One Pinocchio means there has been “some shading of the facts” and “selective telling of the truth.” There may be “some omissions and exaggerations, but not outright falsehoods.”
Two Pinocchios means Kessler found “significant omissions and/or exaggerations” or a deliberate effort to create “a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people.” (Bill Clinton was a master of this one.)
Three Pinocchios means Kessler found “significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”
What garners Four Pinocchios? Kessler sums it up in one word: “whoppers.”
According to Kessler, in his Labor Day speech in Detroit, the President told a real whopper. The columnist began with this quote by Obama: “We said working folks deserved a break, so within one month of me taking office, we signed into law the biggest middle-class tax cut in history, putting more money into your pockets.”
Did he really? I guess it depends on what the word “biggest” means to you. (Sort of like Bill Clinton’s argument over what the meaning of the word “is” is.) For most of us, “biggest” in this context would mean “the most money,” wouldn’t you say? By that standard, the Obama tax cuts in his Making Work Pay package was nowhere near the biggest in history. Heck, the Bush tax cuts — the ones Obama has ranted about so often — were more than twice as large.
And we could argue all day over what comprises the middle-class in America. Whenever Barack Obama uses the phrase, he typically includes members of the working poor and excludes anyone earning $200,000 or more. As it was for the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, apparently words can mean whatever he wants them to mean.
When questioned, the White House explained that “biggest” to them referred to the number of people who received a tax cut. According to the spinmeisters there, every working family in America (except those making more than $190,000 a year) received something in the Obama tax cuts. That makes it “the biggest” of all time.
Kessler wrote: “Obama’s claim of having passed the ‘biggest middle-class tax cut in history’ is ridiculous.” He then added that the staff at The Post argued about whether it was a three- or four-Pinocchio violation. They finally concluded that Obama himself knew he was telling a whopper, so they made it a maximum nose-grower.
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