CNN has been derided online after a so-called ‘fact check’ of the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Democratic hopeful Joe Biden fell wide of the mark to the point of satire.
On Tuesday night, Trump defended his coronavirus response, which included travel bans on foreign nationals who had been to China, and reminded Biden that he once called the president xenophobic and racist for doing so.
“I closed it, and you said, ‘He’s xenophobic. He’s a racist and he’s xenophobic,’ because you didn’t think I should have closed our country,” Trump said.
In its ‘fact check’ (a generous use of the term), CNN claims it’s unclear whether Biden knew about Trump’s travel restrictions targeting China at the time he called Trump xenophobic, as he never “explicitly linked the accusation of xenophobia” to any of the president’s specific policies.
CNN cites “the campaign” – presumably meaning Biden’s PR team – as saying Trump has a record of “hysterical xenophobia” and “fear mongering” but that Biden’s January 31 accusation had nothing to do with the travel restrictions, aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus, which were announced that same day.
CNN added that Biden “never took an explicit position on the restrictions until his April declaration of support.”
As expected, many online blasted the “most trusted name in news” for its blatant bias and lackluster fact check, which some deemed worthy of conservative satire site the Babylon Bee.
Some also used the opportunity to ridicule Biden’s alleged cognitive decline. “In fairness to CNN, Biden may have already forgotten,” one commenter quipped. The so-called ‘ratio’ of replies compared to retweets of CNN’s post quickly told its own story, as the message racked up more than 1,200 replies and a mere 165 retweets.
Trump previously fended off Biden’s accusations when speaking to Fox News’s Sean Hannity on March 26, saying: “He called me a racist, because of the fact that he felt it was a racist thing to stop people from China coming in.”
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