In a July 2 column on the Romney articles, Kessler noted that The Washington Post’s June 21 article on Romney has been used by the Barack Obama campaign against Romney, and slammed by the Romney campaign. “In this case, both campaigns have seized on a news report in The Post, and both are describing it inaccurately for their own political purposes,” Kessler wrote.
Despite the controversy, the newspaper’s Fact Checker columnist Glenn Kessler said he wouldn’t fact check the newspaper’s own content in his review of claims about the article made by both campaigns.
Kessler wrote July 2:
“The Fact Checker does not check the facts in the reporting of Washington Post writers or columnists, despite the many pleas of readers to do so. We even avoid checking most pundits. We generally confine ourselves to checking the rhetoric used by politicians and interest groups.”
Similarly, the Fact Checker column identifies itself as “fact-checking statements by politicians and political advocacy groups.” According to a post explaining the column, the column became “a permanent feature at the start of 2011.”
Essentially, Kessler’s column on the Romney article simply said both campaigns are wrong in their claims about the article and summarized the article. Kessler wrote: “Given that this debate involves an interpretation of a Post article, we are not going to award any Pinocchios. But we urge readers to reread the article without thinking about the spin from both sides.”
Kessler defended his column in comments to Patheos’ Jeremy Lott. Kessler told him “you misunderstand my role. I fact check statements by politicians. There is more than enough for me to do there. If you have an issue with Washington Post reporting, then go to the Washington Post Ombudsman. That Post article was widely misinterpreted, especially by the Obama campaign. The facts as presented in the article were not in dispute; it was the interpretation.”
The ombudsman, Patrick Pexton, previously reviewed in detail the Romney campaign’s challenge of another article.
We have written to Kessler seeking comment and will update with any response.
Hat Tip: Washington Examiner