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Tipsheet

WaPo Fact-Checker's Bias on Full Display Following Biden's 2024 Announcement

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File

This piece has been updated to include Glenn Kessler's fact-check from early Friday morning going after Biden for his claims about the deficit claim. 

The Washington Post's fact-checker Glenn Kessler has found himself once again making headlines. It's not merely for what he does fact-check, but what he doesn't. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden made it official that he was running for reelection, and in a hardly surprising move, former and potentially future President Donald Trump released a preemptive response on Monday night. After all, Trump not only thinks he will face Biden in a rematch from 2020, he's quite possibly going to be doing so if his lead in the primary polls lasts. 

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While Kessler was all over fact-checking Trump, there wasn't any such fact-check for Biden. Kessler even tweeted out the fact-check multiple times, boasting a "Free link."

What's worse though is that while there wasn't a separate piece, Kessler did mention Biden at the start, before he ripped into Trump. The president got one measly paragraph. 

"President Biden announced that he was running for president with a gauzy video that left little to fact-check. There was a brief reference to “MAGA Republicans” wanting to cut Social Security — when all sides in the budget debate have agreed to leave the retirement program off the table — but otherwise the presidential announcement was policy-light," Kessler offered.

While Kessler may be turning a blind eye to the failures of this president and his administration in his fact-check about Trump, Mia provided a thorough fact-check of Biden's announcement video on Tuesday.

In the early hours of Friday morning, however, Kessler did write up a fact-check on the president's deficit claims, even giving him a "Bottomless Pinocchio," the worst rating one can get. 

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As the "About the Fact Checker" site explains, the "bar for the Bottomless Pinocchio is high: Claims must have received Three or Four Pinocchios from The Fact Checker, and they must have been repeated at least 20 times. Twenty is a sufficiently robust number that there can be no question the politician is aware that his or her facts are wrong."


When it comes to Trump, he bends over backwards to go after the former and potentially future president, making his defense of Biden in that fact-check even more cringeworthy. 

A particularly egregious example is how dismissive Kessler is of Biden's catastrophic handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Kessler put Trump's points in bolded emphasis, and his response underneath that:

“Biden has totally humiliated our nation on the world stage — starting with the Afghanistan disaster, perhaps the most embarrassing event in the history of our country. It meant so much to our enemies when they watched that horrible retreat.”

Biden’s departure from Afghanistan was poorly handled — but it was something Trump wanted to do, too. The Trump administration’s agreement with the Taliban set the stage for the departure of U.S. troops no later than May 2021, a deadline that Biden briefly extended to August.

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Kessler even provides cover for Hunter Biden as well, though his outlet finally did acknowledge the validity of his laptop, over a year after the 2020 election, when it was too late:

“On top of it all, Biden is the most corrupt president in American history — and that’s not even close. Nobody can believe what’s going on, with again no retribution whatsoever.”

No allegation of corruption by Biden has ever been proved. His son Hunter Biden has come under tremendous scrutiny but despite energetic efforts by Republicans — and investigative reporting by journalists — nothing has stuck. Strikingly, both here and earlier in his statement, Trump uses the word “retribution” — which is not the same as legal accountability.

While Kessler does mention Republican investigations, which are being led by Chairman James Comer (R-KY) of the House Oversight Committee, it's seemingly to downplay their efforts. The committee has been making some rather damning finds.

Kessler even fact-checks when he claims Trump is exaggerating. "This is rhetorical overkill," Kessler begins his fact-check with, in response to Trump claiming that Biden's done more damage than the five worst presidents. "This is a mishmash of grievances," Kessler offers at another point, complaining about how Trump organizes one paragraph of his statement. 

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It's not so much of a fact-check as it is Kessler offering what he thinks about Trump and the claims he makes. 

Trump has a habit of telling his voters that when he's targeted, it's really his supporters being targeted. Trump has a point with how Kessler addresses other parts of his Monday night statement, as Kessler seeks to downplay and even claim that certain concerns that Trump and his supporters have don't really exist. 

This is especially true as it applies to children being not only indoctrinated by Critical Race Theory (CRT), but how schools are transitioning them without parental consent. There is also a crisis of priorities in the military that is now embracing a woke agenda, as members like Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have warned about. 

But to Kessler, these parents are dismissed as being part of "the religious right" and members of Congress are merely "Fox News and conservative media outlets," as is written below:

“Our children are being indoctrinated and mutilated by left-wing freaks and zealots.”

This jaw-dropping line appears to be an attempt to tap into objections to critical race theory, and anti-transgender sentiment that has emerged on the religious right.

“The senior ranks of our military have gone completely woke, and our military is suffering greatly.”

This is a theme lifted from Fox News and conservative media outlets. Military officials have pushed back at these claims in congressional hearings. “When I looked at it, there is one hour of equal-opportunity training in basic training, and 92 hours of rifle marksmanship training,” Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston told lawmakers in a March hearing.

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Kessler's second tweet of his fact-check gained considerable more attention than his tweets normally do, as our friends at Twitchy highlighted. It also made its way onto The List.

In case one had any shred of doubt as to how much Kessler is beholden to the president, this fact-check ought to remove any of that. The outlet overall also continues to cover for Biden, though. Just as other outlets have done, The Washington Post has defended the White House providing the president with a cheat sheet on which providers to call on.

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