by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Washington Post will no longer maintain a database of President Joe Biden’s false and misleading claims, executive fact checker Glenn Kessler announced this week.
The paper, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, will continue to fact check statements from Biden and others. Kessler, for example, recently challenged Sen. Tim Scott’s (R., S.C.) claim that his grandfather—a black farmer who grew up in South Carolina during the Great Depression—did not lead a particularly privileged life.
Kessler has determined that Biden does not lie enough—he’s more of a “flub” kind of guy; an old geezer who’s trying his best—to extend the database of presidential mistruths beyond his first 100 days in office. The Post‘s readers, meanwhile, are presumably less interested in fact checks that don’t involve Donald Trump (or any Republican), so the decision makes sense from a business perspective.
The move is the latest example of a journalistic organization abandoning a crucial “accountability” project in the post-Trump era. It could also be related to the so-called burnout many professional journalists have complained about in recent weeks. The New York Times announced last week, for instance, that Taylor Lorenz and other employees would get special days off for “exhaustion” in 2021.
The Post‘s motto is “Democracy dies in darkness.”
Media outlets covering for Biden? I’m certain you’re shocked. Recall an earlier “Locker Room” entry, which argued that “kid-gloves treatment of Biden tarnishes media.”
The great comedian Chris Farley had a recurring “Saturday Night Live” sketch in which he nervously and incompetently interviewed celebrities. “Remember when you were with the Beatles? … That was awesome!” he “asked” Paul McCartney in 1993, after fidgeting for a suitably awkward amount of time. “Yeah … it was,” replied McCartney, who played it straight.
That happened for real last Thursday, but without any self-awareness or comedy, when the entire White House Press Corps either effusively praised or more-than-gently handled President Joe Biden for the duration of his first press conference.