Last week the Washington Free Beacon’s Collin Anderson reported the sale of a million barrels of oil from our strategic petroleum reserve to Unipec, the trading arm of the China Petrochemical Corporation. Anderson’s story ran under the headline “Biden Sold a Million Barrels From US Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China-Owned Gas Giant,” where it caught the attention of Senator Grassley.

The story was then subjected to one of the Washington Post’s fact-checks, this one under the byline of Fact Checker editor and chief writer Glenn Kessler here. Kessler begins with the Free Beacon story, with respect to which he does not find a single fact to be in error (though he doesn’t say that). His job might have ended at that point, but it had only just begun. Kessler widened the net to take in Marjorie Taylor Greene et al. and concluded with his assessment:

This is an example of how simple facts — SPR oil was sold to a subsidiary of a Chinese company and Hunter Biden once has a business relationship with that company — are turned into something nefarious. The contract was awarded to the highest bidders in a competitively bid process and Hunter Biden was many steps removed from the U.S. trading arm of the Chinese firm. [As I read the narrative portion of Kessler’s column, however, this actually remains to be determined.]

Moreover, there’s no reason for outrage. Oil prices are determined by global supply and demand. The Biden administration is seeking to lower the global price of crude oil by bolstering supply around the globe. Selling crude oil to traders, whether based in the United States, Europe or Asia, is part of that effort.

Anyone suggests the Biden administration is doing something wrong here — as opposed to following the rules — earns Three Pinocchios.

It’s a sort of “no one here but us chickens” response. The Free Beacon itself responded to Kessler yesterday in this editorial. (Full disclosure: My daughter Eliana is the editor-in-chief of the Free Beacon.) The editorial credits Kessler with putting on “a master class in the left’s crusade to conflate objective truth with Democratic spin.” The Free Beacon editors write (links omitted):

Yes, the Biden administration did this, Kessler concedes. Them’s the facts. But three Pinocchios for Grassley and for us, he says, for turning “simple facts” into “something nefarious.” You know, like the fact that China was also supposed to be releasing oil from its reserves in order to ease global fuel prices, according to the White House, but is instead boosting its own reserves by hoarding barrels from our stockpile.

But far be it from us to imply that the Biden administration’s strategy here is amiss: “Anyone who suggests the Biden administration is doing something wrong here—as opposed to following the rules—earns Three Pinocchios,” Kessler writes.

Here’s how the fact checker-Democrat nexus works. White House adviser (and former “Grillary Clinton” apron model) Ian Sams is now waving Kessler’s assessment around on Twitter, accusing Republicans of “pushing false conspiracies about the President.”

You be the judge. From our strategic petroleum reserve to theirs, what’s the difference? And the possible Hunter Biden connection remains to be determined, but so what? Kessler has turned himself into a monitor of bad attitudes and false consciousness in a manner that should be beyond his jurisdiction but for its use to the Democratic Party.

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