Is Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post’s chief fact-checker, antisemitic? By his own standards, yes. He’s also a “fact-checker” who routinely needs fact-checking.
On Saturday, the Post’s fact-checker-in-chief smeared Republican claims tying the Manhattan district attorney behind former President Donald Trump’s prosecution to billionaire financier George Soros. Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan D.A. who secured Trump’s indictment Thursday, ran for the high-profile prosecutor job two years ago with a seven-figure pledge from the Soros-backed super PAC Color for Change (the group later pulled half of that contribution after an unnamed woman made allegations against Bragg). Kessler claimed it’s antisemitic for Republicans to point that out.
“The incendiary claim that George Soros ‘funded’ Alvin Bragg,” Kessler headlined his latest “fact-check.”
Kessler opened with two statements from former President Trump.
“Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who was hand-picked and funded by George Soros, is a disgrace,” Trump said in a statement on the indictment.
“I knew the price I’d have to pay for running a campaign that promised to take on the Deep State, the Open Borders Lobby, and the Soros Money Machine,” Trump wrote in a fundraising tweet.
Kessler also highlighted other Republicans “calling Bragg ‘Soros-backed’ or ‘Soros-funded’ or even ‘Soros DA.'”
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, referred to ‘Soros-backed Manhattan District Attorney’ in his statement saying he would refuse an extradition request,” Kessler reported. “Fox News, which has long focused on Soros’s support for left-wing causes, has repeatedly mentioned Soros’s name in its coverage.”
Such an observation, Kessler wrote, “plays into antisemitic conspiracy theories that Soros, a Hungarian American Holocaust survivor, is a wealthy puppet-master who works behind the scenes to manipulate elections and further his goals.”
Another paper guilty of the same conduct — i.e., routine reporting on political contributions from megadonors who happen to be Jewish — is The Washington Post. Another reporter guilty of that same coverage is Glenn Kessler.
Sheldon Adelson was a billionaire donor who backed Republicans before his death in January 2021. Adelson also happened to be Jewish, and his name returns 73 search results in The Washington Post’s database. In his Post obituary, the paper remembered Adelson as a “casino magnate who influenced policy from D.C. to Jerusalem.” Was the Post’s coverage antisemitic?
When reporting on political contributions to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015, Kessler wrote, “one should note that Netanyahu is believed to have politically benefited from the efforts of American billionaire Sheldon Adelson.”
“Adelson,” Kessler reported, “increased the print run of a free and rabidly pro-Likud newspaper, Israel HaYom, by 70 percent in advance of the elections. The newspaper, the largest in Israel, is believed to lose millions every year.”
Was Kessler being antisemitic? Obviously not. But somehow, pointing out Soros’ influence on liberal politics is.
“It’s not antisemitic to point out Soros funded/supported Bragg,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung told the Post. “What world are you living in?”
At the heart of Kessler’s fake fact-check is the claim that Bragg is Soros-funded, which the paper’s arbiter of truth was forced to concede in his own coverage.
Bragg was endorsed on May 8 of that year by the political arm of Color of Change, a progressive criminal justice group. In a statement that highlighted Bragg as the only Black candidate in the race, Color of Change said it planned to spend ‘over one million dollars’ on an independent expenditure campaign for Bragg, such as sending ‘eight robust waves of direct mail throughout Manhattan in May’ and then more direct mail in June highlighting early voting.
On May 14, Soros sent $1 million to Color of Change, federal election records show.
In other words, Bragg’s campaign was funded by Soros money.
Kessler’s dubious fact-check was even flagged as disinformation by Twitter users.
Kessler responded to his fact-checkers on Twitter by dismissing them as “trolls.”
“Click the link and you will find that Color of Change did not spend $1 million in independent expenditures on Bragg, as people often claim,” Kessler wrote.
Kessler’s response post was also tagged with a context label by Twitter.