Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler offered a mea culpa of sorts after having rewarded two Pinocchios to Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., for predicting that murderers like convicted terrorist 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” with an image of Cotton plastered on the page, challenging claims that he and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy., made that the $1,400 checks Americans were set to receive would be going to those not qualified or worthy for them.
“On March 8, [Cotton] tweeted that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston bomber, would also get benefits and declared, ‘Get ready for campaign ads,’” Kessler wrote at the time, quoting Cotton. “But for all the hype, there’s less to these claims than one might imagine — particularly because the previous stimulus bills passed last year under GOP control also did not bar payments to prisoners and the small subset of undocumented immigrants referenced by Barrasso.”
Kessler noted the stimulus bills “have excluded some people” but the law “did not exclude payments to incarcerated individuals” and that a judge ruled the IRS “could not rewrite the law on its own after it had already issued payments to people in prison.”
“But prisoner advocates say this is just theater,” Kessler wrote before quoting activists who pushed back at Cotton’s claims.
Regarding the “Pinocchio Test,” Kessler previously concluded that both Cotton and Barrasso’s remarks “lack significant context.”
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