WaPo fact-checker slammed for investigating Tim Scott’s ancestry, ignoring VP’s ‘Fweedom’ plagiarism claim

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The Washington Post’s so-called “fact-checker,” Glenn Kessler, is facing heated backlash over the bias of his so-called “fact-checks.”

At issue is a particular fact-check published by Kessler on Friday that accused Sen. Tim Scott, a black man, of not being entirely truthful when he claims that his family went from “cotton to Congress.”

The claim is rooted in the fact that, despite Scott’s grandfather, Artis Ware, being an illiterate cotton picker, it was he who had inspired the senator to reach for the stars and one day become a sitting Republican member of Congress.

Listen to the senator’s story for yourself below:

As Scott, a South Carolina senator, explains in the video above, after his parents got divorced, he came to live with his grandfather. During his time there, he witnessed his grandfather reading the newspaper every single day.

But there was just one catch …

“It was 20 years later before I realized that my grandfather could not read. He wanted us to have a model to follow of someone who was so engaged in world affairs that his two grandsons would understand the power of reading and the power of education,” Scott explains.

“It’s because of his example that the Scott family went from picking cotton when he was a kid to picking a seat in Congress, so from cotton to Congress in his lifetime because the power of education is truly the closest thing to magic in America,” he adds.

But according to Kessler, who’s white, this claim, which is also documented in Scott’s autobiography, lacks “nuance.”

“Scott tells a tidy story packaged for political consumption, but a close look shows how some of his family’s early and improbable success gets flattened and written out of his biography. Against heavy odds, Scott’s ancestors amassed relatively large areas of farmland, a mark of distinction in the Black community at the time,” Kessler wrote.

“Scott, moreover, does not mention that his grandfather worked on his father’s farm — a farm that was expanded through land acquisitions even during the Great Depression, when many other Black farmers were forced out of business,” he continued.

The underlying insinuation is that Scott isn’t an example of a black man going from nothing to something — but rather one of a “privileged” guy taking advantage of the “privileges” afforded to him by luck and happenstance.

But according to conservative commentator Erick Erickson, it’s this take — Kessler’s so-called “fact-check” — that truly lacks nuance:

Kessler’s take also seems to lack consistency.

Not once has he ever examined Vice President Kamala Harris’s widely questioned, longtime claim that she’d cried out for “fweedom” as a young baby.

“My mother used to laugh when she told the story about a time I was fussing as a toddler: She leaned down to me and asked, ‘Kamala, what’s wrong? What do you want?’ And I wailed back, ‘Fweedom,'” she wrote in her 2010 book, “Smart on Crime.”

She went on to repeat this claim ad nauseam, including on television. But according to a lengthy list of critics, not including Kessler, there’s a strong likelihood this claim was plagiarized from the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.:

Kessler did at least address Massachusetts’ Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s since-debunked claim that she’s part Native American. But he addressed it by giving it credence.

“Warren’s Native American DNA, as identified in the test, may not be large, but it’s wrong to say it’s as little as 1/1024th or that it’s less than the average European American,” he defensively wrote in 2018.

The dichotomy between how he treats Democrats and how he treats Republicans, particularly Republicans of color, hasn’t gone unnoticed.



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