It should be clear by now that the “fact-checking” industry exists only to denigrate conservative ideas and suppress news the left doesn’t want reported. It is an ideological weapon thinly disguised as objective analysis of empirical facts.
It is used by partisan media outfits such as The Washington Post to accuse competitors of journalistic malpractice and justify their own errors and omissions.
It is an insult to journalism. Which brings us to Mr. Pinocchio himself, Glenn Kessler, WaPo’s resident “fact-checker,” last seen claiming Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s slave ancestors had it easy.
This week, Kessler attempted to fact-check our front-page story last month revealing fresh evidence that Joe Biden, as vice president, met with foreign clients of his son Hunter, including Vadym Pozharskyi, an executive at the corrupt Ukrainian energy company Burisma, at a dinner in Washington, DC. This was 2015, at a time when Burisma was paying Hunter $83,333 a month to sit on its board.
Our story showed that Joe also met Russian and Kazakhstani business associates of Hunter’s at the April 16, 2015, dinner in a private room at Café Milano.
We cited e-mails from Hunter’s abandoned laptop, including a guest list he prepared a month before the dinner.
The White House did not respond to our inquiries at the time and has not disputed the accuracy of our story nor requested a retraction or correction. Nor did the Biden campaign challenge the authenticity of the e-mail we published from Pozharskyi last year, thanking Hunter for introducing him to Joe.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together,” Pozharskyi wrote, the day after the dinner. “It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure.”
Kessler ignores that e-mail.
The dinner is significant because it puts the lie to Joe’s repeated claims he knows nothing about Hunter’s lucrative dealings with foreign oligarchs and government officials.
“I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” Joe said in 2019.
Enter Kessler, carrying water for the Biden administration, in a slovenly approximation of journalism that gets basic facts wrong and omits crucial details.
Kessler’s conclusion: “When we looked into it, there was less to the story than one might imagine.”
Kessler claimed Pozharskyi was not on the guest list we published. “A tentative guest list for the event . . . did not include Pozharskyi,” he wrote. “So it’s still unclear how the vice president could have met him, unless he was a last-minute addition.”
Kessler’s reading comprehension leaves a lot to be desired.
Pozharskyi’s first name is “Vadym,” as Kessler knows because he wrote so in the third paragraph of his “fact-check.” He seems to have forgotten that fact by the 15th paragraph. “Vadym” is how Hunter always refers to Pozharskyi in hundreds of communications that appear on the laptop.
“Vadym” appears on Hunter’s guest list, which he e-mailed to his business partner Devon Archer, a former adviser to then-Secretary of State John Kerry.
We published it in full. Here it is again:
“3 seats for our KZ [Kazakhstan] friends.
“2 seats for Yelana and husband
“2 [seats for] you and me.
“3 seats for WFPUSA people
“3 Ambassadors (MX, ?, ?)
Hunter has listed only 13 people but counted a total of 14 guests. Archer knows who the unnamed 14th guest is: “Obviously save a seat for your guy,” he tells Hunter.
It’s a pretty good guess to say “your guy” is Joe, aka the “Big Guy” who is mentioned in numerous e-mails on Hunter’s laptop.
One damning 2017 e-mail laid out a 10 percent equity stake for the “Big Guy,” to be held by Hunter, in a firm seeded with $10 million by the Chinese investment conglomerate CEFC.
Hunter’s former business partner Tony Bobulinski, one of three recipients of the e-mail, has verified that “the Big Guy” is Joe.
But Kessler and his organ are not interested in that story.
Instead, he tries to downplay the significance of Joe’s presence at the dinner.
“Joe Biden only dropped by briefly,” he writes.
That’s like being a little bit pregnant.
“There was no discussion of politics or business.”
But that’s not how it works, as Kessler well knows. The Big Guy just has to show up. It’s all “high-level.” All that matters is for Hunter to demonstrate his pull.
Kessler cites previous denials from Biden flacks quoted by USA Today last December. “The Biden campaign, after a comprehensive review, had said a meeting never took place between Joe Biden and Pozharskyi.” Seriously.
But then Kessler quotes a “White House individual with knowledge of Joe Biden’s schedules” who appears to have confirmed Joe’s “drop-by” at Café Milano that night.
Talk about burying the lead.
Kessler asserts that it’s a “mystery . . . why the drop-by was not listed on Joe Biden’s schedule.”
But his White House source has the answer! Joe only decided to do the “drop by” at the last minute “after the schedule was completed.”
Yet, as Kessler knows, since he quoted from one of the e-mails we published, Hunter told guests more than two weeks before the dinner that his father would be there. “Dad will be there but keep that between us for now,” Hunter wrote on March 26.
Kessler also attempts to put a religious gloss on the meeting, claiming Joe only went to see one guest, Father Alex Karloutsos, then head of the Greek Orthodox Church, who was at the dinner with his son Michael, with whom Hunter at the time was discussing doing a business deal in Greece.
“Joe Biden, a Roman Catholic, also has a long history of working with the Greek Orthodox Church.” Please.
Kessler tries to characterize Joe’s appearance at the dinner as brief, religious in nature and focused on alleviating world hunger.
He quotes a guest we named, Rick Leach, a longtime friend of the Biden family, the founder of the American charity World Food Program USA, where Hunter used to serve as board member and sometime-chairman.
Three members of WFP USA were on the guest list, but that was not the purpose of the dinner, as Hunter suggests in an e-mail to Michael Karloutsos before the dinner: “The reason for the dinner is ostensibly to discuss food security.”
Kessler knows what “ostensibly” means.
It’s hardly a forgettable event when the vice president takes a motorcade to Georgetown and walks into Café Milano with his Secret Service entourage to disappear into a private room to meet all those foreigners.
But Kessler doesn’t query his source on all the contradictory statements that have emanated from the Biden camp.
After the White House failed to respond to our questions, it took two weeks to mount this feeble defense. They just had to take their pick of useful idiots to feed it to.