Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney confronted a New York Times reporter on "Morning Joe" Friday over the latter's report that President Barack Obama told just 18 distinct lies during his two terms in office.
The New York Times juxtaposed President Donald Trump with Obama on lies told in office in a report Thursday, with the newspaper claiming Obama told 18 distinct falsehoods during his entire presidency compared to Trump's 103 in less than a year in office.
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The Free Beacon reported that Obama, according to fact-checker PolitiFact, had made 98 separate "mostly false," "false," and "pants on fire" statements in his administration, with the Times leaving many of them out of its analysis.
Carney wrote a piece for the Examiner in which he stated Trump was "far more detached from the truth" than most politicians, but he hit the newspaper for omitting so many of Obama's lies from the piece, such as claiming during a State of the Union address that his administration had eliminated lobbyists from policy-making jobs.
Carney said it didn't seem to be a proper use of "data journalism" to say one would count up the lies when it left out so many of Obama's.
"You missed a bunch of Obama's lies," Carney said to David Leonhardt, who co-wrote the Times story. "I agree Trump's a much bigger liar, much more falsehoods … Why didn't you have in there ‘we have excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs?' Wasn't that a significant, clearly false statement?'
Leonhardt said Carney wanted the newspaper to apply different standards to both administrations, claiming the Obama administration did exclude a lot of lobbyists from jobs. Carney laughed derisively as Leonhardt said the newspaper didn't consider statements that could be considered true under "generous" interpretations.
"When you compare the same standard for Obama and Trump, rather than doing different standards, you just end up seeing that the two of them are not close at all," Leonhardt said.
"I agree with that, but I don't think you have a standard for Obama," Carney said, again returning to the falsehood about lobbyists.
Leonhardt repeated both presidents were held to the same standard, saying some of Trump's stories that were likely false were omitted because they could be true under some interpretations.
Carney also asked Leonhardt why a "lie" Obama told about Mitt Romney and letting Detroit go bankrupt failed to make the New York Times list, but Leonhardt said Trump lied about "everything."
Panelist Peggy Noonan said she felt Trump lied more than Obama, but she wondered if one of Trump's had has much policy implications as Obama's infamous remark that, under the Affordable Care Act, "if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan." Obama repeated a version of that line at least 36 times.