WashPost Fact Checker Wails the Trump Beat Is 'Incredibly Depressing'

January 7th, 2020 2:07 PM

Washington Post "Fact Checker" Glenn Kessler was one of many liberal pundits tapped by the Columbia Journalism Review to assess the challenges of Campaign 2020.

Poor Kessler found it "incredibly depressing" that Trump never seems to change his misleading ways after being flagged 15,000 times by the Post: 

KESSLER: The database of Trump’s false claims is a very depressing duty. It just drags you down to have to go through it, like reading one of the president’s rally speeches. Just one speech will have 60 false and misleading claims, most of which you’ve already fact-checked and said were false. Just to see it there again, over and over again, it’s incredibly depressing. 

Surely, Kessler must hate Trump's energetic overstatements, like his allegedly impeachable phone call with the Ukrainian president was "perfect." Boasting is the Pinocchio Danger Zone.

Kessler regularly reaches for the Pinocchios for Trump saying  America has "the strongest economy in our country's history," arguing "By just about any important measure, the economy today is not doing as well as it did under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson or Bill Clinton — or Ulysses S. Grant."

Kessler was much happier about Team Obama, because the Post crew was aggressively flattered and spun to get out of the "Pinocchios."

KESSLER: I’ve covered just about every presidential administration since Reagan and this administration has the least fidelity to truth and honesty of any I’ve encountered. They’re generally uncooperative in terms of responding to inquiries. There’s not even an effort or a pretense to have a daily briefing.

The president sets the tone and this president has little adherence at all to keeping the facts straight and it just extends throughout the US government. In some ways it makes it easier because they don’t respond. We’re always willing to take into account the commentary of people that we’re fact-checking and look at their evidence and see where it came from. 

The Obama people hated getting Pinocchios and they would send you the names of 10 different professors to back them up, and they would be calling up until 11:30 at night making their case to prevent the president from getting the Pinocchio. They were very, very active in terms of responding to this stuff.

Kessler has an annoying habit of skipping Pinocchios after Democrats sweet-talk him on the phone, and say they didn't mean to mangle facts.

The Post never found Obama to be a dangerous liar that would cause democracy to die in darkness. Kessler noted in 2017 "The Fact Checker started during the 2008 campaign and then went on hiatus for the first two years of President Obama’s presidency before becoming a permanent Washington Post feature in 2011 [ahem, after Republicans won the midterms]. All told, we’ve fact-checked more than 250 statements by Obama." 

So 250 statements in six years (plus the 2008 campaign). By contrast, the Post boasts they're now reviewing 1,100 claims a month by Trump.