Just to make sure my ulcer stays inflamed, I took a look at the Post’s Fact Checker column to see if Glenn Kessler and his army of interns had made any corrections to address the contradiction between their claim on Wednesday that the Obama campaign is misleading us when they call Romney an outsourcer, and the Post’s Friday story on Bain’s history of outsourcing when Romney ran the place. Spoiler alert–Pinnochio must have reverted back to being a puppet because the Fact Checker is silent.
Both the Post and FactCheck.org have been handing out tsk-tsks to the Obama campaign over outsourcing, and if you read each of their columns, the internal justifications are consistent, if you want to ignore everything else Romney’s ever done on outsourcing. So both of them agree that the Obama campaign is making too much of Romney’s veto of an outsourcing bill when he was Governor. But the Post’s piece come’s with a heaping helping of attitude:
Since the vice president brought it up, let’s delve into some ancient Massachusetts history again.
Mitt Romney’s held one political office in 2002-2006. If that’s “ancient history” then there’s no way his Bain experience is even relevant. This is a completely arbitrary, not to mention stupid and damaging, view of accountability.
Then there’s the Pinnochio Patrol’s piece that directly addresses Bain’s outsourcing. The reporting behind that story, such as it is, is lazy. Unlike Tom Hamburger, who wrote Friday’s Bain report in the Post, the Fact Checkers didn’t bother to actually check into Bain’s activity in the 90’s, so they can accuse the Obama campaign of making accusations about companies Bain bought after Romney was in charge. But even the Fact Checkers had to acknowledge that some of the outsourcing the Obama campaign was complaining about happened during Romney’s watch. Throwing their usual skepticism to the wind, they disgorge this little piece of journalistic malpractice to justify their love:
We discovered that Romney’s name appeared on Bain SEC filings between 1999 and 2002. But a 2002 statement the former executive filed with the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission said he was a “passive, limited partner [with] no management capacity” in the Bain entities in which he held ownership.
Just as with the “ancient history” criteria, if you think that a co-founder of a firm, someone who returned to re-organize it when it was about to go belly up, and who took a “leave of absence” in 1999, shouldn’t have any accountability for the actions of the same firm in the same year, then you’re definitely narrowing your focus to fit the conclusion you want to reach.
I don’t say this lightly because I really want the fact checkers to be effective, but if Kessler can’t even be bothered to respond to a story in his own paper, then he might as well close up shop.
Update: As Dubo points out, Kessler responded via email to TPM, but his response pretty much proves my point–he’s saying that he’s right because he restricted his outsourcing piece to 1999-2002. And if I restrict my analysis of a dog to a few millimeters of it’s coat, it’s a fucking tick.