Quite the extract from a new TV interview with US President Donald Trump which starts with him referring to a mental acuity test he had taken:
WALLACE: But I’ve got to tell you, if I may, sir, respectfully, in the Fox poll, they asked people, who is more competent? Who’s got — whose mind is sounder? Biden beats you in that.
TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you what, let’s take a test. Let’s take a test right now. Let’s go down, Joe and I will take a test. Let him take the same test that I took.
WALLACE: Incidentally, I took the test too when I heard that you passed it.
TRUMP: Yeah, how did you do?
WALLACE: It’s not – well it’s not that hardest test. They have a picture and it says “what’s that” and it’s an elephant.
TRUMP: No no no…
TRUMP: You see, that’s all misrepresentation.
WALLACE: Well, that’s what it was on the web.
TRUMP: It’s all misrepresentation. Because, yes, the first few questions are easy, but I’ll bet you couldn’t even answer the last five questions. I’ll bet you couldn’t, they get very hard, the last five questions.
WALLACE: Well, one of them was count back from 100 by seven.
TRUMP: Let me tell you…
The whole interview is a thorough-going demolition of Trump’s record and standing by a well-informed interviewer who repeatedly immediately corrects false claims by Trump. The interview even features the first release of new polling figures showing Biden much more popular than Trump.
All of which leads to the other thing notable about it: it was run on Fox News. Yes, that Fox News.
A reminder of the point I made in Bad News: what the headlines don’t tell us – perhaps the most controversial point in the book? – about how often people misunderstand the news because they have closed minds about what they expect from particular news outlets.
Judge stories on their merits, not your prejudices and you’ll often find ones that don’t fit with a simplified lineup of titles to trust without doubt and titles to disbelieve without question.
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