Accuracy in Media

Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) apologized to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler after he was informed that a chart he used on the House floor blasting Republicans for using an “alternative fact” on methane gas emissions, which featured the column’s distinctive Four Pinocchios, was in fact not a statement rated by the Fact Checker.

Kessler received the following explanation on how the Pinocchios made it on to the chart in error:

“Keith Higginbotham, communications director for Lowenthal, said the poster was created by minority staff on the House Committee on Natural Resources, but he acknowledged that it was not a Washington Post fact check.

‘The staff asked me to apologize about laying it out in such a way that it might be confused for a WaPo fact check,’ Higginbotham said. ‘They promised not to do it again and said they would not use the poster again.’ He later said the poster would be destroyed, adding that he did not think ‘Alan would have been comfortable using it if he had known.’”

Kessler was in a forgiving mood to Lowenthal since he apologized:

“We appreciate the outright apology from Lowenthal and the committee minority staff, and thus we will not award Pinocchios. Members of Congress always are free to cite our fact checks if they do so accurately. But remember — only The Washington Post awards the Pinocchios.”
Facts are stubborn things.


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