted on a campaign website.
Holan should apologize.
The "elite" fact checkers stink at fact checking.
Hat tip to PolitiFact for providing us with a steady stream of illustrative material.