City Desk

Dueling Post Writers Trade Pinocchios, Explore Nature of Truth

Somebody lock down the Pinocchios, because they're flying all over the Washington Post, as Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler and Post opinion writer (and torture enthusiast!) Marc Thiessen debate who is the most Pinocchio.

Handing out Pinocchios on an ascending scale is Kessler's way of pointing out lying garbage people—without actually taking a stand and calling them that. So when Kessler wrote this morning that a claim Thiessen was pushing about Barack Obama skipping daily intelligence briefings was worth three Pinocchios—since lots of presidents didn't even have the meetings—Thiessen took some offense.

"I give Four Pinocchios to the Fact Checker," Thiessen responded, in an escalation that looks a lot like an episode of  Double Dare. Most of Thiessen's argument is that what presidents before George W. Bush did doesn't matter, because that all happened before 9/11, which is well-established as the first time American presidents needed to be concerned about terrorism.

Kessler wasn't convinced. In an update to his original story, Kessler basically urged Thiessen not to push his luck, lest he break the four-Pinocchio barrier. "We had nearly given this data Four Pinocchios and in restrospect (sic) we were perhaps too generous with Three," Kessler wrote.

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  • Joe

    Thiessen is an idiot. He's one of the reasons that the Post is in dire financial straits. If you tell a lot of lies, the public will stop supporting the Post.

  • Will Sommer

    I don't think anyone stopped buying the Post because of Marc Thiessen, but I'd agree that he's a symptom of a larger boringness at the op-ed page.

  • The Java Master

    No one gives a fuck about the Post editorial page.
    They don't make up my mind for me, or anyone I know.
    Purveyors of the worst sort of conventional thinking.
    The Fact Checkers are are impotent. After screaming the sky is falling so many times, no one listens anymore.
    Same goes for the ombudsman, who always tells you about problems after they occur, is unable to repair the damage done, and has no ability to get the Post to do things right the first time, anyway.