5 Times the Washington Post Failed At Fact-Checking
The Washington Post Fact Checker column presents itself as a non-biased arbiter of the truth. Here are five times it fell well short of that standard.Read the rest for the other four examples.
Ted Cruz’s claim that the IRS tax code has more words than the Bible
The Fact Checker column usually tackles strong statements on complex issues that require rigorous research, analysis, and context.
And sometimes you get a nothing-burger like when Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), tapping into many Americans’ frustrations with the bizarre complexity of their tax system, made the completely accurate statement that the IRS tax code contains more words than the Bible.
A sharp-tongued man who has never been accused of getting favorable press, Cruz was put through the ringer by the Washington Post. The fact that this easily verifiable nugget was even worth a long column in one of the country’s most well-read newspaper sites is strange in and of itself; as writer Michelle Ye Hee Lee pointed out, she simply copy-and-pasted both documents into Microsoft Word to get the word count. The King James Bible contains more than 800,000, while the IRS code has about 3.7 million.
Pretty easy. Sounds like a Check Mark statement. Yet, while “Cruz is correct on the comparison of words in both texts,” Lee concluded it was “a nonsense fact, something that is technically correct but ultimately meaningless. Thus it is not worthy of a Geppetto Checkmark but neither does it qualify for a Pinocchio.”
Cruz makes the point that tax policies need to be drastically simplified, and many Americans likely would support that sentiment. But such a crude comparison, which provides no nuance or context, doesn’t capture why the tax code has become so complex and how it affects taxpayers.
Some true statements are truer than other statements, right? For his part, Kessler thought Fact-Checker was “generous” to not award any Pinocchios in this instance.
You see, if a conservative says something, it's only true if it's factually correct, and it supports the liberal narrative. For a liberal, only the second criterion is required.
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