You know, four Pinocchios, and all that?
I have a strong dislike of the current fashion among American’s decrepit and unreadable newspapers for “fact-checker” columns, because the practice attempts to cloak run-of-the-mill hacks in an aura of dispassionate authority that they do not, in fact, possess. Case in point: The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, who has awarded “four Pinocchios” to Donald Trump, for claiming to recall seeing “thousands” of Jersey City Muslims celebrating on September 11th 2001. Mr Kessler wrote:
Trump says that he saw this with his own eyes on television and that it was well covered. But an extensive examination of news clips from that period turns up nothing. There were some reports of celebrations overseas, in Muslim countries, but nothing that we can find involving the Arab populations of New Jersey.
Kessler has spent the day re-writing and re-re-writing that confident assertion. As of now, that last sentence currently reads:
There were some reports of celebrations overseas, in Muslim countries, but nothing that we can find involving the Arab populations of New Jersey except for unconfirmed reports.
The “unconfirmed reports” were from — Kessler’s own paper.
Which he, understandably, couldn’t be bothered to check. Not if he thought it was the same sort of agitprop as he himself was writing.
A further Washington Post column, by Howard Kurtz on October 9th 2001, reminds us that, whether or not the story was on TV, it was widely reported on New York radio: More.
Reality check: None of it matters, really. The people who relish the Pinocchios just want to be reassured that whatever they are hearing is not true. Especially if they fear it is. All the more so if they heard the radio broadcasts themselves. And can now associate that remembered fact base with the evil moron Donald Trump.
By now, many are so far gone that they simply cannot afford to find out what is going on, and have long since given up on a reasonable response . One should not bring up sensitive topics with such persons. Better to talk about: Composting for climate change!
See also: Slaughter in Legacy Gulch: Key staff cuts in Ottawa media Note: People are not turned off by the progressive tub-thumping They just don’t need the old media in order to hear it.