WashPost Revises Rating on Sen. Cotton Over Boston Bomber's COVID Check Sen. Tom Cotton questions U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland as he testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about oversight of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 27, 2021. (Tasos Katopodis-Pool/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Friday, 07 January 2022 07:45 AM
The Washington Post has revised a "Pinocchio" rating it gave Sen. Tom Cotton last year after reports came out confirming that Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev got a $1,400 stimulus check last March, as Cotton had predicted would happen while arguing in favor of an amendment on the COVID legislation.
Thursday, the newspaper reported that it was revising its rating and that Cotton's comments were "mostly true" after getting an email from the Arkansas Republican's press secretary James Arnold, who pointed out that Tsarnaev did get the check, news that came after a filing was made by the Justice Department seeking to seize the money.
"You portrayed Senator Cotton’s amendment as pure political theater — 'not serious legislation' — warning of an outcome that, according to your article, was very unlikely to happen," Arnold said in the email. "Now that it has in fact happened, we’re asking that you update your story to include that Senator Cotton’s concerns did come true and that his amendment would have prevented it."
The Post had also called Cotton's amendment seeking to stop prisoners from getting a stimulus check as "scaremongering."
"We also disagree with your claims that Senator Cotton’s efforts were solely political, designed only for campaign ads, etc., instead of based on legitimate policy disagreements," Arnold said in his email.
The newspaper said in its revision that Cotton had initially gotten a "Two-Pinocchio" rating because his comments had lacked context, but now "Cotton’s predictive powers should be acknowledged. He said the Boston bomber would get a stimulus check — and Tsarnaev did."
The rating was then reduced to "One Pinocchio," or "mostly true," saying the senator's statement laced context but was correct that Tsarnaev would bet a check.
The newspaper also acknowledged that the senator had raised a "legitimate issue of concern, even if he framed it in a political way," and that the Post's use of the term "hyped up" also had gone too far.
"Remember — every Democratic Senator voted against my amendment that would have stopped prisoners from getting checks," said Cotton.
Wednesday, Massachusetts district court judge George O'Toole ordered Tsarnaev to give back the payment he received in prison in June 2021.
Tsarnaev was sentenced to death in 2015 for the Boston Marathon terrorist attack after he was found guilty of 30 charges of having killed three and injuring 265 others, but the sentence was reversed in July 2020 by the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Former President Donald Trump's Justice Department appealed the decision to the Supreme Court and a ruling is expected this summer about whether the death sentence will be reinstated.