WaPo Fact Checker Goes Full-Orwell: Facts Earn Pinocchios to Protect Obama
Apparently Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler has decided to go the route of the thoroughly discredited Politifact and make a complete and public fool of himself -- all, of course, in a crusade to protect Barack Obama.
In today's Post, Kessler takes on two ads critical of Obama and the attention he has paid (or hasn't) to Israel, specifically his decision not to visit Israel as president.
Here are the key criticisms Kessler attempts to protect Obama from -- the numbering and responses are mine:
1. A pro-Israel group last week began running ads knocking President Obama for failing to visit Israel. The ad is filled with the sounds of Chinese gongs and Arabian sounds, and postcard-like images showing Obama in his world travels, often arm-in-arm with Arab leaders.
ME: It is simply a fact that Obama did not visit Israel in his first term.
2. Then, on Sunday, the Romney campaign echoed this charge with its own ad also calling attention to Obama not visiting Israel as president. …
ME: Again, it is simply a fact that Obama did not visit Israel in his first term.
3. The Emergency Committee [for Israel] ad also suggests that Obama has visited Arab countries rather than Israel. …
ME: It is simply a fact that Obama did visit Arab countries while choosing to not visit Israel.
4. The ad also incorrectly says Obama has “traveled all over the Middle East.” Obama visited just Turkey and Iraq in April 2009, and Egypt and Saudi Arabia in June 2009.
ME: Kessler's assertion that Obama visiting four Middle East countries in two years does not qualify as "travel[ling] all over the Middle East" is his opinion, not a fact.
For criticizing Obama in these four areas, Kessler awards two Pinocchios to both the Romney campaign and The Emergency Committee for Israel. In other words, Kessler calls them liars for stating FACTS.
In order to protect Obama from these FACTS, in a piece of pathetic dissembling Orwell would appreciate, Kessler pulls together only the information that backs a conclusion I'm willing to bet he very much wanted to come to. And by doing so, under the phony shield of a fact checker, he attempts to bail Obama out and declares Romney and The Emergency Committee liars -- liars for stating FACTS.
If Kessler wants to write an opinion column refuting these ads, that's perfectly acceptable. But to puff himself up as a fact checker and do this is not only arrogant, it's dishonest.
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