The Washington Post’s fact checker, Glenn Kessler, has introduced a new metric for lies in the age of Donald Trump: the Bottomless Pinocchio, which “will be awarded to politicians who repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation.”
In a 1,400-word post, Kessler explained the standards and reasoning behind the new system. To receive a Bottomless Pinocchio, a phrase which gets no less painful to type the more I do it, the claims “must have received three or four Pinocchios from The Fact Checker, and they must have been repeated at least 20 times.” Twenty! He does not wield the power of the Bottomless Pinocchio lightly.
Kessler, you may remember, only described a Trump falsehood as a “lie” for the first time in August. A baby born the day Trump announced his run for the presidency could say their name, speak 250 to 500 words, and begin to name colors by the time Glenn Kessler got around to calling Trump a liar. (The word “lie” does not appear in Kessler’s big Bottomless Pinocchio announcement.)
The Bottomless Pinocchio shows the farce of these fact-checking endeavors. No matter how much you point out that Trump is being highly misleading, good sir, by claiming something like, “The Founding Fathers, they love me, they called me on the phone just last night and said you know what you’re doing a great job, and I said ‘I know,’” he’s gonna keep doing it. You can call it the Bottomless Pinocchio or the Endless Untruth or the Good Sir! A Misrepresentation, It Seems! or whatever you want. I think we know by now, almost two years into the dumbest presidency of all time, that it won’t stop him.