Kessler's foundational lie--the stinking lie on which his whole corrupt operation is based--is that he's "fact-checking". Untrue!
Last week the purported Fact Checker went so far as to pre-check the speech he thought Romney would probably give to the convention. Here he is, referencing a Romney ad:
"President Obama gutted welfare reform. My plan for a stronger middle class will put work back in welfare."
This highly inaccurate Four Pinocchio claim is at the center of what the Romney campaign considers its most effective ad. At issue is a memo issued in July by the Department of Health and Human Services, encouraging states to consider "new, more effective ways" of meeting employment goals. As part of that, the HHS Secretary would consider issuing waivers to states concerning worker participation targets.
The administration's move was a surprise, though it claims it reacted in response to requests from both Democratic and Republican governors. Even supporters suggest that the administration violated the spirit of the law, but no waivers have been issued and Obama has taken no action to weaken work requirements. Romney is asserting an extreme interpretation of what might happen under these rules.
Of course the sentences in bold are misleading, and for the reasons Kessler says, but let's not be distracted by any such split-the difference bullshit. The point is, Kessler isn't confining himself to checking facts, he's contesting one interpretation of the facts with his own interpretation. Whatever the merits of the rival interpretations, that's not fact-checking, it's commentary. Kessler himself says, "Romney is asserting an extreme interpretation of what might happen..." See? Guilty. An interpretation is an opinion--not a fact.
Some of you may find that distinction hard to grasp. It's Two Spocks difficult. Paul Krugman helped me see that people are divided into three groups: the ones who know I'm right (I call these "excellent"), fools and knaves. Possibly, you're a fool, so let me spell it out for you. When a fact is wrong, it's not some number of Pinocchios, it's just wrong.
All you sniveling false-balance types, you know what you can do with your middle way. Mickey Kaus, screw your efforts to look at the welfare controversy more "carefully". Don't bore me with your "nuanced" examination of Kessler and his ilk. That's all beside the point.
All you need to know is this. Kessler's just another pundit. By calling himself The Fact-Checker he claims the superior authority derived from the special property of a fact--that it's capable of being simply true or false. To do this is a Very Great Lie. I'm not exaggerating when I say it violates every canon of civilization. Angry? You bet I'm angry. I'm crying tears of rage right now. We don't tolerate people who torture small children and we shouldn't tolerate atrocities like this. I can't think of a penalty too severe.