Chris Cillizza writes a daily email for CNN called “The Point” with Chris Cillizza. In Wednesday’s email Cillizza wrote about Donald Trump – naturally – and defended Senator Jeff Flake, R. Ariz. – the Left’s new favorite GOPer – from Trumps attacks. In doing so he got a fact wrong that undercut his entire argument.
Here’s what Cillizza wrote: cc
2. Trump l-o-v-e-s to pretend he’s never heard of people he doesn’t like. In Trump’s world, there is nothing worse than being unknown. It means you don’t matter. And so, his greatest put-down is to claim that he has never heard of people attacking him. Trump said Wednesday that he didn’t even know who Sen. Jeff Flake was before Flake wrote a book critical of Trump. And, Trump added, the first time he saw Flake on TV, he thought the Arizona Republican was a Democrat. BOOM! ROASTED! (Note bene: Donald Trump was a Democrat until the late 2000s; Flake has a 97% score with the American Conservative Union.)
See that last bit, with the hyperlink. It is factually incorrect. As anyone who has been paying attention to Jeff Flake over the nearly five years he’s been a senator knows that the formerly solid conservative has trended towards being a more liberal legislator.
Never mind those facts. The data Cillizza linked to is six years old. If you follow the link Cillizza uses, you don’t get sent to the site of the American Conservative Union. No, you get sent to Vote Smart. The page Cillizza linked to has data only up until 2011.
Here’s a link to the actual American Conservative Union scorecard for Arizona federal legislators. Flake’s lifetime score is now 93.07. That’s four points lower than the 97 percent that Cillizza cited. But if you look closer in 2016, and 2015 Flake scored a 79 according to the ACU ratings. Much lower than the 97. Further back in 2014 his score was a 92, but it was a 71 in 2013. So in the four years that he was graded as a senator, Flake had three C ratings. Flake’s Liberty Score® is F, 53 percent (PDF).
If Cillizza had been paying attention to Twitter he would have seen the ACU reminding people of Flake’s slide over the past few days.
As Senator, Flake’s score is 80.25% over 4 years. (2013-16).
— ACU (@ACUConservative) October 25, 2017
For using whatever quick link he could find with erroneous data in it, CNN’s Cillizza earns the not-so-rare 5 Banana Award, which pays homage to CNN lecturing the world on what is a banana and what is an apple.
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Robert Eno is the director of research for Conservative Review. He is a conservative from deep blue Massachusetts but now lives in Greenville, SC.