WashPost Fact Checkers Rush to Provide 'Context' for Obama Clip: Exaggerate Severity of Romney Campaign 'Fibs' in the Process
It doesn't seem to matter what the president or vice president say on their re-election campaign trail. Even their most outrageous statements like Biden's "put y'all back in chains" remark are given the benefit of the doubt by the supposedly non-partisan media. More often than not, we're told by liberal media "fact checkers" that Republicans end up using them out of proper "context."
Take for example, the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler who furiously spun in Obama's favor in a fact-check column on Thursday that dealt with a comment from 1998 by then-State Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Eager to slam Romney even though his campaign has not made an ad on the matter -- nor did Kessler quote anything Romney or a Romney surrogate said about it per se -- Kessler gave the Romney campaign a failing grade of four Pinocchios for using it as evidence against the incumbent. Claiming to be fair and balanced in the past, the Post staffer went on the defensive for what seems to be his preferred presidential candidate.
Just as we have not been very impressed about many of the Obama campaign’s claims about Mitt Romney’s business career many years ago, we were not initially that impressed with the Romney campaign’s effort to dredge up a 14-year-old quote to demonstrate that President Obama wants to “redistribute wealth.” The clip was so old — he was just a state senator — and the context was rather unclear. Also, it appeared as if the YouTube version was clipped in mid-thought.
The rating system is based on a scale of what is fact or fiction, and the half-truths and embellishments that are in between. Kessler's problem with the YouTube clip was one missing sentence, one that somehow redeems Obama for his previous statement.
...how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution, because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody's got a shot. How do we pool resources at the same time as we decentralize delivery systems in ways that both foster competition, can work in the marketplace, and can foster innovation at the local level and can be tailored to particular communities.
By excluding the last sentence, Kessler thought this was a "whopper" of a lie. Yet according to his own scale, this doesn't make any sense. "One Pinnocchio" statements are marked by "some shading of the facts and selective telling of the truth. Some omissions and exaggerations, but no outright falsehoods." Two Pinocchio-defined statements are said to be "significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved, but not necessarily." Three Pinocchios, as Kessler notes, are merited when there is "significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions."
By his own rating system, at worst this only deserved two. What's more, keep in mind that this has not yet been made into a campaign ad, and yet Kessler and his staff eagerly set to excoriating the Romney camp, giving them the worst-possible score on their Pinocchio scale.