WaPo's Glenn Kessler 'Fact Checks' Dr. Fauci on Italy Open Borders Claim ... and Gets It Wrong

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speak during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Monday, March 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

When it comes to the so-called “fact checkers” in the media, I find the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler hit or miss – but mostly miss.

Sadly, the latter was the case for Kessler on Friday after he took aim at Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the NIAID director and a key member of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force team.

In a Thursday interview he did with MSNBC News’ Lester Holt, Fauci talked about some of the major differences between Italy’s response to the Wuhan coronavirus and the United States’. One of the big differences, Fauci noted, was in our approach to China and European travel:

“Our shutting off travel from China and, more recently, travel from Europe, has gone a long way to not seeding very, very intensively the virus in our country. Unfortunately, Italy did not do that. They had an open border, they let people in, and until they really knew they were in trouble, then the cat was out, the horse was out of the barn and that was it.”

Watch:

Kessler took exception. In two tweets, he referenced Italy’s supposed “no exception” travel ban on China, and called Fauci’s remarks “puzzling”:

Kessler was so sure he was right and that Fauci was wrong that he even churned out a “fact check” about the issue, issuing four Pinocchios to Fauci:

I pointed out to Kessler last night, however, that his fact check was flawed:

Not only that, but infected people in those same EU countries had full access to Italy thanks to their open borders:

The context of Fauci’s remarks make that clear. Let’s read them again:

“Our shutting off travel from China and, more recently, travel from Europe, has gone a long way to not seeding very, very intensively the virus in our country. Unfortunately, Italy did not do that. They had an open border, they let people in.”

Also, Kessler made it a point to paint Italy and the WHO’s China apologists as more proactive and quick to respond to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak than the United States. In particular, Kessler boasted of how “On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus.”

Kessler did not mention, however, that the Trump administration declared a public health emergency the very next day:

There were also a number of other things the Trump administration did in January and February related to combating the Wuhan coronavirus that Kessler oddly did not mention.

Fact checkers are entitled to their own points of view, but they’re not entitled to pick and choose what facts they want to include/not include in order to paint a false narrative. That’s especially true when your country is in the middle of a pandemic.

That’s what Kessler did here, unfortunately, which seems to be the standard operating procedure at the Washington Post. But the good news is that I didn’t even have to break a sweat in order to correct him for the record.

Sister Toldjah
North Carolina-based Sister Toldjah, a former liberal, has been writing about media bias, social issues, and the culture wars since 2003. Follow her on Parler here.
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