Guessing Right: WaPo Fact-Checker Backtracks on Sen. Tom Cotton as Boston Bomber Gets COVID Money
The journo accused the lawmaker of "scaremongering", as Tom Cotton said the terrorist would get a COVID check, but it turns out that the senator's assumption was correct.
Washington Post fact-checker
Gern Kessler had to apologise and update his statement on Republican Senator Tom Cotton, who predicted that convicted murderers like Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would receive a COVID stimulus check.
In March 2021, Kessler ran the headline "Murderers, undocumented immigrants: Hyped-up claims about who’s getting stimulus checks". Back then, the fact-checker said that the claims, made by Tom Cotton and fellow Republican Sen. John Barrasso "lack significant context".
"Cotton and Barrasso claim Democrats are actively trying to give stimulus checks to murderers and undocumented immigrants. Not only is that wrong, but both voted for previous stimulus bills that did not have narrowed criteria", Kessler stated.
He awarded them a rating of "Two Pinocchios", meaning, they are not completely false, but there are "Significant omissions and/or exaggerations".
But the journalist had to backtrack when reports suggested that Tsarnaev, in fact, had received his $1,400 check.
"We take such requests seriously and are always willing to review a fact check in light of new information", Kessler wrote on Thursday. "Cotton primarily received the Two-Pinocchio rating because his comments lacked context… Still, Cotton's predictive powers should be acknowledged. He said the Boston bomber would get a stimulus check — and Tsarnaev did".
He confessed that dubbing Cotton's remark as "scaremongering" was inappropriate and changed the rating on the claim to One Pinocchio, which means "mostly true".
In the meantime, The Wall Street Journal reported that the money Tsarnaev received would be used to help pay the immense compensation he owes to the victims of his terror attack, in accordance with a court decision.
Tsarnaev, who was originally sentenced to death for killing three people
and injuring approximately 280 others, is now serving a life term in Florence, Colorado. He owes around $101 million in criminal restitution. So far, the terrorist has paid a little more than $2,200 of that, all toward the assessment, according to the court filing - but he was also able to use his inmate account to pay his siblings for "gifts", "support", and "books".