Fox's Hume: 'Fact-checking has become a branch of opinion journalism'

Fox's Hume: 'Fact-checking has become a branch of opinion journalism'
© Greg Nash

Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume is slamming fact-checking efforts on President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly US-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in pictures Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall MORE's Oval Office address on immigration, the partial government shutdown and his proposed wall on the Mexican border.

Hume said efforts to "to fact-check opinion" means "you're obviously off on the wrong foot" during an interview on Tucker Carlson's prime-time program Wednesday night.

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While he said there is a place for checking facts in journalism, he said it has weaved into opinion. 

“What could be a more legitimate form of journalism, than checking the facts of what politicians say? It’s necessary and vital even," said Hume, a former ABC News anchor and White House correspondent.

"The problem though in this current atmosphere, fact checking has become a branch of opinion journalism," he said. 

"When you start out trying to fact check opinion, you’re obviously off on the wrong foot," he added later in the interview. "In some instances, I saw a facts checked as being a problem that were true."

Hume then mentioned a fact-check in The Washington Post of Trump's statement that 266,000 immigrants in the country illegally were arrested in the past two years. The fact check concluded that "the number is right but misleading" due to the number including arrests for "illegal entry or reentry."

"For example, there was a statistic 266,000 people arrested who had come across the border and The Washington Post announced that that was a true statistic. But it was misleading," Hume said, criticizing the article.

"Whether something is misleading or not is not a simply matter of fact, it is a matter of opinion," Hume noted. "But the passion, the ambition of journalists today to get in on the opinion game is so strong, that they’re coming in through all the doors, including the fact check door."

The Post concluded that the number was technically correct but wasn't provided in the proper context. "Fact-checking Trump's address: '266,000 aliens arrested in the past two years': The number is right but misleading," the tweet linking to the fact-check reads.

 

"So the numbers add up, but they’re misleading," the Post report says. "The total covers all types of offenses, including illegal entry or reentry. ICE does not break down arrests by type of crime, but 16 percent of the total charges and convictions (not arrests) in 2016 were strictly immigration offenses."

The partial government shutdown impacting 800,000 federal workers reached its 20th day on Thursday with no compromise in sight.

On Wednesday, talks between the White House and congressional Democrats ended abruptly after less than 20 minutes, with the president dismissing the negotiations as a “total waste of time."