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CBS, NBC Scoff at Trump’s Feud with Twitter, Ignore Anti-Trump Bias of Fact-Checker

Posted on 27 May 2020

While Twitter targeted President Trump with fact-checks, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News scoffed at his understandably angry reaction on Wednesday. While they were amused by him fuming at his favorite social media platform, neither of them cared to report how Twitter’s in-house fact-checker was an anti-Trump activist who had leveled many false accusations against the President, including calling him an “actual Nazi.” Declaring that the President was waging a “war on Twitter,” CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell quipped that “the President threatened Twitter, the social media site he has used more than 50,000 times, for fact-checking his posts.” It was a mocking line that was continued by CBS White House Ben Tracy. “Meanwhile, the President is threatening Twitter on Twitter, saying he will ‘strongly regulate or close them down,’ after they fact-checked two of his tweets that falsely claimed mail-in voting leads to fraud, a position his Press Secretary has defended, despite having voted 12 times by mail herself,” he said. Over on NBC, White House correspondent Peter Alexander fact-checked Trump’s venting (click “expand”): No drama there, but the President is escalating another battle with Twitter, after the company, for the first time, posted fact-check labels on a pair of the President's tweets about mail-in ballots. President Trump accusing Twitter of “interfering in the 2020 presidential election” and today threatening to “strongly regulate or close them down.” A president has no authority to shut down a private company, and the First Amendment limits the government's ability to regulate free speech. But while these networks were solely focusing on Trump’s reaction to the fact-checking, Fox News media analyst and MediaBuzz anchor Howard Kurtz provided more complete coverage of the story on that evening’s Special Report. He even noted that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had admitted his employees were leftists.     Asking the obvious question of “who is making these decisions at Twitter,” Kurtz pointed to “Yoel Roth, it’s head of standards has tweeted that Trump and his team are ‘actual Nazis,’ called candidate Trump a ‘racist tangerine,’ and donated to Hillary Clinton.” If we were going to apply the left’s fact-checking standards to Roth’s comments, we’d point out that Trump was not an “actual Nazi” nor a sentient citrus fruit. Kurtz also called out Twitter’s double standard on who they choose to target with fact-checks, which was only him and not any Democrats. “The President, with nearly 80 million Twitter followers, is a lightning rod, but Twitter hasn't challenged Joe Biden, with over five million followers or prominent Democrats,” he reported. The New York Post scored a late evening victory Wednesday against Twitter’s blatant double standard. According to the paper, they got Twitter to buckle and fact-check Chinese Communist Part propaganda: Confronted with an apparent double standard in its lack of fact-check warnings on tweets by a Chinese government spokesman versus the hardline it took with President Trump this week, Twitter on Wednesday added notations to the postings, which falsely accused the US government of causing the coronavirus pandemic. They also exposed how Twitter spokesperson Liz Kelley had first said the company was refusing to fact-check China, and only changed their mind after getting pressed for their rationale. Editor's Note: Want to comment on this post? Since NewsBusters no longer has a comments section, feel free to hop on Twitter and join the conversation there by engaging with the tweet below. [email protected] and @NBCNightlyNews scoff at Trump's feud with @Twitter, ignore anti-Trump bias of their fact-checker https://t.co/2q20REvxN2 — Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) May 28, 2020   The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read: CBS Evening News May 27, 2020 6:31:28 p.m. Eastern [Opening tease] NORAH O’DONNELL: War on Twitter: The President threatens big action after his tweets are fact-checked, and he faces new criticism-- the subtle swipe by Dr. Anthony Fauci. (…) 6:40:34 p.m. Eastern O’DONNELL: President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were among those disappointed by today's scrubbed space launch. They had flown to Florida to witness the historic event. Earlier, the President threatened Twitter, the social media site he has used more than 50,000 times, for fact-checking his posts. CBS' Ben Tracy reports tonight from the White House. [Cuts to video] BEN TRACY: President Trump hoped to watch SpaceX make history in Florida today, but instead, he was confronted with the historic and tragic milestone of 100,000 dead Americans on his watch. More than the total number of U.S. deaths in all wars since World War II, and a far greater death toll than the President predicted just last month. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It looks like we'll be at about a 60,000 mark. (…) TRACY: Meanwhile, the President is threatening Twitter on Twitter, saying he will “strongly regulate or close them down,” after they fact-checked two of his tweets that falsely claimed mail-in voting leads to fraud, a position his Press Secretary has defended, despite having voted 12 times by mail herself. (…)   Fox News Channel’s Special Report May 27, 2020 6:33:09 p.m. Eastern (…) HOWARD KURTZ: Who is making these decisions at Twitter? Yoel Roth, it’s head of standards has tweeted that Trump and his team are “actual Nazis,” called candidate Trump a “racist tangerine,” and donated to Hillary Clinton. The President, with nearly 80 million Twitter followers, is a lightning rod, but Twitter hasn't challenged Joe Biden, with over five million followers or prominent Democrats. [Cuts back to live] Twitter just hasn't wanted to spend money on fact-checking efforts and now it’s paying the price. If it continues to warn about presidential tweets but not those of his opponent, it will fuel better charges of bias and not just from President Trump.   NBC Nightly News May 27, 2020 7:08:06 p.m. Eastern LESTER HOLT: As the nation marked that milestone, President Trump was in Florida for the SpaceX launch that was ultimately scrubbed by weather late today. And just in, the White House saying the President will sign an executive order concerning social media as he escalates his feud with Twitter. Here’s Peter Alexander. [Cuts to video] (…) PETER ALEXANDER: No drama there, but the President is escalating another battle with Twitter, after the company, for the first time, posted fact-check labels on a pair of the President's tweets about mail-in ballots. President Trump accusing Twitter of “interfering in the 2020 presidential election” and today threatening to “strongly regulate or close them down.” A president has no authority to shut down a private company, and the First Amendment limits the government's ability to regulate free speech. (…)