A Washington Post fact checker defended his “three-Pinocchio” rating of comments made by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in response to her claim on Twitter that his column relied on a study that served corporate interests.
The New York Democrat claimed that columnist Glenn Kessler relied on a “Walmart-funded” study when he analyzed her statements from earlier this week that the vast majority of the country doesn’t earn the minimum wage.
“If the point of fact-checking is to enforce some objective standard, why would @GlennKesslerWP use a Walmart-funded think tank as reference material for wage fairness? That’s like citing the foxes to fact-check the hens. Here’s 4 Geppettos for your contested Pinocchios,” she wrote.
In his response, Kessler tweeted a screenshot of an addition to his story that said Jason Furman – the author of the study – previously served as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under former President Barack Obama, before telling his followers “don’t always believe what you see on Twitter.”
In his Thursday column, Kessler took issue with her math.
“Ocasio-Cortez would have been fine if she had said “more than a third” or even “almost half.” Instead, she said “a vast majority,” Kessler wrote. “Ocasio-Cortez deserves credit for using her high profile to bring attention to income inequality. However, she undermines her message when she plays fast and loose with statistics.”
He also said the congresswoman’s assertion that companies like Walmart and Amazon “essentially experience a wealth transfer from the public, for paying people less than a minimum wage” was not true. He cited Amazon’s support of raising the minimum wage and that entry-level workers at Walmart are paid $11 per hour, not including benefits. Amazon pays its employees at least $15 an hour.