The Washington Post’s top fact-checker spent four years relentless fact-checking former President Donald Trump, documenting every instance of what he declared was a falsehood.
But the fact-checker revealed recently that he will no longer aggressively track presidential falsehoods now that President Joe Biden is in the White House.
What are the details?
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler religiously tracked Trump’s statements throughout his presidency. He declared last Wednesday, just minutes after Trump was no longer president, that Trump had uttered 30,537 “false or misleading claims” as president.
The final count. Never would have believed this number was possible when we started four years ago.… https://t.co/M7Uem7AKir
— Glenn Kessler (@Glenn Kessler)1611163024.0
But just days earlier, Kessler explained on CNN that Biden would not be honored with the same rigorous fact-checking regimen.
Kessler’s reasoning? He opined that Biden’s administration would be like the Obama administration, implying that former President Barack Obama was mostly honest throughout his presidential tenure.
“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,” Kessler said.
Kessler cited the responsiveness of Biden’s team as why he believes Biden’s administration will be an honest one.
“Well, in the case of the Biden-Harris transition team, we asked — we identified five factual statements he made, interesting claims that we wanted to know if they — what was the basis for this. Within 15 minutes, we received citations to those factual statements, and they all checked out,” Kessler explained. “Generally, the Trump White House almost never responded to our queries, because of course, a lot of what the president said could not be defended or explained in terms of where he got these so-called facts.”
WashPost ‘fact checker’ Glenn Kessler won’t count false Biden claims like Trump’s: “I assume the Biden presidency w… https://t.co/HLT35ctEei
— Tim Graham (@Tim Graham)1611459931.0
The Washington Post’s director of communications, Shani George, later confirmed Biden would not be scrutinized like Trump.
“The database of Trump claims was started a month after Trump became president as a way to not overwhelm our fact-checking enterprise, where the core mission is to explain complex policy issues,” George told the Daily Caller. “While we do not have plans to launch a Biden database at this time, we will continue to dig into the accuracy of statements by political figures of all party affiliations.”
How’s the Biden administration doing?
The mainstream media already have signaled they will treat Biden’s administration differently from Trump’s.
For example, last Thursday, Biden’s first full day in office, CNN reported, citing anonymous Biden administration officials, that Trump’s administration did not have a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, forcing the new administration to build one from the ground up.
The claim was widely disseminated in the media, but was clearly not true and was later rejected by Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to Biden.
“We’re certainly not starting from scratch, because there is activity going on in the distribution,” Fauci explained at a press conference on Thursday. “I mean we’re coming in with fresh ideas, but also some ideas with … the previous administration. You can’t say it was absolutely not usable at all.”
Sam Stein of Politico and MSNBC said, “Biden folks are spinning here or trying to lower the bar strategically. There was, indeed, a plan from Trump. I listened in on govs calls on vaccine distribution. The plan had obvious shortcomings. but to say there’s nothing to rework is not true.”