Fact-checking candidate claims about former statements they made, positions they took or are taking now, current events, etc, at debates is a necessary component of any good news service. Without checking what they've said, candidates would have the freedom to say anything at all with no consequences. Case in point, Gov. Chris Christie says he was named US attorney by George Bush on September 10, 2001, but in truth he was named four months later to the post so his response was labeled "false."
After last night's debate, CNN ran fact-checking segments on air and I was completely shocked by one such verdict they made on a claim made by Carly Fiorina about the highly edited Planned Parenthood undercover videos. Here's what Carly said at the debate:
Anyone who has watched this video tape -- I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.
She made it sound like the videos contained these images, verbatim, but as the CNN fact checker pointed out, they did not.
Is there really something that looks like that? Yea, there is actually a short portion on one of the video tapes that does show a fetus, looks kind alike that's going on, BUT it's edited in, there is no proof, nor any way to ascertain if this had anything to do with Planned Parenthood when it came to that piece of video tape..
Clearly there is no verifiable proof that what Carly described on CNN was ever real. The video was edited in with no way of knowing where it came from or when it was taken and how it was captured. ON CNN's website they describe it thusly:
But the clip Fiorina references is not part of the CMP sting video but was instead taken by another anti-abortion group and was added to the sting video. The Center for Medical Progress, however, doesn't explain where the fetus video was shot, so it's not clear whether it was taken at a Planned Parenthood clinic. For its part, the women's health organization has flatly denied the accusations.
With all this information CNN uses to explain away the image, any rational news organization would give Fiorina's claim a "False" verdict because she can't use heavily edited video that's unsubstantiated to back the claims she made condemning Planned Parenthood. Here's CNN's verdict:
BUT it's edited in, there is no proof, nor any way to ascertain if this had anything to do with Planned Parenthood when it came to that piece of videotape so what she said here is true, but it is misleading.
Huh? How can CNN say it's true, but misleading? It's either true or not. There is no grey area when it comes to video evidence. If I make a claim against Donald Trump or Ben Carson and say I have video proof of it and then I edit in a piece of video from another source that you can't verify, how could my claims be considered anything other than false? It's up to the candidates to know what they are saying in front of 20 million people is true or not or based on trumped up evidence and edited videos and not CNN's to parse the truth out for them.
Please contact CNN @CNNPolitics @tomlobianco @teddyschleifer @LauraKoran @Kevinliptakcnn and ask them to clarify and explain this decision.
But don't worry Carly, because the beltway media has your back.
Cilizza just said that Fiorina's noxious lie about Planned Parenthood works for her because it sounds real. #notkidding
— digby (@digby56) September 17, 2015
UPDATE: Sarah Kliff writes: Carly Fiorina is wrong about the Planned Parenthood tapes. I know because I watched them.