Thursday, December 1, 2011

Note to Washington Post Fact Checker: When Someone Lies, You Need to Say that Someone Has Lied

 Yes That Might Offend the Liars, That's the Point

The Washington Post has a Fact Checker who awards “Pinocchio’s to public figures who misspeak the truth.  The larger number of Pinocchio’s, the greater the lie.  In some cases the speaker simply puts a positive or negative spin on things, and in some cases the speaker just out and out fibs.

Such is the case in the recent Fact Checker review of comments made by anti-government spending, anti-tax Republican and Conservative Grover Norquist.  Mr. Norquist has the position that all government spending is bad, that all taxes are bad and he has every right to have this position.  He also has corralled almost all Republican legislators and politicians into signing a pledge that they will never, ever raise taxes.

To defend his position Mr. Norquist regularly goes on television, and he exploits the fear of the main stream media against being called biased to generate far more time than he otherwise would get.  Here are his comments on the Stimulus on Meet the Press.

We just wasted $800 billion on stimulus spending that added to debt that killed jobs. There are fewer jobs than before.”

And here are his comments on the Bush tax cuts

The 2003 rate reductions you had on cap gains and others -- that gave you four years of strong economic growth that lasted until the Democrats won the House and Senate, and you knew those tax cuts were going away.”

Okay, the second quote here is spin, not in itself incorrect because the Democrats did mostly support allowing the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans to expire.   (That this did not happen somewhat refutes Mr. Norquist’s position, but not enough to make it a downright lie).

But the first quote is simply a lie.  After it took effect in late 2009 a huge number of jobs have been created by the Stimulus, a fact documented by the number of people employed and by the analysis of the CBO and others.  But here is the Fact Checker commenting on Mr. Norquist’s lie.

His comment on the stimulus bill was also highly misleading.

No Mr. Fact Checker, it was a lie, and if you cannot call a lie a lie then maybe you ought to get out of the business of fact checking and into something else.  We understand that your employer, the Washington Post, doesn’t want to offend Conservatives,  but sooner or later you just have to tell it like it is.  And that will offend Conservatives (and Liberals and Democrats too who lie all the time).  Sorry, that’s what it means to be in the Fact Checking business.

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