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Twitter shows up fact-checker on Soros defense

The Washington Post has attempted to dismiss claims the liberal financier had funded the district attorney prosecuting Trump

Twitter users corrected the Washington Post’s star fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, when he attempted to write off the claim that liberal financier George Soros had funded the Manhattan district attorney who indicted former US president Donald Trump as “misleading.”

Kessler, who rated the “incendiary claim” that Soros funded Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg “three Pinocchios” in a Saturday fact-check, accused the Trump campaign and other Republicans who echoed the factoid of “being slippery” and conjuring “stereotypes of rich Jewish financiers secretly controlling events.” 

However, his fact-check also admitted the claim was “technically correct,” a caveat he appeared to discount in his final decision to award it the triple-Pinocchio rating. Twitter users pounced, appending a community note adding context to Kessler’s own admission of truth. 

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“Soros donated $1 million to the Color of Change PAC, the largest individual donation it received in the 2022 election cycle, days after it endorsed Bragg for district attorney and pledged more than $1 million in spending to support his candidacy,” the second-order fact-check explained.

Kessler accused the note’s authors of not having read his fact-check, pointing out that racial issues NGO Color of Change didn’t actually spend $1 million on Bragg – only for the anonymous tweeters to respond that they had never claimed it had. The fact-checker’s tweet sprouted a community note almost identical in wording to the first, reminding Kessler that it was Soros’ pledged support for Bragg that was the issue, not Color of Change’s.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk appeared to appreciate this use of the community notes feature, tweeting, “The only thing on fire are Kessler’s pants.”

Trump’s campaign repeatedly referenced the “Soros-funded prosecutor” and “special interest donors like Soros” in a statement released Friday, boasting it had raised $4 million in the first 24 hours following the former president’s “sham indictment,” implying the American people were sick of Soros pulling the levers of American politics. 

Even Politifact and CNN’s fact-checkers acknowledged the Open Society Foundations philanthropist had indirectly funded Bragg via Color of Change, though the virulently anti-Trump news network was careful to couch its admission in accusations of “antisemitism” and “anti-blackness.” 

Soros’ son and daughter-in-law also contributed directly to Bragg’s election campaign.

Trump, his chief Republican rival Ron DeSantis, and other conservative politicians have blamed Soros-funded prosecutors in large Democrat-run cities for a surge in violent crime, arguing the district attorneys’ efforts to eliminate cash bail and relax sentencing guidelines have emboldened dangerous criminals who know they will not be punished for anything short of a violent felony.

April 04, 2023 at 03:05AM

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