Patterico's Pontifications


Fiorina Blasts “FactChecker” for Giving Her Three Pinocchios for An Accurate Statement

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:10 pm

I have lost all patience with “fact checkers” who run opinion pieces disguised as “fact checks.” The Washington Post purports to do a “fact check” on these Fiorina quotes:

I started as a secretary, typing and filing for a nine-person real estate firm. It’s only in this country that you can go from being a secretary to chief executive of the largest tech company in the world, and run for president of the United States. It’s only possible here.

. . . .

My story, from secretary to CEO, is only possible in this nation, and proves that everyone of us has potential.

. . . .

A self-made woman, she started her business career as a secretary and went on to become the first, and to date, the only woman to lead a Fortune 20 company.

The “fact checkers” call that Carly Fiorina’s bogus ‘secretary to CEO’ career trajectory, and give Fiorina three Pinocchios. (According to their rating scale, three Pinocchios represents: “Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”

We already know Fiorina has been a CEO, so I eagerly read the article to see how they prove that she lied about being a secretary. Here’s the relevant passage:

She worked briefly as a secretary in between law school and business school, but she always intended to attend graduate school for her career.

Wait, what?

So, she said was a secretary and a CEO, and she has been a secretary and a CEO. Therefore three Pinocchios???

Yes. Three Pinocchios.

Apparently the Post thinks that Fiorina is implying some kind of Horatio Alger story or something, and they reject this implication because she was a law school professor’s daughter. Or something.

As a campaign spokesperson said:

When asked how the description accurately captures her career trajectory, Isgur Flores responded: “She was a secretary. Later, she became a CEO. I don’t think she’s ever claimed there was nothing in between.”

This is how the Post describes the rating of one Pinocchio:

Some shading of the facts. Selective telling of the truth. Some omissions and exaggerations, but no outright falsehoods. (You could view this as “mostly true.”)

Even if you bought the Post‘s take, at best that means Fiorina left out some stuff that the Post thinks she should have said. A normal person would say she told the truth. A wild partisan would give her one Pinocchio.

The Post gave her three.

Here’s Fiorina reacting to this in an interview with Hugh Hewitt:

Exit question: does this help her or hurt her? Anyone remotely familiar with the controversy will see this as what it is: a totally unfair hit job by a leftist media outlet.

66 Responses to “Fiorina Blasts “FactChecker” for Giving Her Three Pinocchios for An Accurate Statement”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (fecd9b)

  2. Carly should take it as a positive sign that the media is targeting her. They wouldn’t bother if they didn’t think she was a threat. And good for her for taking it to them. The more I hear from her, the more I like her.

    JVW (ba78f9)

  3. I was just checking the publishing history of Michelle Tee-Hee Lee, who wrote this piece on Carly. She seems to have spent the last month or so obsessed with Scott Walker’s statements, so now that Walker is out of the race I guess she figures it’s time to move on to the next hatable conservative. It’s worth noting that you have to go back to May to find her disagreeing with Hillary! Clinton, even though Hillary! has spent the entire summer blanketing the nation with lies about her personal server. In the meantime, however, Michelle Tee-Hee Lee has found three different items on which to criticize Bernard Sanders during that same period. I wonder if she has a favorite in the Democrat primary.

    JVW (ba78f9)

  4. Remember, Patterico, the goal is to repeat the lie, over and over again. To add snotty or nicknames and get them to stick. Rinse and repeat. Drown out other attempts at correcting such statements.

    The part that continues to amaze me is how the Right helps the Left with this strategy.

    But then, most people only like slogans.

    Simon Jester (bd20c7)

  5. I am not a Carly supporter. I hope Cruz gets the nod. That said, WaPo’s reaching into VOX territory to make their claims. And if WaPo wants to be better than VOX, they had better publicly stomp on Michelle Tee-Hee Lee’s blatantly dishonest hit piece.

    Something like this from WaPo would be a good start (and WaPo, you’re welcome to plagiarize me on this one suggestion):

    We are sorry our opinion writer Michelle Tee-Hee Lee wrote such blatant and easily recognizable lies and disguised them as facts, when writing about Carly Fiorina’s statements about her work history. We have given Lee a week suspension without pay and a final written warning. If she ever does anything this blatantly dishonest in the WaPo again, she understands she will be terminated.

    John Hitchcock (14132f)

  6. It’ll never happen, John. These folks think they are smarter and better informed than their readers. They know what is best. So there is nothing wrong with shading things for the rubes. The end justified the means, again.

    Simon Jester (da0d36)

  7. Oh, I know it’ll never happen. Aside from being yesterday’s technology, their dishonesty is finally causing them to crumble. And they’ll sell out to another Leftist for a dollar before they do anything remotely considered trustworthy. Just like NewsWreck did.

    John Hitchcock (14132f)

  8. Something like this from WaPo would be a good start (and WaPo, you’re welcome to plagiarize me on this one suggestion):

    Given that the WaPo will never do that, what really should come of this is that one of the WaPo’s conservative columnists (Will, Krauthammer, Gerson, et al.) should write a column taking Michelle Tee-Hee Lee to task for this mendacity, and suggest that the Fact Checking column is pretty much ideologically flawed and generally worthless. Of course the golden rule in the newspaper opinion business apparently is that you don’t criticize your fellow opinion columnists, so I don’t suppose we’ll see that sort of retort either.

    JVW (ba78f9)

  9. Note what the real target was. Fiorina was not trying to claim how great she was for going from secretary to CEO, she was trying to say how great America is that she could go from secretary to CEO. Does not comport with leftist narrative of Evil America oppressing workers, especially wimmenz workers. Leftist MFM hates America, which is why they helped America-hater get elected POTUS twice.

    FOAF (533320)

  10. Her record at lucent and h.p and the fact she worked for boosh at the CIA is a non-starter for me. Rove has his fingers crossed on Fiorino.

    mg (31009b)

  11. Carly is my candidate at this point.

    The story is mildly deceptive but it is not a lie. Even one Pincochio is idiotic. It is deceptive in that Ms. Fiorina’s career was not likely to ever be secretary. She was “just visiting.”. I think that’s something.

    Is this a “news story,” or an op-ed/column?

    ParisParamus (315d9d)

  12. People are liars. We all know it. The best lie is one we all want to believe anyway. If you already hate Carly Fiorina then of course you want to know what’s in her shady past that will bring about her downfall. You say she’s a liar?! Of COURSE she’s a liar! We’re all liars! If we can prove she lied, then she can’t be president. I think that’s in the constitution… “Liars can’t be president.”

    After all Clinton didn’t inhale, did he? Obama said we can keep our current insurance plan, can’t we? We’re already bankrupt it’s just that our creditors haven’t figured it out yet. At this point what difference does it make?

    Jack (ff1ca8)

  13. Shame on you, Patterico, for claiming to be an ADA. The jig is up, it’s perfectly obvious that for years you’ve spent your days pontificating on blogs and Tweeting. Time to come clean. Stop using that pernicious pack of highly paid professional Paricos to peddle your propaganda. Everyone knows your real ambition is to elect Donald Trump and edit the LA Times. 3 Pinocchios!!!

    ropelight (e88985)

  14. She came from creative loafing, and fro. Pestering arpiao in Maricopa county..

    narciso (ee1f88)

  15. The problem for Carly will be explaining her time at HP. Romney was successfully smeared to the LIVs who know only that CEOs make a lot of money and lay off workers.

    She needs to keep pushing that secretary narrative as it inoculates her from some of the Romney abuse.

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  16. Hp is just poorly managed period, check another merger with autonomy, which didn’t quite take.

    narciso (ee1f88)

  17. 9.Note what the real target was. Fiorina was not trying to claim how great she was for going from secretary to CEO, she was trying to say how great America is that she could go from secretary to CEO.

    FOAF hit the nail on the head, as the concluding paragraph and the ‘Update’ to the column makes plain. WaPo is not criticizing Fiorina for exaggerating her ‘rags-to-riches’ story, they specifically are calling her out for suggesting this is an American success story. They are giving the three Pinocchios to the idea that, in America, if you work hard and take advantage of your opportunities you can be successful. It’s the same angle on so many things – your failures are not your fault (and there’s really no point in trying because you’re just going to fail anyways), your failures are a result of the rampant racism/sexism/homophobia/capitalism/individualism in this country.

    Jerryskids (8957b1)

  18. Note the first name check against her, judge sneed helped conjure the unnameable horror, Ken starr, they never move on.

    narciso (ee1f88)

  19. … largest tech company in the world …

    This seems questionable. By the Fortune 500 rankings IBM was bigger than HP during the time Fiorina was CEO.

    I think Fiorina’s statements were a little bit misleading but on the other hand the WP does seem to be out to get her.

    James B. Shearer (29df46)

  20. Last night my wife and I watched a recording of that Colbert fellow (who replaced the execrable Letterman Late Show), expressly so that my wife could see and hear Bernie Sanders. If that audience – which cheered every Sanders platitude and laughable slogan – is a representative slice of America, we are truly f*cked. We are doomed.

    A nation with a sizable number of idiots.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  21. Carle Fiorina now on Meet the Press and responding to Chuck Todd’s gotcha questions with power and aplomb. She’s on fire and he’s takin’ a lickin’

    Her one-on-one interview just ended, hearing the show’s panel spin her responses should be precious.

    ropelight (e88985)

  22. A secretarial job during college years to help with living expenses.
    Most responsible college students do the same
    complete non-story WTF is the big deal.

    Joe from Texas (debac0)

  23. The Washington Post is feeling the heat. The Post has added an update, responding to the criticism…

    (Update: This column generated criticism from many readers who said that her statements were entirely factual, as she once was a secretary, and thus were not worthy of Three Pinocchios. John Sexton of Breitbart wrote a critique in which he said the column was “poorly reasoned.” Fiorina herself said the column was “ludicrous” and “sort of floored me.” In determining the rating, we tried to be consistent with other cases when a politician would use words that, while on the face accurate, gave a misleading picture. A good example is the Three Pinocchio rating we gave President Obama’s campaign in 2012 for a campaign video narrated by Tom Hanks, concerning his mother’s fight with an insurance company. That column also generated criticism, though mainly from Democrats. We strive for consistency in how we apply these ratings. In this case, Fiorina’s career really began after she received her MBA, when she was hired as an AT&T sales representative.)

    aunursa (be35b6)

  24. Um…did the Post ever fisk this?

    Doesn’t fit Teh Narrative.

    Simon Jester (da0d36)

  25. “Consistency.”

    Simon Jester (da0d36)

  26. In this case, Fiorina’s career really began after she received her MBA, when she was hired as an AT&T sales representative.)

    I typical liberal fashion the ComPost just doubled down on the lie. First of all, who gives them the right to determine when a persons career begins? By their criteria Fiorina’s “career” will begin upon her being elected if a change of industry or a sheepskin is the reason. Her career, like mine, began when she entered the work force. Any other interpretation is a lie. The Washington ComPost is nothing but liars and if anything is “bogus” it is they. I give them 10 Pinocchio’s. But as of today they helped make me a Carly supporter.

    Imam Mohammad Hoagie (f4eb27)

  27. #26 was supposed to start In and after “bogus” as they get.

    Imam Mohammad Hoagie (f4eb27)

  28. Well, if someone wants to make a point cancel your (or .ca whatever) account and make sure they know it’s because of the Jeff Bezos owned Washington Post working for the left not on their editorial pages but rather in areas that readers would think would be the actual, non-shaded truth. Send a note to Bezos as well care of the WP that expresses your disappointment in their obvious bias and attempt to besmirch a candidate for President.

    scr_north (d7636f)

  29. Now you tell me! I just ordered 2 wristwatches using Patterico’s Amazon link.

    ropelight (e88985)

  30. I don’t think this Boycott Worthy (a tribute to Elaine’s “sponge worthy” episode on Seinfeld). At least to for an entity other than the ComPost and they’re doing a mighty fine job of cancelling their own readers on a regular basis.

    Imam Mohammad Hoagie (f4eb27)

  31. But there is hope. With the successful coup on Boehner, Freedom Caucus in the House show that there are people steeled for the fight. Trump’s sell-by-date is past, he’s shown himself to be a weak, whining crybaby who likes to dish it out, but can’t take it. Fiorina, Cuz, Rubio and Carson all viewed very favorably.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  32. #30 At least for and entity…. I just can’t type today.

    Imam Mohammad Hoagie (f4eb27)

  33. You are on the money, Colonel. His sell-by expired at the beginning of the last debate. Didn’t anybody on his staff explain that bad-mouthing fellow Republicans looks very bad? You’d figure after the Fiorina’s Face Fiasco he’d smarten up.

    Imam Mohammad Hoagie (f4eb27)

  34. Watching Tom Cole (R-OK) and his unconvincing talking points and the way he comports himself on FNS this morning, I’m reminded he’s an assh*le… but I never really knew just how big of one.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  35. We need to elect people who have a fundamentally clear vision of what is in the best interest of America and Americans and a plan to help shrink government, rein in its excesses and help put America back on the right track. It’s that simple.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  36. Barack Obama never told us his vision of a new Middle East was a joint Russian-Iranian empire that stretched across the region.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  37. So, if Hillary Clinton said that she went from being a lawyer to secretary of state, without mentioning the part about her husband being President, it would get her 3 Pinocchios?

    I doubt it. Just as I doubt “Not Guilty!” would get her even one.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  38. #35, Colonel, yes, that’s what we’ve needed to do for quite some time now, and to keep on doing it at an ever increasing rate till we reach critical mass. Only then (or is it now) will we be able to replace party leadership in both the House and the Senate. Mitch McConnell, do not ask for whom the bell tolls…

    First and second term congressmen are largely powerless to make the changes voters expect unless there’s enough of them working together to overcome the inertia characteristic of entrenched leaders dependent on special interest money for their own reelections.

    What I’m suggesting here is that the fundamental problem is structural, it’s an powerful embedded predisposition toward careerism that’s built into the system. Term limits are one possible solution. Limits may not be the only answer, but it’s one we would be well advised to consider carefully.

    ropelight (e88985)

  39. My favorite is the newspaper in FL that gives out ‘pinocchios’ for having wrong *opinions*.

    seeRpea (9cd63a)

  40. Hey, Narciso, in that link to USA Today, the comments had some chica calling Arpaio a disgusting bigot. Someone responded to her, calling her a disgusting bigot. Guess which comment got deleted.

    John Hitchcock (36559e)

  41. I was just pointing out where she comes from, it’s like with Chisholm’s abetters, apologists for fast and furious, benghazi, et al,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  42. The GOPe types selling us Fiorina have a death wish. The “Steve for Mumbai” HP customer service guy and the Lucent retirees who have no pensions are going to be DEATH to her candidacy. And she is a total squish on immigration. Florina should be asked about her career because it was awful.

    Bugg (fa64ec)

  43. Adj Dana isn’t a “GOPe” type. And he’s throwing his support behind Fiorina. Honestly, at this point, anytime I see someone type out “GOPe” in an attack, I decide that person is voting for the Democrat in the Republican primary. It is an automatic downgrade of the point the person is trying to make. And oftentimes, the point is already pretty well below C-level.

    John Hitchcock (36559e)

  44. Lucent retirees do have pensions. I know a few.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  45. If I were running a business where I could outsource my labor costs outside the US, you’re darn tootin’ I would do just that. In a heartbeat, as they say at Camp LeJeune.

    John Hitchcock (36559e)

  46. Another point: NO COMPANY should be handing out pensions. Let the employees create their own retirement accounts. Sure, companies can contribute matching funds if they so desire, but NO PENSIONS.

    John Hitchcock (36559e)

  47. I’ve dubbed them the Top Men, like the folk handling the ark, or ‘Duke and Duke’, signifying clueless establishment,

    narciso (ee1f88)

  48. re #48: who started the idea of company pensions?

    seeRpea (9cd63a)

  49. That would be the result of the wage cap FDR put on businesses. A way for companies to pay employees more than the FDR government allowed, in order to entice the better employees to come work for them and to stay with them. Private enterprise pensions are the result of disastrous government intervention into private enterprise.

    John Hitchcock (36559e)

  50. Pinocchio was a bad motivational speaker (extended version).

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  51. Let’s be careful to distinguish between truly earned pensions in the face of deadly conflict, and those awarded according to government bureaucrat seniority systems based on union contracts. Some pensions result from years of faithful but under-compensated service overseas at the risk of life and limb, and some pensions come as dessert after years of feeding at the public trough.

    ropelight (e88985)

  52. why does Michelle Ye Hee Lee hate successful women so much

    i wonder if her boss at the WaPo is a woman and she’s just projecting her resentment onto carlycakes

    or maybe a successful woman made her feel stupid or less than special one time at band camp

    happyfeet (831175)

  53. I once worked as a secretary and left that job to dig ditches. Really.

    AZ Bob (34bb80)

  54. Now you tell me! I just ordered 2 wristwatches using Patterico’s Amazon link.


    Somebody got a vacuum cleaner with the link. That was very nice. Thanks also to whoever did that.

    Patterico (fecd9b)

  55. Finally! I finally found something I disagree with you about, ropelight. Damn, over two years of reading your postings and finally.

    Military personnel should be given a lump sum settlement based on years of service, location, rank, awards and medals and any conflict related wounds. One pay, one time, in todays dollars (that’s dollars at the time of separation). The people of the United States should never be in the long term benefits business for anyone from private to President.

    Hoagie (f4eb27)

  56. Hoagie @58, the long term benefits in the military is not a pension; it’s technically retainer pay. That’s why the services maintain their respective retired lists. That’s why retirees who move out of the country and renounce their citizenship lose their benefits (except the Survivor Benefit Program if you keep making your payments). Because military retirees can be recalled, voluntarily or involuntarily, and the courts have ruled that retirees who renounce their citizenship will not be available for recall.

    It’s why military retired pay stops if you are incarcerated for more than 30 days. Such as Randy “Duke” Cunningham. His military retirement pay stopped because if you’re in prison, you’re no longer available for recall. When he got out it started again.

    But he continued to collect his Congressional pension all the while he was in prison as did other convicted felonious ex-Congresscritters like Traficant and Rostenkowski. Because those pensions have no strings attached, unlike military retainer pay.

    Returning to Retirement after Recall to Active Duty

    By following some simple steps, you will be able to transition back to retirement with little or no impact to your financial situation…

    It’s not like Social Security, which you get whether you’re a citizen, a non-citizen, or a former citizen. It’s not like any other government pension, which you receive without any further obligation to the government.

    Now, get rid of the requirement to be available for recall and your plan has merit. But if the USG is going to insist retirees remain available for recall then they damn well better keep paying the retainer fee.

    Steve57 (ca1277)

  57. Still struggling against the criticism, the Washington Post has revised their update, WITHOUT noting the revision to the update. The Post added the sentence in bold to its update. (Emphasis added by me.)

    (Update: This column generated criticism from many readers who said that her statements were entirely factual, as she once was a secretary, and thus were not worthy of Three Pinocchios. John Sexton of Breitbart wrote a critique in which he said the column was “poorly reasoned.” Fiorina herself said the column was “ludicrous” and “sort of floored me.” … In this case, Fiorina’s career really began after she received her MBA, when she was hired as an AT&T sales representative. We did not, as Fiorina falsely claimed on “Meet the Press,” assert she was not a secretary.)

    aunursa (be35b6)

  58. You guys are so FOS. Pensioning off long-term employees who are too old to work — “putting them out to pasture” — with a lump sum, a room, a house, a piece of land, and/or a lifetime stipend, is as old as the master-servant relationship. Romans would do it for their old slaves, for crying out loud. It’s the “out the door with a cheap watch and plaque” that’s the historical anomaly, the soulless child of the 20th century corporate culture.

    nk (dbc370)

  59. Gosh, I dunno if it helps her or hurts her. All I know is I sure hate Trump!

    School Marm (f96753)

  60. By their logic if she also intended to become Pope that would mean she was never a CEO either.

    Yeah, that makes sense.

    Rich Horton (e6ab50)

  61. Since you began #61 with cursing and insults, nk, I assume any attempt at dialogue will me met with more. Therefore, I will allow you to wallow in your ignorance by not hearing a brilliant plan to provide real wealth for retirees which is owned by them and can be passed on to their heirs.

    And by the way: “Pensioning off long-term employees who are too old to work — “putting them out to pasture” — with a lump sum, a room, a house, a piece of land, and/or a lifetime stipend, is as old as the master-servant relationship” is exactly what we do now but usually not with a lump sum.

    Hoagie (f4eb27)

  62. Right after the debate, I was saying the winner would be whoever was drawing the most fire from the media.

    I think I now know who won the debate.

    Karl Lembke (e37f42)

  63. One problem with Fiorina’s narrative is that the U.S. is a land of opportunity, but not the only one. Soichiro Honda was the school dropout son of a rural blacksmith. Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone started out as teenage motorcycle mechanic. Fashion magnate Giorgio Armani was a window dresser and sales clerk. Foxconn founder Gou Tai-ming worked a grinder in a rubber factory. Vicente Fox drove a delivery truck for Coca-Cola before becoming Coke’s director for Latin America and President of Mexico.

    We’re not as exceptional as we used to be – but perhaps because we’ve been a great example.

    Rich Rostrom (d2c6fd)

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