Sanders called a liar over a difference of opinion

Glenn Kessler. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Glenn Kessler. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post‘s fact-checker, gives Bernie Sanders a rating of “Three Pinocchios” for claiming that partial repeal of the Glass-Steagall law helped cause the 2008 financial collapse. It’s complicated, as you’ll see. But my conclusion is that Kessler wrote a pretty good analysis and then undermined it by calling Sanders a liar when we’re really only talking about a difference of opinion.

Several years ago I wrote a commentary for The Huffington Post on the limits of fact-checking. As I said at the time:

The problem is that there are only a finite number of statements that can be subjected to thumbs-up/thumbs-down fact-checking…. The fact-checkers are shifting from judging facts to indulging in opinion, but they’re not necessarily doing it because they want to. They’re doing it because politicians don’t flat-out lie as frequently as we might suppose.

Sanders believes the erosion of Glass-Steagall protections helped create an environment that made the 2008 financial collapse more likely. Kessler disagrees, and he’s found several experts to support his viewpoint. That doesn’t make Sanders a liar. I suspect Kessler knows better, but he’s got Pinocchios to bestow, and today Bernie’s number came up.