Coming Up, Four Years Of Slumber

Glenn Kessler is the “fact checker” at the Washington Post. That means that for the last four years, whenever President Trump said something, Kessler would parrot the Democratic Party line in opposition to it, and allege that Trump was “lying.” That practice will cease, of course, now that we have a Democratic president:

Back on January 16, Kessler explained in a CNN appearance why he won’t keep a list of alleged lies from Biden. “I assume the Biden presidency will be a lot like the Obama presidency, and that they will be responsive, and will be able to quickly back up what they’re saying,” he told host Victor Blackwell.

So, like pretty much all other political journalists, Kessler will be able to take a four-year vacation, basically just checking in now and then to applaud the Biden/Harris administration. Although, to be fair, he may have to spend some time “fact checking” Mitch McConnell and other D.C. Republicans.

Here is what I find funny in all of this: for the last four years, the Post, under Kessler’s direction, has maintained a database of alleged “false and misleading statements” by President Trump. The count? 30,573.

Ponder that for a moment. Trump was president for four years, or 1,461 days. That means that the Post identified an average of 21 “false and misleading statements” for every day Trump was president. Although, to be fair, they probably started “fact checking” Trump during the primary season, so maybe it was only 19 statements per day over that longer time.

But still: the obsessiveness of the Post’s effort is remarkable. How many full-time employees pored over every word Trump spoke or wrote, looking for statements they could disagree with? I eventually abandoned the effort as a sisyphean task, but for a while I followed “fact checkers” like Kessler and formed my own judgment about who was right. My conclusion was that when “fact checkers” disagreed with Trump, Trump was right most of the time, and when he was wrong, the point was generally trivial.

I don’t have to worry about doing anything similar for the next few years. Rip Van Kessler and his fellow “fact checkers” are about to take a long, long vacation.