CNN's top "fact-checker," Daniel Dale, was a fixture on the cable network during Donald Trump's presidency. He was the subject of numerous profiles in other media outlets, which lavished praise on the "virtuoso" journalist, the "firehose" of truth whose "epic and exhaustive" exposés made him the "newest star" on cable news and a hero among #Resistance wine moms.
That was then.
Since Joe Biden, a Democrat, was sworn in as president (and Trump was banned from Twitter), Dale has been conspicuously less prolific, and is no longer a ubiquitous presence on CNN. In mid-September, after months of ruthlessly holding minor Republican officials and cable news personalities to account, the celebrity fact-checker quite literally went missing.
"I'm gone for a while goodbye everybody," Dale tweeted somewhat ominously on Sept. 17, one day after publishing his last known fact-check on the CNN website, about how Trump is a liar who has endorsed a number of Republicans who also lie, including one who described Dale as a "lying #FakeNews snake."
It's unlikely that Dale was suspended or fired from CNN, given that the network seems to let its star personalities get away with pretty much anything, including masturbating in front of their colleagues. It's much more likely that he simply joined the Biden administration. Leaving journalism to work in a (Democratic) presidential administration—and vice versa—is a well-established career path.
For most journalists, holding the powerful to account just isn't as fulfilling when Democrats are in power. Dale already sounded bored in March 2021, when he lamented that Biden was "generally factual" and described the president's rare inaccuracies as "slips rather than purposeful lies." His heart just wasn't in it. "Still," he conceded sluggishly, "it's our job to correct the record when the president is incorrect."
An analysis of Dale's published work suggests fact-checking Biden was merely a tangential aspect of his job. Of his 24 most recent fact-checks for CNN, just five involve the president. The vast majority are devoted to GOP lawmakers, "conservative tweeters," "right-wing circles," and "a bodybuilder named Justin Y. O'Donnell," among others.
The most recent fact-check involving Biden was published on Sept. 3, when Dale dinged the president for "inaccurately recalling" (on numerous occasions) that he visited the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh following the deadly shooting there in 2018. (He did not.)
Dale had already gone missing by the time Biden promised that "people will pay" in response to photos of Border Patrol agents on horseback using "whips" on Haitian migrants on the southern border. The claim that agents were using whips was completely false, though fact-checkers at CNN and other outlets were not very interested in correcting the record.
Meanwhile, CNN's other fact-checkers have been doing their best to fill the void. The network's most recent attempt to hold power to account features three bylines and targets no less a figure than "the Marine who Trump brought on stage at a rally."
The Marine in question, Lance Cpl. Hunter Clark, had claimed to be the serviceman who, as seen in a viral video, pulled an Afghan infant over a barbed-wire fence at the Kabul airport amid the chaos of the U.S. evacuation. According to the CNN truth warriors, Clark may have merely "helped the baby once it was lifted over the wall."
Dale's unexplained absence is the latest example of mainstream media outlets abandoning crucial "accountability" projects in the first several months of Biden's presidency.
If you or someone you know has information regarding the whereabouts of CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale, please contact the relevant authorities.