May 14, 2013

Is Glenn Kessler evening up the Pinocchios — giving Obama 4 Pinocchios after over-Pinocchioing Issa with 4?

I'm skeptical! I appreciate WaPo's Fact Checker taking on Obama's May 13th statement about Benghazi — "The day after it happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism." Kesser assembles all the relevant quotes and makes fine comparisons, pointing out the discrepancies. This is very well done.

But 4 Pinocchios? That's the most Pinocchios given in the Fact Checker Pinocchio system:
One Pinocchio = Some shading of the facts. Selective telling of the truth. Some omissions and exaggerations, but no outright falsehoods.

Two Pinocchios = Significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily. A politician can create a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people.

Three Pinocchios = Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.

Four Pinocchios = Whoppers.
I've read Kessler's analysis — and you should too before commenting — and it supports a 2 Pinocchio rating. Even to go to 3 is a stretch.

What kind of game is going on here?  On May 7th, I wrote:
Last fall, before the election, Glenn Kessler gave Susan Rice a mere 2 Pinocchios for her infamous 5-talk-shows delivery of the miserably wrong talking points on the Benghazi effect. More recently, he gave 4 Pinocchios to Darrell Issa for suggesting that Hillary Clinton's signature on a document means she approved it.

Now, Kessler looks at the new information about the talking points....
Kessler had a new column on the Susan Rice 5-talk-shows lie, and but he didnot readjust the number beyond the original 2. Absurd!

And here's Dick Durbin on "Face the Nation" last Sunday:
[W]hen the Washington Post looked at the assertion as to whether Hillary Clinton should be held responsible and what came out at the hearing, they awarded it four Pinocchios, which means the lowest level of credibility that you can possibly have. It is unsubstantiated, and yet, the witch hunt continues.
Those Pinocchios become talking points. Kessler's fact-checking is high profile and powerful, but his game is ruined if it becomes apparent that he's pulling for one side. He needs to appear to be a neutral arbiter or the system of Pinocchios loses all meaning.

But suddenly loading 4 Pinocchios onto Obama? To my eye, it looks like Kessler is trying to rebalance a 4 that should have been a 2 with another 4 that should have been a 2.

I'm skeptical!

68 comments:

drozz said...

agreed. i would have started with two, but thrown in the extra pinocchio for the youtube theory parroted by the regime for the two weeks after benghazi

bpm4532 said...

Regardless of whether you sign your name or you authorize someone else to sign or affix your signature, you are completely responsible and liable.

drozz said...

hockey refs do this all the time.

Paddy O said...

He had his fun with Issa, now he's turned into an ass.

Patrick said...

You're skeptical? Why not the "I'm skeptical" tag? I'm skeptical that you're skeptical when there's not "I'm skeptical" tag.

Pogo said...

Choose one:
1) Playing catch-up.
2) Ashamed to learn they've been played all along.
3) Their business is dying. A Hail Mary to try to recapture conservative readers long gone.
4) Unable to be fair anymore; too little practice in the last 10 years.

Scott M said...

I just want to be a real boy.

Oso Negro said...

I suppose it is taking you some time to get your mind around the feast of corruption that the Obama Administration has laid on the table before the American public. Let us consider the offerings of this past week alone:

1) We finally begin to tuck into Benghazi, but just as our palate is adjusting to this, we get;
2) IRS misdeeds, ah, we know these flavors, a favorite of the Nixon era, but wait, there is more;
3) Wiretapping of journalists, a very delicate dish seldom served outside of more totalitarian regions!

Go ahead, give the extra Pinocchios a low rating. One's senses are too overwhelmed at present to deal with the entire table.

Hagar said...

Fox News ran the Monday clip, then clips of his previous statements in succession.
I would say 4 Pinocchios were merited.
Kind of reminded me of the Soviets back in the old days.

The video thing is a separate thing that still needs to be looked into to find out who, why, when, and how.
It was a most curious thing for them to come up with.

Kansas City said...

Ann, we are talking about a president of the Unite States who is an accomplished and repeated liar. We are talking about how he conned the American people to achieve re-election (which, suprisingly, he might have achieved even if he told the truth). Now, he continues and expands the lie six months later. Four pinochios is, in a sense, not a bad enough grade. You have to throw in his disdain for the American people. I have sympathy for politicians who mispeak. This is not mispeaking. It is calculated deception from the start.

Bob Ellison said...

I agree on all counts. It's a cover-up!

WaPo's Fact-Checker + Pinocchio system is fake. It's not designed to separate lies from truth; it's an attempt to revive and support the myth of completely unbiased journalism.

MikeDC said...

How about instead of compounding an error with another error, going back and publicly and vocally rescinding the previous errors.

You know, simply admit that what he called lies were actually truth.

If we want high-profile fact checking, it'd be fun to keep track of how often the fact-checker admits he was wrong in the first place.

Drago said...

AA: "Those Pinocchios become talking points. Kessler's fact-checking is high profile and powerful, but his game is ruined if it becomes apparent that he's pulling for one side."

More precisely, Kessler is obviously pulling for one side. As are all the "fact checkers" for the usual liberal/left wing media suspects.

These "fact checkers" are nothing more than the same liberal/left wing "journolisters" who have simply donned a new hat ("objective "fact checker!!") in order to continue skewing the reporting in ever more creative ways towards their favored party.

Gee, it would be a real shame if Kesslers obvious left leanings became so obvious that even the low-information voters noticed.

Drago said...

Hagar: "Kind of reminded me of the Soviets back in the old days."

Easy there Hagar. That kind of talk will make cookie swoon...

Pogo said...

In the USSR, the fact-checker was the guy airbrushing the photos.

Pogo said...

"What should we call a 'fact' today?"

Lem said...

Nielsen the lies?

MadisonMan said...

There is such as thing as 'overanalysis'

I'm laughing at Patrick's 801 AM comment.

Hagar said...

Cookie's idealism burns with a clear, blue, and gem-like flame.
He is like a holdover from the late 19th century, and should be protected and cherished.

bpm4532 said...

More important, what should we call high crimes and misdemeanors?

traditionalguy said...

I am skeptical that the WaPo wants to lose its friends in DCs establishment. Ergo: the DC establishment has shifted away from Barry Obama and is now Hillary Clinton.

The shear speed of this shift rates it 4 Earthquakes in my observer system.

Jay said...

Obama lied for 2 weeks.
Hillary Clinton lied.
Susan Rice lied.

They deserve 40 Pinocchio's.

Curious George said...

Does skeptical mean "an idiot"

Kansas City said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
El Pollo Raylan said...

Please Althouse. This pinocchio award stuff sounds like partisan BS. Can we please not waste time parsing it?

TosaGuy said...

Our national discourse involves Pinnochio, a rigid four-tiered system of analysis and talking points.

We are not a serious nation.

Matthew Sablan said...

Wait, a childish system is meaningless?

TosaGuy said...

Our national discourse involves Pinnochio, a rigid four-tiered system of analysis and talking points.

We are not a serious nation.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Althouse wrote: I've read Kessler's analysis — and you should too before commenting — and it supports a 2 Pinocchio rating. Even to go to 3 is a stretch.

No. It's a a silly game. Why should i play? Why should I be criticized for refusing to play? I can judge newspapers and their veracity against a lifetime of observation.

Henry said...

What a depressing job Glenn Kessler has. Imagine going to work every day to sift through the mendacity of nitwits.

Kansas City said...

Kessler is bright. His analysis today shows that, when he wants to be thorough and objective, he can be. Finally, someone has cited the clip that CBS withheld at the height of the controversy prior to the election, when Obama confirmed that he purposely avoided calling Benghazi terrorism. Of all the media's biased actions in favor of Obama, CBS hiding that clip when it would have made a difference is probably the clearest and most extreme example. If a network that foisted Dan Rahter and the phony Bush military records on us could be embarassed, they would be by getting caught on this.

The Kessler analysis is more important than the subjective assessment of pinochios. However, the four pinochios here is surprising and perhaps significant as indicating a change in the tide. Obama has reached the point where even a liberal friendly fact checker is not favoring him and is going out of his way to "correct" past favoratism. Kessler obviously did not need to wade back into thie issue, but he took the opportunity to do so. The likelihood that Obama would be a successful president was always very small, due to his inexperience and far left philosophy, but the media has held him up until now. I suspect Obama (and the country) are in for a long three plus years.

AllenS said...

I don't read Kessler's analysis. Ever. To do so would be reading a child's version of a game of Pinochio.

Scott M said...

The shear speed of this shift rates it 4 Earthquakes in my observer system.

Those would more accurately be labeled as 4 Dopplers.

AllenS said...

Kessler needs to use the AllenS rating system:

Lie
Big Lie
Fucking Big Lie

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jacksonjay said...


Now, I want to know what Mother Jones and David Corn have to say.

jr565 said...

The pinocchios are a joke. That might work for a movie ratings system , but coming up with a lie scale for politicians based on pinocchio just makes it sound like an entertainment gimmick. And now politicians are using pinocchios as talking points?
That would be like siskel and Ebert giving Obama care two thumbs up. Two thumbs up? Well it must be good.

Henry said...

The scale is childish. But it is interesting that Pinocchio's lying is mainly ass-covering. It's the cover-up that matters.

furious_a said...

To my eye, it looks like Kessler is trying to rebalance a 4 that should have been a 2 with another 4 that should have been a 2.

Kessler reads like a corrupt Olympics skating judge. I hate replay cameras, anyway.

Oso Negro said...

traditionalguy said...
I am skeptical that the WaPo wants to lose its friends in DCs establishment. Ergo: the DC establishment has shifted away from Barry Obama and is now Hillary Clinton.

The shear speed of this shift rates it 4 Earthquakes in my observer system.


Hmm... Could be you are on to something here. It is just a might suspicious that the IRS and wiretapping issues blossomed just about the time the dogs of Congress were about to go and sniff Hillary Clinton's aging cooter.

garage mahal said...

Is there a difference between “act of terror” and “act of terrorism”?

Yes! I give that 4 Holocausts.

rehajm said...

I read it and the hockey ref analogy is fitting. It sure looks and smells like a make up call. Of course if one were cynical one could say WaPo had the make-up call in the hopper all along biding time until the cloack on the wall read 'what difference, at this point, does it make?' It's not like there's an election going on or anything.

jr565 said...

Did Candy Crowley get the notice about the four Pinocchios? She might want to issue an apology for butting in to the debates to "correct" Romney about saying that Obama wasnt calling it terrorism.
Now that Obama's statement got FOUR PINOCCHIOS!
She must feel really dumb helping him carry out his four Pinocchio lie on national TV during a presidential debate.

Carrying water for this president must be tough going for principled media members. Assuming there are many. Candy Crowley, though, is probably not one of them.

jr565 said...

We should come up with a ratings system for hacks in the media who cover up, obfuscate, or carry the water for Obama. We can call it the Duranty or the Pravda. I give Crowley 3 Duranty's for her trying to cover Obama during the debate.
I give MSNBC 10 Duranty's (on a scale of 1 to 4) for simply existing.

El Pollo Raylan said...

We should come up with a ratings system for hacks in the media who cover up, obfuscate, or carry the water for Obama.

Call them "Geppettos" for the degree of behind the scenes string-pulling.

jr565 said...

And actually, maybe instead of calling it the Duranty or the Pravda, we should call it the MSNBC. Since, MSNBC out Pravda's Pravda by at least 3 MSNBC's on average.

And even Walter Duranty would probably turn down a job there because they were too biased.

bagoh20 said...

It's just some guy's opinion. I have access to lots of those.

Mitch H. said...

Fackcheckers are bullshit, and they should all be fired forthwith. They're low-information pundits playing to lower-information readers, like those stupid "CW Watch" graphics that Newsweek used to run.

Doesn't matter if he's playing to my biases this week, he's still a snake oil salesman who ought to be finding less dishonest work.

Paul said...

Just 4 Ps?

He is a habitual liar and narcissist nutjob. Time for him to resign and allow Buffoon Biden to take the helm (God help us as neither of them are fit to pour piss out of a boot with directions on the heal.)

Mogget said...

If I need Kessler to parse a politician's speech, the politician should be treated as a liar.

Writ Small said...

Prior to the election, the aim of the media was to protect and re-elect Obama. Now their goal is to reestablish what credibility they can to spend it on the next election cycle helping Democrats.

Being extra harsh on Dems this far from the next election is close to the perfect strategy.

Matthew Sablan said...

So, how many Pinocchios do we give for finding out that: A) Forms came from more than Cincinniti; B) The IRS knew about it as far back as 2010; and C) The IRS leaked documents on conservative groups to HuffPo.

That's like, what, a bazillion Pinnochios?

jr565 said...

Gepetto's are a good idea. Certainly in keeping with the Pinnocchio theme. Except, Geppetto always struck me as a fundamentally decent person. So, not sure if I want to sully His name when using it to describe rat bastards.

campy said...

Writ Small is exactly right.

edutcher said...

What jr565 originally said.

How many Pinocchios does Candy Crowley weigh?

That's how many Choom deserves.

JAL said...

He should get 4 Pinocchios for breathing.

Marshal said...

jr565 said...
I give Crowley 3 Duranty's for her trying to cover Obama during the debate.


It needs to be visual. Three pails of water.

chrisnavin.com said...

Keep in mind that the Wapo is in D.C. Between the locals, the bureaucrats and the changes in technology, they can't possibly be against 'progress'.

I think of Robert Cook as a real pirate at a college-town dress-up Halloween pirate party.

Stalin, you see, corrupted the true pirate code. Ya aargh:

Chip Ahoy said...

Glenn Kessier's readers have moved on from Pinocchio to The Surprising Adventures of Baron M√ľnchhausen But don't believe me, please, I just made that crap up. Like Glenn Kessier does.

Strelnikov said...

The entire "fact checking" ouvre is inane. 90% of the time, the checker is merely stating the degree to which he agrees or disagrees with the statement.

Unknown said...

C'mon. I read Kessler's analysis and he ( like most of the media) spends a lot of time ignoring the obvious. No one in Benghazi or any one in State, the CIA or Defense in Lybia ever stated, suggested or inferred that this attack had anything to do with a protest about a film. The only place that narrative has ever been mentioned is in senior administrative officials offices in DC.

In all of the president's lawyerly responses regarding this issue during the election he used weasel words including terror in a very general sense but strongly inferring the whole incident was caused by that ridiculous movie. Everyone in his administration was using the same weaselly language. Two of the quotes that Kessler uses are prime examples of this.

Kessler and the rest of the media focus only on the places where the president and his minions mention terror and ignore their primary message that this was caused by a movie.

furious_a said...

[Candy Crowley] must feel really dumb helping him carry out his four Pinocchio lie on national TV during a presidential debate.

Like any good closer, Crowley entered the game in the 9th and picked up the save. Attagirl!

Unknown said...

...and during the election the national media did everything in their power to forward the message that the Benghazi incident was a spontaneous protest about a film in order to help the president win reelection. They went as far as to attack anyone who would suggest otherwise. It served the president's (and media's) purpose at the time, not so much now. Now the media will pretend that it was ambiguous as to whether they and the administration were talking about a movie or a terrorist attack.

Dante said...

As Pogo says, the problem is the press was played. And so was the nation. He never said it was an act of terror or terrorism. He simply stated the position of the US on terrorism. The statement stands on its own, and could have many different reasons for being included.

And he knew it was terrorism and had nothing to do with the video.

He played everyone for political advantage. Pure and simple. Four Pinocchios isn't enough.

Cedarford said...

I am skeptical about asssigning one journalist the position aa "Ultimate Truth Diviner" of all said and done by pols in DC.

However, it could be worse, as Kessler actually is one of the more non-partisan "opinionators" out there.
If there is bias, it is with his editors sometimes coming by with a preposterous Michelle Bachmann quote they want divined and thus discredited, but never that hot about steering Herry Reid, Pelosi whoppers his way.

And his position is enhanced by both Parties and special interest groups generally showing more bias with their in-house "media oversight" efforts/

Fox Watch, Media Watch, NRA fact check? Jokes.

carrie said...

I think it deserves 4 because the lie kept growing and growing. What I really want to know is how Candy Crowley happened to have the document that supposedly settled the issue of whether Obama said it was a terror attack at her fingertips during the debate--that it itself was worth adding at least one Pinnochio, but I think that the should expand that number of Pinnochios for that lie.

Issob Morocco said...

Dick Durbin before he dicks you!

Glenn Kessler said...

I am a little late in seeing this commentary but think I should provide a response. I look at each claim on a case by case basis, and don't ever think about "evening the score."

Both Issa and Obama deserved their Four-Pinocchio ratings. Issa charged that Clinton had signed a cable, when I demonstrated that the "signature" of the Secretary of State is attached automatically to all cables, no matter how trivial, by the operations center. And Obama was given ample opportunities to say it was a "terrorist attack" and repeatedly declined. So it is absurd for him to claim he did so.

As for Susan Rice, the 2-Pinocchio rating was given immediately after her appearance--the first MSM criticism, in fact, of her remarks. (The White House was furious, as was Rice.) Given what we now know about the talking points--especially that she added the video reference herself--the 2 still seems appropriate but I reserve the right to go back and reassess once all the facts are in.