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Washington Post Hires New Fact Checker

The Washington Post announced that starting this month it will have a new fact checker.

From Fishbowl DC [1]

In a memo addressed to staff this afternoon, WaPo announces they are getting a new fact checker. It is Glenn Kessler [2], a veteran diplomacy correspondent who has been on his beat for nine years. The memo says he will be “an indispensable resource for truth-squadding political controversies.” His superiors tell him they expect him to be Superman. “Just as Superman has been played by various actors, we expect Glenn to put on his cape and lift the Fact Checker brand to new heights,” the memo states.

Kessler (with or without a cape) will start his new position in January.

See the memo after the jump…

We are pleased to announce that veteran diplomatic correspondent Glenn
Kessler will take on a new role as the Fact Checker, an assignment that
will make him an indispensable resource for truth-squadding the political
controversies and policy debates that most animate the public.

Glenn will join the national politics team, reporting to Wes Kosova and
Steven Ginsberg. He will roam the issue landscape, settling arguments about
the economy, health care, foreign policy, the environment, campaign
promises–wherever clarity and a referee are needed. Glenn will take over
and expand the franchise established during the 2008 election cycle by
Michael Dobbs, whose Pinocchios and Geppetto checkmarks became the buzzy
signatures of exaggeration and truth in the political world. Just as
Superman has been played by various actors, we expect Glenn to put on his
cape and lift the Fact Checker brand to new heights.

His work will vary in form—Q&As, video analyses, narrative—and appear on
all platforms. And we will continue to employ the popular Pinocchios and
Geppetto checkmarks when appropriate. The Fact Checker’s key relationships
will be with readers, whose interests Glenn will honor and reflect. The
Fact Checker will become central to an effort to deepen our engagement with
our online audience, providing a destination for lively conversation and
definitive knowledge around the heated topics of the day.

Glenn, who has broad experience and an analytical mind, is perfectly suited
for this new role. During more than 25 years as a journalist, he has
covered the White House, Congress, economics, airline safety and Wall
Street. He has been a senior editor on the financial desk of The Post and
most recently player-coach for the national security team. As a diplomatic
correspondent since 2002, he has covered the impact of U.S. policy on most
regions of the world, with a particular focus on the Middle East, Iran and
North Korea. He has been part of two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams and is
author of The Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush

Glenn will start as the Fact Checker in January. We will announce soon
other changes within the national security team.

Kevin   Marilyn   Wes   Cameron

At first glance this seems like a step in the right direction until you realize that the majority of the fact checking will be about what people say and write outside of the Washington Post.  That’s right, Kessler isn’t assigned to comb over the stories of the Post writers but to discuss the factual accuracy of what is being said or written elsewhere with politicians (read Republicans) being the major target.

Yes the paper that really could use a good honest self assessment of its factual accuracy has chosen to gore someone else’s ox rather than subject themselves to potential embarrassment for their own lack of fact checking.

It looks like 2011 will bring the same level of bias and inaccuracy at the Post that conservatives have grown to expect despite any pronouncements to the contrary.