The notion that the press offers “independent fact checkers” took another blow when Washington Post “Fact Checker” Glenn Kessler appeared on The Daily Show on Comedy Central shortly after the debate Monday night to make fun of Donald Trump as a checker-playing bozo, while fact-checking Hillary Clinton is “like playing chess with a real pro.”
His Comedy Central interviewer, Jordan Klepper, recently described Trump’s tweets as “The petty scratch of a bathroom stall.”
JORDAN KLEPPER: So compare Hillary and Donald Trump.
GLENN KESSLER: In terms of fact checking – Hillary Clinton is like playing chess with a real pro. Fact checking Donald Trump is like playing checkers -- [Laughter] with someone that’s not very good at it. It's pretty boring. [Laughter]
KLEPPER: You find Donald Trump boring.
KESSLER: Yes! His facts are so easily disproven, there's no joy in the hunt.
Klepper then noted Kessler rates the politicians on a scale of Pinocchios, and put on air a chart that showed that Hillary has received the worst Four Pinocchios rating in 15 percent of claims, while Trump drew that verdict in 65 percent of claims. A look at the Post total shows they have just six of the worst rulings for Hillary, and 50 for Trump. As we've said, Trump has demonstrated an elastic relationship approach to the facts, but so has Hillary Clinton. It's just that "independent fact checkers" tend to overlook it.
Even Kessler's Twitter page celebrates how the comic strip Doonesbury used him to suggest Trump is a far, far bigger liar than Hillary is.
So Klepper played cute by suggesting all conservatives don’t really believe in reality, just their reality....as if conservatives were the moral relativists.
KLEPPER: This sounds like just classic liberal bias.
KESSLER: No! Facts have to have a basis in reality.
KLEPPER: But whose reality, liberal reality or conservative reality?
KESSLER: No. There is no liberal or conservative reality. There's just reality.
KLEPPER: Why should we trust you?
KESSLER: I'm completely dispassionate politically. I just look at the facts.
KLEPPER: You have no passion whatsoever.
KESSLER: I did not say I have no passion. I said I am dispassionate.
KLEPPER: Really? You’re telling me if I leaned over and kissed you on the mouth right now you wouldn't feel something?
KESSLER: Well, that's not about the issues.
So much for the dignity of journalists. Then Klepper spoke on behalf of the liberal audience watching all this: “But do people even give a [bleep] about facts? I mean, half the country thinks what Donald Trump says is totally cool.” Kessler replied: “I write the Fact Checks. It’s up to voters to decide what to do with it.”
Klepper's segment was designed to underline Kessler's independence and dispassion. Wrong! Appearing on a smug liberal comedy show undercuts whatever PR value Kessler thought he was adding.
See Paul Mirengoff's reaction at Power Line to Kessler's debate assessment: "Kessler, the fact-checker, doesn’t seem even to understand the difference between a factual question, a matter of opinion, and a mixed question of fact and opinion."
[Hat tip: GrizzlyGraham90]