Fact checking the AP fact checker

According to Pete Yost last week in a superficial AP fact check story: “Republican presidential candidates have claimed that the Obama administration is cleansing government files of references to radical Islam, an assertion so juicy that politicians keep repeating it — even though it’s a wild exaggeration.”

But I think the GOP candidates have it right, more or less, and Yost has it wrong. At least they are closer to the mark than Yost. See, for example, Cliff May’s NRO column “What’s Islam got to do with it?” (May cites a report by the Westminster Institute’s Katharine C. Gorka that notes: “Key national security documents have already excised all terminology that associates terrorism with Islam or Islamic concepts such as jihad.”) See also “Obama administration pulls references to Islam from terror training materials, official says.” (The story quotes purposefully ambiguous comments made by Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole at the George Washington University law school. My call yesterday to the Department of Justice for clarification went unreturned.)

Who will fact check the fact checkers? It’s the question raised by Mark Hemingway’s Weekly Standard cover story “Lies, damned lies, and ‘fact checking.'” Yost’s article seems to me to provide another illustration of the reason for the scare quotes Hemingway put around “fact checking.”


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