by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Far more troubling was the Washington Post‘s fact check of Vice President Mike Pence’s claim that “There are more Americans working today than ever before in American history.” Now, a fact check of that statement means you check whether it’s true that more Americans work today than ever before. A reasonable person would suspect it has a high chance of being true if for no other reason than there are more Americans living today than ever before.
In fact, it is factually correct to say that more Americans are working now than ever before. The Washington Post admits this, showcases the numbers (124 million, up from 65 million in 1968), and says Pence is “technically correct.” So they give him, quite amazingly, three Pinocchios, their little metric that summarizes their analysis of the truthfulness of the statement. Then they admit they wanted to give him four Pinocchios but were constrained by the fact that what he said was true. I’m not joking.
This purported “fact” “check,” then, is not a fact check. Not even close. It’s an “I wish Republicans would say things differently” check. Or an “I wish Republican politicians would not give political speeches” check. Or a “Count the ways journalists love Obama” check. …
… Okay, so if a true statement gets three — almost four — Pinnochios, what does Warren’s unsubstantiated claim of being Native American get? Eleventy billion Pinocchios? Twenty gazillion? Just the maximum of four?
If you guessed that the media would run interference, obfuscate, and decline to judge the veracity of her unsubstantiated claim, congratulations, you’re one of the millions of Americans who has finally figured out how this game works.
Last year, during the height of Trump’s insult game against Warren, the Post “fact checker” ran a fact check on Trump, headlined “Why Donald Trump calls Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’.” The fact check admitted there is precisely “no documented proof of Warren’s self-proclaimed, partial Native American heritage” but then concluded the fact check with a refusal to fact check. “We will not rate Trump’s claim, but urge readers to look into it on their own and decide whether Trump’s attacks over Warren’s background have merit.”
As the Washington Free Beacon’s Brent Scher wrote, “‘No rating’ seems to mean ‘Trump is right and we don’t want to admit it’.”