In a stunning confession Tuesday, Glenn Kessler, editor of the embattled Washington Post’s fact check column, admitted that the Post’s fact-check findings “are subjective.” Kessler was responding to the litany of complaints surrounding his partisan attack againt Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. Although the Post’s fact check column verified Fiorina’s claim that she had once been a secretary, Kessler (who openly taunts Republicans) still awarded her three Pinocchios.
Kessler’s lengthy rationalization is essentially a confession that finally proves what many of us have been saying for years: that Kessler and the Post have been abusing the imprimatur of fact-checking as a partisan weapon to push a left-leaning agenda. Opinion editorials written by Kessler and his colleagues are treated as “fact checks,” which makes them potent weapons against the Republican Party.
Kessler claims that his subjective hatchet job on Fiorina was not partisan and cites as an example a similar fact check against President Obama. This is yet another lie, which I’ll expose below.
First, here are the highlights from Kessler’s long overdue confession: [emphasis mine throughout]:
We examined the claim and the message it represents to the average voter — not based on two separate pieces of fact. In this case, Fiorina presents her “secretary to CEO” story as a uniquely American one, emblematic of the American dream, and leaves the impression that she worked her way up to the latter from the bottom rungs of an industry. …
Pinocchio ratings inherently are subjective, and we often find it difficult to reach a decision. …
In this case, the [Fiorina] fact check appeared similar to another Three Pinocchio rating, which we gave President Obama in 2012 for a campaign video narrated by Tom Hanks, concerning his mother’s fight with an insurance company. The sequence of comments in this video suggested this scenario: Obama’s mother had cancer. An insurance company would not cover her because it considered her cancer as a pre-existing condition. She died of something preventable.
Separately, the three facts were accurate. But we examined the message it sent to viewers[.]
Just as it was a lie when Kessler assured Breitbart News readers six months ago that by the end of the year Democrats and Republicans would be target equally by his column (this turned out to be wildly untrue), Kessler’s description of his own fact check regarding Obama’s 2012 campaign video is just as false.
In the video in question, as Kessler pointed out at the time, things are said by Barack and Michelle Obama that are objectively untrue:
- The president says cancer “drained all her resources.” (Health insurance paid for most of her bills, so this is not the case of someone being bankrupted by tens of thousands of dollars in bills. Her salary of $82,500 in 1995 was the equivalent of $123,000 today, but Scott says she had little savings.)
- Michelle Obama says Dunham “never really had good, consistent insurance.” (It is unclear what she means by this, except maybe that Dunham had different jobs, some of which did not provide insurance. But Dunham had good health coverage when the cancer was discovered.)
These are objectively false claims. Some of Kessler’s fact check is based on “misimpressions,” but the most startling thing is that despite two provable falsehoods in the Obama campaign ad, Kessler still gave Obama a pretty sweet break by awarding him only 3 Pinocchios, the same number he gave Fiorina for claiming she went from secretary to CEO after Kessler confirmed she went from secretary to CEO.
It is also not a small detail that in a fact check column published just yesterday, Kessler admitted to not yet having all the facts prior to awarding Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump 4 Pinocchios over his just-released tax plan.
Thankfully, Kessler has finally admitted that facts have nothing to do with his awarding of Pinocchios. Unfortunately, though, the fraud of this fact check column will continue — will continue to target Republicans 2-to-1 with…
“Pinocchio ratings [that] inherently are subjective” and “not based on … pieces of fact.”
During the 2012 presidential election, ads were released stating the fact that President Obama did not visit Israel during his first term. Kessler admitted that Obama did not visit Israel during his first term and still awarded the ads with two Pinocchios.
Kessler would make for a fine left-wing columnist. As a fact checker, though, he is a documented partisan, and now by his own admission we know that his fact check column doesn’t let facts get in the way of his “subjective” opinion.
Democrats sure got it good.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC