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In another embarrassing setback for The Washington Post, it was forced to issue another correction while attempting to “gotcha” Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) with a fact check.
When Cotton predicted that convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would receive a Covid-19 stimulus check, The Washington Post tried to pounce, claiming that this was just another example of Republican polemics and conspiracy theories.
Cotton had Tweeted in March about a vote to prevent prisoners from receiving stimulus checks, disparaging Democrats who had voted against it:
On March 6 at 10:12am, the Senate voted on an amendment to exclude prisoners—like the Boston Bomber—from getting stimulus checks.
Every Democrat voted to send checks to prisoners, and every Republican voted to stop prisoners from getting checks.
Here’s the vote: pic.twitter.com/3q5Bw1z0um
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) March 8, 2021
This had prompted Glenn Kessler, fact-checker at the Washington Post, to award Cotton with two “Pinocchios,” presumably a milder form of calling him an outright liar.
Then, it turned out Tsarnaev had received a stimulus payment, and outraged officials demanded that it be placed in the trust fund he owes towards the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing – currently at $101 million.
This forced Kessler to issue a correction, conceding the point, and saying that Cotton was now only 1 “Pinocchio,” the lowest grade of liar in the Post’s lexicon:
It turns out Tom Cotton predicted correctly — Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston bomber, did get a stimulus check. So we’ve adjusted the Pinocchio rating on this 2021 fact check. https://t.co/L87j8TvFjn
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) January 6, 2022
This isn’t the first time the Post has had to admit defeat to Cotton after scourging him for suggesting that the Covid-19 pandemic was started as a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China. Now that the press has warmed up to the idea somewhat, and reports from the Wall Street Journal that Wuhan scientists had become seriously ill with Covid-like symptoms in November 2019, just before the pandemic started making news, Kessler was forced to issue a correction.
Twitter took a moment to relentlessly mock Kessler:
Seems completely true to me and you’re just using the “lack of context” as an excuse to not admit you were wrong. Tsarnaev received a check! What happened to it afterwards may be OK, but how much in US resources have been expended to get it there? “Context”!
— Craig Beam (@CraigBeam1) January 6, 2022
So when you checked the facts, you didn’t actually check the facts? Isn’t that just an opinion column you’ve got yourself then?
— El Capitan ‘Murica (@ElCapitanMurica) January 7, 2022
One noted that at the time it was written, Kessler and the Post essentially were trying to prove something that was not falsifiable:
What value is there in a “fact checker” if they attempt to check a statement that cannot yet be verified? When the fact checker is wrong – even when they apologize (and this is not a direct apology), they cannot undo the damage from insisting only they are the arbiters of truth.
— Keith Trauner (@kt_valueguy) January 7, 2022
Mike Cernovich jumped in to ask why the Post hadn’t fact-checked Democrats like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in an easily falsifiable, false claim:
Did you fact check Pelosi’s claim crime earlier today that Billy Evans died as a result of January 6th, when your own paper shows that claim is false?https://t.co/I3CGeNDs73
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) January 7, 2022
Nobody knows the future for certain, but it would be a reasonable guess that given the credibility of The Washington Post in general and Kessler in particular, it is likely to include more corrections.
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