Glenn Kessler on Fact-Checking the Presidential Debates

September 26, 2016 - Alicia Menendez 09/26/2016 Views: 45,320

Jordan Klepper talks to the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler to learn about the process of fact-checking a presidential debate in real time. (5:08)

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The first Clinton-Trumppresidential debate

just wrapped upa short time ago,

and we're joined now by

senior political correspondentJordan Klepper, everybody.

(cheers and applause)

Thank you.

Jordan, I mean,a lot of us are breathing...

-Yeah. -...I guess a bitof a sigh of relief.

But, uh, any immediatereactions?

-Oh, you mean like hot takes?-Yeah, flash responses.

-How about, uh, inst-opinion?-Go ahead, my friend.

Great. Trevor,it was clearly Trump's night.

After months of basicallybeing ignored by the media,

he finally got the TV time

his campaign has beenthirsting for.

It could bea real turning point.

-You mean a pivot.-Or a game changer.

-Exactly. A paradigm shift.-Yeah, exactly.

A really, uh, water ship.

You mean "watershed."

"Water ship" is something else.


Are you fact-checking me?(laughs)

Trevor, this show is biased,this show is rigged.

Okay, okay, settle down, Jordan.

But, actually, going intotonight was a big question.

Right? Whether or notthe moderators

would fact-check the debate.

And many in the media saidno, you can't fact-check live.

It couldn't be done.

Right, it is a big claim.

And so we went,and we fact-checked it.

I met with one of the nation's top political fact-checkers,

Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post,

to find out how difficult it is to fact-check a debate live.

Debates are actuallyrelatively easy to cover.

About 95% of the things they sayin these debates are things

they've already said,and which we have fact-checked.

So for you,the debates are like a rerun.

Like Everybody Loves Raymond,

or like everybody thinksMexicans are rapists.

-Yes. -So compare Hillaryand Donald Trump.

In terms of fact-checking,

Hillary Clinton is like

playing chess with a real pro.

Fact-checking Donald Trump islike playing checkers

with someonethat's not very good at it.

-It's pretty boring.-It...

-You find Donald Trump boring?-Yes.

His facts are soeasily disproven,

there's no joy in the hunt.

KLEPPER: And when Glenn finds a lie,

he rates its egregiousness

with a withering one to four Pinocchios.

That's right. He eviscerates politicians

using a wooden doll with a dick nose.

So when youfact-check something,

and you give it four Pinocchios,

then what happensto the candidate?

Well, a lot of...Most candidates will often

stop saying that.

In the case of Donald Trump,

he almost never reactsto something we write.

Maybe he thinks Pinocchiois just a Slovenian model?

And he thinks,"Four. Oh, that's good.

That's two morethan I had last night."?

I don't think so.

KLEPPER: Fact-- Glenn was cocky. Too cocky.

I decided to check the fact-checker.

The capital of Michiganis Detroit.

That's not a fact.

-The tomato is a fruit.-Fact.

It's unsafe to eat eggs

that have been sittingin your gym bag for two weeks.

I believe if you lookon the Web site

of the United StatesDepartment of Agriculture,

that is not...

It's a little balmy, but...

it's still a good egg.

KLEPPER: All right so Glenn checked out

until I discovered how often

he had given Hillary's claims four Pinocchio's

compared to Trump's.

She's at 15%,

uh, but Donald Trump is 65%.

KLEPPER: Percentages. Ugh!

How about this?

If Hillary walked into a bar and says ten things,

one-and-a-half of them would be lies.

If it's Trump, six-and-a-half of them would be lies.

Or to put it another way,

when Hillary screws you over,

she does it with this tiny, lying dick nose.

If Trump screws you, it's with this monstrosity.

The difference could only mean one thing.

This sounds like justclassic liberal bias.

No. The facts... facts haveto have a basis in reality.

But whose reality?

-Liberal reality,or conservative reality? -No.

There is no liberalor conservative reality.

-There is just reality.-Why should we trust you?

I am completely dispassionatepolitically.

I just look at the facts.

You have no passion whatsoever?

I did not say I have no passion.

I said I am dispassionate.


You're telling meif I leaned over

and kissed youon the mouth right now,

you wouldn't feel something?

Well,that's not about the issues.


The economy.

What do you thinkabout those issues, Glenn?

I'm dispassionate about them.

But do people even givea (bleep) about facts?

I mean, half the country thinks

what Donald Trump saysis totally cool.

I write the fact-checks.

It's up to voters to decidewhat they want to do with it.

Glenn, you're a smart guy.

You make a lotof interesting points.

But I'm an American.

I believe what I feel.

All right, now...

Daddy's gonna eat some eggs.

-What one?-No, thank you.


KLEPPER: No. Thank you, Glenn.

With the election 42 days away, Americans have a choice.

They can listen to fact boys with Italian wood puppets,

or they can listen to their gut,

a choice which I fully endorse...


Trust your gut, America.


Jordan Klepper, everyone.