It’s amazing how the “independent fact checkers” show up to try and “correct” conservative reporting that embarrasses the Biden administration. First, it was Snopes that tried to claim the Washington Free Beacon’s story on plans to provide free drug paraphernalia (including crack pipes?) for “harm reduction” was “Mostly False.” Now Washington Post Pinocchio-peddler Glenn Kessler is taking a turn, but only as an “analysis.” He concluded it’s “complex.”
Kessler’s headline was Viral article that unleashed ‘crack pipe’ firestorm relied on assumptions.” Yes, Glenn, there were “assumptions” because Biden’s bureaucrats would not provide specifics!
Brent Scher, executive editor at the Free Beacon, responded to our questions. “You are correct that the spokesman did not specifically say pipes in response to our questions, one of which was what is in the smoking kits,” he said in an email. “They said they would not specify what is in the kits. Our follow up was to verify that the kits were in fact for smoking crack, which they confirmed. Based on what has been put in crack smoking kits across the country, we reported that the government would be funding crack pipes. This is what smoking kits are.”
But Kessler let the goverment accuse the conservatives of “jumping to conclusions” when they wouldn’t specify.
Jorge Silva, HHS deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, said in a phone interview that Hauf jumped to a conclusion that was not warranted. He noted that Garrett’s statement made clear the kits would need to follow federal, state and local laws — a sentence that did not make it into the article.
“He never asked, and we never confirmed,” Silva said. “I honestly don’t know how that would have been answered.” He said that if Hauf had asked about funding pipes, Garrett would have checked with the SAMHSA legal department to see if an answer could be provided. But instead, Hauf “misrepresented that a spokesman confirmed that.”
The Free Beacon didn’t mince words in reply:
The administration’s story is utter nonsense. Existing harm reduction programs across the country include pipes in the smoking kits they give to crack addicts. Take, for example, a program from California’s Department of Public Health, which openly advertises glass pipes. Other programs in cities such as Annapolis, Md., New Haven, Conn., and Seattle, Wash., all include crack pipes in their smoking kits….
Even after the White House denial that crack pipes will be funded, the administration still won’t say it never planned to include them. “The department did not respond when asked by the New York Times if glass pipes were ever allowable under the grant provisions,” the paper wrote on Thursday evening.
Like most Democratic institutions, the Biden administration has a habit of dismissing inconvenient stories as “misinformation” without actually refuting them.
When the bureaucracy is embarrassed by a story, they can try and revise their policy and pretend they never meant to do anything controversial, like provide taxpayer-funded drug paraphernalia.
Leftist Twitter is strutting around saying this story was Fake News, pretending Scher said it was “made up”:
This is Brent Scher, executive editor at the Free Beacon, which started the fake Biden admin “crack pipe” story.
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) February 11, 2022