I’m busy with holiday preparations, and frankly, there’s not much to say of substance about the (still depressing and still unresolved) payroll tax cut issue, but I thought I’d point readers to Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler’s compilation of “the biggest Pinocchios of 2011.” Glenn has a really nice defense of fact checking as a profession which makes me feel a kinship to him; those of us who advocate for fiscal responsibility are often attacked from both sides, too. An excerpt from his “My name is Glenn, and I’m a fact checker” introduction:
My colleague Ezra Klein even opined that “the ‘fact checker’ model is probably unsustainable,” based on the questionable belief that “half of the public leans towards one party and about half of the public leans toward the other” and thus will tune out commentary with which they disagree. That’s a pretty depressing commentary on the state of our politics. Thankfully, it bears little relationship to the reality we experience every day at The Fact Checker.
Yes, there are always partisans who, day after day, accuse us of either being left-wing hacks or right-wing crazies. But there are also many people who, every day, write notes of thanks–for explaining a difficult subject, opening their eyes to a new idea or providing the facts to a claim that had confused them. Many Americans are asking for more information, not less, and we are happy to help fill the void.
Some people are always going to be partisan. That fine, but that’s not the role of a reporter. We value the many comments we have received from our readers, the words of encouragement and also the criticism. Every day, we seek to live up to your expectations of a true, impartial seeker of the truth.
In fact, there is this strange myth out there that fact checkers aspire to be “referees” and strain to achieve a balance between the two parties. Not so. At The Fact Checker, we take a holistic approach to every fact we check. After more than 30 years of writing about Washington institutions, we truly find there is little difference between Democrats and Republicans in terms of twisting the facts and being misleading when it suits their political purposes.
You go, Glenn! Keep handing out those Pinocchios!