Fact-checking checking: Bring back beats?


Fact-checking the fact-checkers: Putting Mark Greenberg and Sharon Parrott in charge of welfare is like putting Lindsay Lohan in charge of the DMV!! … That was my attempted soundbite at a Heritage panel on Wednesday called to bust MSM fact-checkers who’ve pooh-poohed legitimate Republican complaints about the welfare “waivers” announced by President Obama’s HHS. … Kay Hymowitz of Manhattan Institute argued fact-checkers typically just don’t know enough about the subjects they’re required to instantly check on. They’ve given the old “beat” system renewed appeal. Yes, “beat” reporters are reluctant to piss off their sources. But at least they tend to know the history and context of any dispute. (For example, if you’ve covered the welfare beat you know that Greenberg and Parrott are not in the business of strengthening work requirements.)…  And beat reporters don’t have to label policy arguments “false” or “true.”

P.S.: The House voted 250-164 to reject the waivers Thursday, though the Senate will not take up the bill until after the election. Nineteen Democrats joined the Republicans, though that didn’t stop The Hill from calling it a “party line” vote. Someone forgot to tell veteran California Democrat and Clintonite John Garamendi about the “party line” part. … Why do I feel that if one in ten GOPs defected to the Dems, it would be a “bipartisan vote”? …

Meanwhile, AP’s Jim Abrams came up with a museum quality example of sneering spin in his lede paragraph:

WASHINGTON — House Republicans on Thursday followed up Mitt Romney’s remarks about people who get federal aid with a bill that would reverse what they call President Barack Obama’s relaxation of welfare-to-work requirements.

Can you imagine a lede that began:

WASHINGTON — House Democrats on Thursday followed up on President Obama’s remark that the private sector is “doing fine” with a bill  …”

Me neither. …

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