CLAIM: The Washington Post has ended fact-checking for President Joe Biden for the remainder of his presidency.
THE FACTS: A post circulating widely on Facebook this week featured a picture of Biden overlaid with the inaccurate text, “WASHINGTON POST ENDS FACT CHECKING FOR BIDEN FOR THE REMAINDER OF HIS PRESIDENCY.”
But Biden won’t be escaping the Post’s dreaded Pinocchios. These claims misrepresent Kessler’s Monday announcement that the Post will stop maintaining its presidential fact-checking database after Biden’s first 100 days because of the labor and hours it requires. The database is a list of fact checks of presidential statements that can be filtered by topic or source.
The Post reports it has analyzed “every speech, interview, tweet or public statement made by the president” in Biden’s first 100 days. Every claim that “would receive two or more Pinocchios on the Fact Checker scale” — or that included “significant omissions and/or exaggerations” at minimum — was included in the database.
“Maintaining the Trump database over four years required about 400 additional 8-hour days over four years beyond our regular jobs for three people,” Kessler wrote on Twitter. “Biden is off to a relatively slow start but who knows what will happen. We will keep doing fact checks, just not a database.”
Shani George, vice president of communications for the Washington Post, sent The Associated Press a statement echoing Kessler’s point.
“We took on the task of maintaining a database during the previous presidency in response to unique circumstances. That database started as a 100-day project, and we created a companion project for the current president so a comparison could be made,” the statement read. “We are continuing our practice of rigorous, routine fact-checking, which has already identified dozens of false and misleading statements by Biden, and will continue to hold the president accountable for his words.” To that end, on Wednesday, the team released a fact check of Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress.
— Ali Swenson