Tom Cotton Gets the Last Laugh After a 'Correction' Calls Into Question the Entire 'Fact-Checking' Industry

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool

Tom Cotton has been doing a number on the “fact-checkers” the last year or so. You may recall that The Washington Post had to offer a correction after they initially proclaimed Cotton’s comments on the COVID-19 lab leak theory had been “debunked” by the “experts.” That wasn’t true then, and it’s certainly not true now, but the Post wanted its partisan dunk (and to simp for China, as is their usual pattern), so they left that false report hanging out there for the better part of a year.

Now, the Post has been caught with its pants down again. The outlet’s top “fact-checker,” Glenn Kessler, had previously written a denunciation of Cotton’s claim that the Boston Bomber would get a stimulus check via the Democrats’ boondoggle COVID “relief” bill.

Here’s what Cotton said.

(Tom Cotton): Dylann Roof murdered nine people. He’s on federal death row. He’ll be getting a $1,400 stimulus check as part of the Democrats’ ‘COVID relief’ bill.

Kessler, being the absolute hack that he is, rushed to proclaim that statement false, giving Cotton multiple “Pinocchios” in the final rating. Much of Kessler’s “fact-check” was tortured nonsense, attempting to say the statement was untruthful due to a “lack of context” and such.

Yet, in the end, Cotton was completely correct. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev did receive a $1,400 stimulus check. That left Kessler scrambling to explain away the fact that he “fact-checked” something, including making several highly partisan attacks on Cotton, without having all facts.

Of note here is that Cotton did not “predict” anything. He was making his assertion based on the known facts at the time that were dictated by the language of the Democrats’ bill and a previous judicial ruling. Republicans offered an amendment to fix the issue but were denied. Kessler’s attempt to pretend that Cotton just got lucky here is hackish garbage. Cotton knew the facts and Kessler didn’t. It’s really that simple.

Let’s also note that Kessler only changed his article after Cotton’s office sent this scathing rebuke with the receipts.

“You portrayed Senator Cotton’s amendment as pure political theater—’not serious legislation’—warning of an outcome that, according to your article, was very unlikely to happen,” Arnold wrote. “Now that it has in fact happened, we’re asking that you update your story to include that Senator Cotton’s concerns did come true and that his amendment would have prevented it.” He added that “we also disagree with your claims that Senator Cotton’s efforts were solely political, designed only for campaign ads etc., instead of based on legitimate policy disagreements.” He noted, for instance, the use of the phrase “scaremongering.”

Yet, instead of just giving a full retraction, Kessler has chosen to dance around the lies he perpetrated with his article, lowering the rating to one Pinnochio while still claiming that Cotton’s comments lacked context. That’s just patently false in light of what we knew then and know now, and it’s another black mark on the reputation of the Post. If you can’t count on one of the nation’s leading newspapers to tell the full truth about something like this, what can you count on them for? That’s largely a rhetorical question at this point.

This episode once again calls into question the entire “fact-checking” industry. It’s always been a leftwing con, whereby undue authority is placed on someone’s opinion because they claim the title of “fact-checker.” Yet, the limits they’ll go to in order to mislead have been pushed into the realm of absurdity over the last several years. Kessler should retract his article and stop playing partisan games.