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The Washington Post’s Michelle Ye Hee Lee On Her “Fact-Checking” Of Lindsey Graham And Scott Walker

Thursday, April 23, 2015  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Almost every would-be GOP nominee has made an issue of America’s declining naval strength.  This morning The Washington Post’s Michelle Ye Hee Lee gave “three Pinocchios” to Lindesy Graham and Scott Walker for recalling Ronald Reagan’s 600 ship Navy and deploring our drop to 273 ships today.

Not only does Ms. Lee suggest untruthfulness about these absolutely factual assertions by Graham and Walker, she does so without finding even one expert who challenges their assertions about U.S. naval strength hitting dangerous lows.  She joined me to defend her conclusion, but I wasn’t persuaded and believe the Post should issue a correction for putting out as a “fact check” a thinly disguised and actually poorly informed opinion of one of its writers.  I appreciate that Ms. Lee would come on to defend her piece but this issue is too important to leave to the “fact checkers” who aren’t actually checking facts:

Audio:

04-22hhs-lee

Transcript:

HH: I am now pleased to welcome, the first time on the Hugh Hewitt Show, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, who is a Washington Post reporter. Michelle, welcome, it’s great to have you on the program.

MYHL: Hi, thanks for having me.

HH: You have created quite a stir today with your piece, The Zombie Claim About Navy Ship Numbers Returns To The 2016 Campaign Trail. I was talking about it last hour with Governor Pataki. He and a bunch of other Republicans just simply reject your three Pinocchios. So would you please explain to the audience what is the zombie nature of the claim that Republicans are making about naval strength?

MYHL: Sure. So this was a claim that Romney had said during the last presidential campaign, and so when it came back up, you know, I was looking back at the analyses that had been done, and sort of revisiting that leading up to the 2016 cycle. So a lot of the criticism back then was that you know, instead of comparing the sheer number of ships a hundred years ago to now, you know, there are other ways to try to make the argument that you know, Romney was trying to make. And so I was getting at that, and you know, I revisited the issue, and remained consistent with the rating that we had given Romney then with the three Pinocchios.

HH: Now why do you call it a zombie claim? Because every naval expert I’ve talked to believes we’re in a crisis when it comes to ship count and strategic ability to project force, every single one. And as I read your piece, I didn’t actually find anyone disagreeing with Lindsey Graham or Scott Walker.

MYHL: Well, the zombie claim is sort of a reader-friendly way to describe that this is something that had been talked about in the past, and that it had been challenged in the past as well. And you know, we sort of use it to say hey, you know, we’ve been there before, we’ll say it again. So that’s sort of a reader-friendly way to put it that way. You know, I don’t think it’s that people disagree necessarily with the claim that there needs to be more ships, or that the current fleet is not sufficient compared to what the combatant commanders say they need. But it’s, again, going back to the idea that you know, the needs of, the need and capability of ships evolve over time. So to compare the number of ships in 2015 versus the number of ships in 1915, ’16, ’17 or in the 1980s is just not an apples to apples comparison. Continue Reading

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Former New York Governor George Pataki on 2016

Thursday, April 23, 2015  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Former New York Governor George Pataki joined me to talk 2016 today:

Audio:

04-22hhs-pataki

Transcript:

HH: I am beginning this hour with Governor George Pataki, former four term governor of the Empire State, the great state of New York. Governor Pataki, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show, it’s always good to talk to you.

GP: Good morning, Hugh, nice talking to you again.

HH: You have saved my perfect game. I have talked to every would-be Republican presidential nominee except you in 2015. And so now that I’ve got you up at the plate, I’ve at least got a perfect game, so thank you.

GP: Hey, you have a perfect game so far, but who knows, there might be more.

HH: Now I’ve got to ask you, it appears as though you’re running, and I just sort of want to confirm that. Is that the case?

GP: Well, I’ll tell you, I’m closer to making that decision than I’ve been in the past. And I kid up in New Hampshire that every four years, there’s the World Cup, the Olympics, and I show up thinking of running. But this time, I’ve taken a lot more aggressive steps, and I think the reason is very simple. I think the situation in the world and in Washington is worse than it’s been before, and I think the need to change things dramatically has never been greater. Continue Reading

Rep. Mike Pompeo On The Washington Post’s “Fact Checking”

Thursday, April 23, 2015  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Representative Mike Pompeo, West Point and Harvard Law graduate, joined me today to fact check the “fact checker” at the Washington Post, Michelle Ye Hee Lee:

Audio:

04-22hhs-pompeo

Transcript:

HH: Joined now by Congressman Mike Pompeo from Kansas’ 4th Congressional District. There was something playing in my ear there, but it wasn’t Mike Pompeo. Hello, Congressman, how are you?

MP: It’s good to be with you, Hugh. How are you today?

HH: Great. I have got to talk to you specifically, in hour number three, I’m going to have on a Washington Post reporter, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, who wrote a piece today, The Zombie Claim About Navy Ship Numbers Returns To The 2016 Campaign Trail, in which she blasts Lindsey Graham and Scott Walker for talking about how our Navy has declined in size and capability. Now you’re a West Point grad, but you know this stuff. Do you think it deserves three Pinocchios, that Lindsey Graham and Scott Walker and every other Republican is out there talking about Reagan had 600 ships, and we’re down to 273?

MP: Well, them’s the facts. So I don’t know how you get three Pinocchios when there’s a fact. What they really mean is they try and say well, we don’t need that many anymore. I can assure you, we are beginning to see this need, right? The Chinese are building an island in the South China Sea. We’ve got Iranian ships sailing through the Gulf of Aden, and we’ve got enormous problems where the Russians are beginning to move their fleet into places they’ve not moved it before. I can assure you, our naval power is going to be called on in the next month and years in a way that the three Pinocchios that that comment was given, doesn’t do justice to. Continue Reading

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