Sen. Bernie Sanders says stuff that sounds like it can’t be true. For example, he tweeted this month: “The Walton family makes more money in one minute than Walmart workers do in an entire year. This is what we mean when we talk about a rigged economy.”
The Washington Post “Fact Checker,” Glenn Kessler, whose work I esteem highly and who is one of the several great practitioners of the fact-check subgenre of journalism that we have come to rely on more and more heavily, decided to check Sanders’ Walmart statement, and see how many “Pinocchios” he should award to it.
It didn’t get any Pinocchios. It got a rare rating, the “Geppetto Checkmark” that Kessler reserves for those rare occasions when a statement sounds as though it must a lie or exaggeration but turns out to be true.
Here is Kessler’s conclusion:
Even assuming a 40-hour week, the average Walmart worker earns less in a year than the Walton family earns in a minute just from dividends paid on the family’s stock holdings. It’s an astonishing statistic, and it happens to be correct. Sanders thus earns the coveted Geppetto Checkmark. Regular readers know that we reserve this rating for claims that are unexpectedly true — and that’s certainly the case here.
You can read Kessler’s full analysis here.
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About the author:
Eric BlackVeteran journalist Eric Black writes Eric Black Ink for MinnPost. His latest award is from the Society of Professional Journalists, which in May 2017 announced he’d won the national Sigma Delta Chi Award for online column writing.