Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at rally in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Perhaps the most noxious and useless elements in the so-called profession of journalism are the “fact checkers.” Rather than representing some kind of ombudsman or referee contesting extraordinary claims made by politicians or governments or anyone who wishes to benefit from shading or curving the truth a bit, they have been completely weaponized in the service of the agenda of the Democrat party and whatever Democrat candidate that happens to be running at the moment.
Some, like Snopes, has so thoroughly beclowned itself in its transparent jihad to get a Christian parody site, Babylon Bee, deplatformed that they are probably on the slippery slide to extinction. Anyone quoting Snopes in a not ironic way deserves whatever verbal abuse comes their way. The equally partisan PolitiFact basically has veto power over what content a site, particularly a conservative one such as ours, can put on Facebook without risking the ability to share the material. By way of example, Politifact has fact checked an opinion by Ted Cruz and another opinion by Erick Erickson and a financial statement released by the Clinton Foundation that was used by Sean Davis at The Federalist to make the case that that organization is nothing but a RICO violation. Naturally, because of the politics of the people being fact checked, they were all classified as false. They also gave a “Mostly True” rating to Obama’s “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor” claim which puts them in the category of being the only person in the English-speaking world who believed that claim. But one of the most notorious of the bunch is the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler.
Kessler is a blatant partisan who is famous for contorting himself to award a “false” rating to conservatives and Republicans. Even the inoffensive and milquetoast Mitt Romney ran afoul of this intrepid Defender of Truth and received a rating of True but False…this is what happens when you land a telling blow but the Democrats want to dismiss it base on your intentions.
With that in mind, it is obvious that the Bernie Sanders candidacy is not highly favored by the Democrat powers-that-be because, perhaps for the first time, Kessler has actively gone after a Democrat figure using the tactics he has historically reserved for conservatives and Republicans. Here I’m just going to quote liberally from a whinging letter from the “senior adviser” to Bernie 2020 because the tone is as important as the substance.
I am writing in regards to the Washington Post Fact Checker’s Aug. 28 analysis, headlined: “Sanders’s flawed statistic: 500,000 medical bankruptcies a year.” We demand that the Post immediately issue a retraction and inform its readers of this decision.
The overall premise of the piece is absurd. The Post’s Fact Checker issued Senator Sanders “three pinocchios” for accurately citing a peer-reviewed editorial published in the American Journal of Public Health. The Post even notes that the author of the editorial confirmed that Senator Sanders had accurately cited his work.
As Rolling Stone pointed out: “To dole out Pinocchios for a good faith effort to translate public health data into a stump speech is journalistically obtuse.”
Furthermore, the Post’s Fact Checker asserted: “The AJPH editorial did not undergo the same peer-reviewed editing process as a research article.” This is also not true. The Fact Checker has been informed of this error and has thus far refused to correct it.
The give Kessler his due, the AJPH is pretty much a liberal rag where just about anything can be published if you have the correct political spin. I guy I worked with was a co-author on this paper that proved, conclusively, that Americans are healthier than Pakistanis. True peer review would have involved hysterical laughter and bladder, if not bowel, evacuation. Back to the narrative.
On June 27th, the Washington Post published a “fact check” story by Glenn Kessler about Senator Sanders correctly stating that “millions of Americans are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive.” Kessler asserted that the claim was “misleading” even though he admitted “Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that nearly 8 million people hold more than one job.” To be clear: 8 million Americans are accurately described by Senator Sanders as “millions of Americans” — and yet Kessler’s false assertion that this statement of fact was “misleading” was never retracted or corrected by the Washington Post.
Clearly, this is “true but false” and “I don’t like your implications.” And, from a paper that pimped the Occupy Wall Street bullsh** for all that it was worth this and the next fact check are pretty hilarious:
Similarly, on June 28th, the Washington Post published another “fact check” by Mr. Kessler about Senator Sanders correctly stating that three people own more wealth than the bottom half of the country. Kessler acknowledged that Senator Sanders’ statement was “based on numbers that add up.” However, he then asserted that because “people in the bottom half have essentially no wealth” the “comparison is not especially meaningful” — which is not merely subjective and tendentious, but also totally inaccurate. The fact that three people own so much wealth while tens of millions have absolutely no wealth is especially meaningful to working class Americans who are struggling to make ends meet.
The takeaway from this is that Bernie is scaring the right people. I’m not sure whether that would be Warren or Biden (I lean towards Biden because of the DC roots and because Sanders has to be dirtied up on his “truthiness” to enable a tu quoque from Biden’s camp. The second-order takeaway is that fact checking has been thoroughly corrupted and weaponized and now doesn’t serve the purpose of correcting the record or combating lies, it is simply a line of partisan attack designed to render people and arguments illegitimate.
Welcome, Bernie, to what we’ve been dealing with for a couple of decades.