Remember yesterday at CPAC when Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) told that devastating story about a young boy who said he no longer wanted free, government-provided school lunch because that meant he didn’t have “someone who cared for him?” And how that meant Democrats want poor Americans to have “full stomachs and an empty soul?” Well, it turns out none of that was true.
I AM THE SHOCKEDEST.
Also, can we dispense with this kind of thing?
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kesslerdelved into Ryan’s CPAC story last night, ultimately giving it his highest rating of four Pinocchios.
Oooh, four Pinocchios! How cute! What an adorable way of saying Ryan lied!
When we make up color-coded cartoon ways of measuring just how big a pile of bullshit one of our elected representatives shoveled onto our doorstep on any given day, we’re infantilizing the audience and trivializing what shouldn’t be a trivial matter. All to get around saying, flat-out, that a politician said something untrue, which takes fewer words and less space in the paper anyway.
The ongoing tasking of political bullshit-detecting to “fact-checkers” makes no sense anyway. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of calling politicians on their obvious falsehoods (and whenever one tells a story like this, it usually takes about ten seconds for everybody’s Spidey Sense to go off). But when we make that task the job of “fact-checkers” it begs the question of what everybody else at the Post is doing. If you’re not fact-checking, what exactly are you showing up to work to do?
If you’re not counting Pinocchios, what exactly is your job?