The Washington Post’s fact-checker column, ranks statements by politicians on a scale of one to four “Pinocchios” and then those politicians keep lying about the same stuff.
In keeping with this great tradition, Trump has busted through that scale. “Despite the facts, which have been cited numerous times by fact-checkers, Trump repeated his false assertion on an imaginary wall 86 times in the seven months before the midterm elections,” the Post writes on Monday by way of announcing its new rating: Bottomless Pinocchios. (Remember, briefly, this is the same system that gave Senator Jeff Merkley three Pinocchios for saying that the Trump administration was locking children up in cages, which they later downgraded to two Pinocchios after people pointed out that children were being locked up in cages.)
Here is the criteria for a bottomless Pinocchio:
The bar for the Bottomless Pinocchio is high: The claims must have received three or four Pinocchios from The Fact Checker, and they must have been repeated at least 20 times. Twenty is a sufficiently robust number that there can be no question the politician is aware that his or her facts are wrong.
Some might call repeating knowingly false statements “lying,” but I digress!
Anyway, fact checking is fine, but it’s not really a solution to the problem of powerful people routinely lying to your face. Which is maybe why the fact checkers themselves acknowledge that the “bottomless” designation is kind of pointless when it comes to the president, which is apparently its primary target: “The president keeps going long after the facts are clear, in what appears to be a deliberate effort to replace the truth with his own, far more favorable, version of it.”
Responding to the news, CNN’s Chris Cillizza said, “Christmas came early.”
To which I say, Four Pinocchios, sir! Dare repeat it 20 times and you know what comes next!