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Did Sanders Lie About Clinton's Oil Money? NPR Factchecker Can't Be Bothered to Check

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By Jim Naureckas
Hillary Clinton is 'so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me.' And NPR's factchecker is so sick of having to decide whether or not Sanders' campaign is actually lying about Clinton.
Hillary Clinton is 'so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me.' And NPR's factchecker is so sick of having to decide whether or not Sanders' campaign is actually lying about Clinton.
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When media outlets check the facts, it's supposed to be in the first sense Google's dictionary offers for the word "check":

1. examine (something) in order to determine its accuracy."

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But sometimes media seem more intent on carrying out the second meaning of the word:

2. stop or slow down the progress of (something undesirable).

That's the approach that NPR's Peter Overby (4/1/16) seemed to take when he wrote a "factcheck" about a controversy involving Hillary Clinton and fossil fuel money. Online, NPR displayed a video clip of an encounter between Hillary Clinton and a Greenpeace activist:

The activist, Eva Resnick-Day, says: "Thank you for tackling climate change. Will you act on your words and reject future fossil fuel money in your campaign?" To which Clinton responds:

"I do not have -- I have money from people who work for fossil fuel companies. I'm so sick. I'm so sick of the Sanders' campaign lying about me. I'm sick of it."

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Resnick-Day, who says she was "genuinely shocked" by Clinton's response, states she is "in no way affiliated with the Sanders campaign." NPR's Overby does quote Sanders spokesperson Michael Briggs, though -- with Overby characterizing the quote as the Sanders campaign taking the opportunity "to pounce on Clinton":

"The truth is that Secretary Clinton has relied heavily on funds from lobbyists working for the oil, gas and coal industry."

So the factchecker's job is to determine whether Clinton is right to say that she just gets money from people who work for fossil fuel companies, and that the Sanders campaign is lying about this, or whether the Sanders campaign is actually correct in saying that she relies heavily on funds from fossil-fuel lobbyists -- right?

See, that's why you don't have a job at NPR.

Overby's job, as he interprets it, is just to confirm that Clinton was indeed accurate in saying she accepts money from people who work for fossil-fuel companies:

"The Center for Responsive Politics, parsing Federal Election Commission reports, finds that workers in the oil and gas industries have given Clinton $307,561 so far -- compared to, say, $21 million from the securities and investment industry, or $14.4 million from lawyers and law firms."

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FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media (more...)
 

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