CNN’s Stelter to AP’s Colvin: ‘Are You Tired of this Point of Writing Fact Checks About the President?’

‘Shouldn’t the president have someone by his side to see if his tweets are true before he sends them out?’

Amazon, by the way, not commenting. “The Washington Post” not commenting. They’re just letting his words stay out there.

What I think is interesting, Jill, is that some of the president’s attacks against companies or other figures, they’re not true. They’re not based in fact. So, you wrote about this for the “A.P.” over the weekend. You said Trump is misrepresenting Amazon’s record on taxes. 

Can I ask you, are you tired of this point of writing fact checks about the president? 

JILL COLVIN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: It’s an interesting question. No, I don’t think any reporters are because the truth is important and facts are important. This is a president who very often will overlook those truths and those facts to make a political point, or in this case to be able to continue ramming “The Washington Post” because he’s angry at stories he’s written. 

There’s a clear pattern here. The president tends to lash out when “The Post” publishes a particular juicy story about palace intrigue as they did this weekend. And it’s something that’s part of our job. Look, we’re there and it’s not just you write fact checks. You do it every time you write a story. If the president is saying something, you don’t put it out there for readers without the context of explaining whether it’s true or not. 

STELTER: Shouldn’t the president have someone by his side to see if his tweets are true before he sends them out? Shouldn’t there be kind of a fact checker assistant? 

COLVIN: Yes, I mean, you’d think, even just a spell checker assistant. We see again and again where the president puts out tweets that contain — I think there was one recently that had like five errors in 140 characters. This is something that John Kelly had tried to do. 


STELTER: You know what the response to that is, right? The response is, oh, you’re a media elite. Nobody cares about spelling. COLVIN: Problem is, when those kinds of errors then trickle in to

these are official communications from the president, these are official communications from the United States, what does that do to U.S. credibility? It raises all these questions. 

But this is something Kelly did try to do, where he wanted the president to at least run by tweets. He wasn’t going to tell him what he could or couldn’t tweet. He just wanted to look at them to make sure they were actually factual. That obviously hasn’t happened. 

The president often also is not the one who’s actually tweeting. He will let, for instance, Dan Scavino, his social media guy, who is at this point pretty much his longest serving aide, someone he’s very close to. It’ll often be Dan Scavino who’s the one actually tweeting. They just do this in a very haphazard way. 

And for the president, look, this is the unfiltered way to speak to his supporters. And he doesn’t seem to be interested at all in changing that.

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