To his great credit, the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler continues to hold the White House responsible for spreading sequester falsehoods. This morning, Kessler did what good reporters are supposed to do: fact-checked a White House claim — again about Capitol Hill janitors — and reported the fact that it was 100% false. What a concept.
At a news conference last Friday, President Obama claimed that, “starting tomorrow,” the “folks cleaning the floors at the Capitol” had “just got a pay cut” because of the automatic federal spending cuts known as the sequester.
The president very quickly earned Four Pinocchios for that statement, especially after a senior officials at the Architect for the Capitol (AOC), who employ janitors on the House side, and the Sergeant at Arms (SAA), who employ janitors on the Senate side, issued statements saying the president’s comments were not true.
Still, the White House has kept up its spin offensive, claiming that a cut in “overtime” was a de facto pay cut and thus the president was right — or at least not wrong.
So, we wondered: How much overtime do Capitol Hill janitors actually make?
I don’t want to give away the rest of the plot, but let’s just say this particular tale ends with four Pinnochios.
The media holding a sitting president accountable shouldn’t be news. But when it comes to Obama, this is all brand new. Kessler’s one of the too few in media assuming this new role. Let’s just hope he keeps it up and that there’s some kind of “honest reporter” virus going around that others catch.
I should also add that, while I’m no fan of media fact-checkers, if we are going to be plagued with them, it should be within this realm of black and white. In their zeal to damage Republicans, Kessler and other “fact-checkers” too often do the partisan hustle and move into the arena of opinion and interpretation. These recent Obama’s busts, however, are black and white. Either what the White House is selling is true or it is not.
If there’s a role for fact-checkers, the arena of black and white should be it.
This kind of nonsense has to stop.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC