Politifact, which purports to be a fact-checking website, gave Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump a “mostly false” rating for claiming that his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, wants “open borders” — even though she said she did.
Trump made the claim during the third presidential debate. When Clinton denied the charge, moderator Chris Wallace asked her about a speech that she gave to a Brazilian bank in which she stated: “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.” That would seem fairly straightforward: a “true” rating was well-deserved.
The supposed fact-checkers rated Trump’s statement “mostly false” because Clinton “has repeatedly said she supports border security” and because she claimed she was referring to “energy” in the speech except to which Wallace made reference.
That is transparent nonsense, and reveals Politifact to be more a left-wing rapid-response front than a fact-checking group.
First of all, there is no reason to take Clinton at her word about anything. She has said she supports “border security,” but she has also said — dozens of times — that she supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and she abandoned that position this year.
Second, it is well-known that the term “border security” is defined differently by people on opposite sides of the immigration reform issue. Clinton’s version of the term includes allowing virtually all illegal aliens to become citizens. She also said in a debate earlier this year that she would prioritize deporting “violent criminals, terrorists, and anyone who threatens our safety,” but would not deport others, including “children” and “family members.” That means allowing continued illegal immigration.
Third, the expanded version of the quote from her speech to a Brazilian bank makes plan what Clinton’s meaning was:
“My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.”
Clinton’s statement about energy is independent from the statements that precede it: she wants “green and sustainable” energy in addition to open trade and open borders. The fact that she refers to a “common market” is further proof: the best-known “common market” is the European one, whose basic elements are the free flow of goods and people across national frontiers. It is also unclear how “green and sustainable” energy would be shared across borders. The plain meaning of the text is the best reading: “open borders,” in common parlance, means the free flow of people across national frontiers. That is her dream.
Even if every inference were to be drawn in Clinton’s favor, there would be no basis for ruling out the conclusion to which Trump and Wallace arrived. At worst, the statement might earn a “mostly true” rating.
But this is Politifact, which — like so many other so-called fact-checking agencies — has a particular partisan agenda, and in this case a very poorly disguised one.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.