You Have to Believe Us, We’re Fact Checkers

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Somewhere deep beneath Washington and in secret bunkers in California fax machines went into action and I-phone text traffic was heavy as the Democrat spin machine was shifted into high gear. How could they minimize the damage from the President’s State of the Union speech and Nancy Pelosi’s pre-planned tantrum? The talking points were decided on and the word went out to all available media players. The talking point was, and continues to be, that Nancy Pelosi just couldn’t take it and that she just had to rise in righteous “protest” over a “speech filled with lies.” Cue the “fact-checkers” to point out the lies. AP fact check, Politifact, and Snopes all weighed in with their predictably misleading bowls of word salad. Just calling themselves fact checkers is an act of chutzpah akin to naming Obamacare the “Affordable Care Act.” You can check out all of the tap dancing for yourself but the rest of this post will look at the AP version.

AP first attempts to undercut the President’s SOTU claims on the economy. “The U.S. economy indeed is healthy. But gains have largely followed along the same lines of an expansion that started more than a decade ago under President Barack Obama.” This is like saying that Stradivarius really can’t claim he made that violin; credit should really go to the guy who cut down the tree. One who claims that Barack Obama had anything at all to do with the current success of the economy is simply economically illiterate. There is no question that the combination of eased regulations, tax cuts, and repatriation of foreign money under President Trump has led to the current boom. Ask anyone you know who has ever signed the front of a payroll check.

The President also claimed he added factories. AP said “But increases in the number U.S. factories began in 2013, more than four years before the start of Trump’s presidency..” It would’ve been hard for them not to begin going higher after 5 years of the Obama recession/stagnation. It doesn’t matter when they started to recover. Who is responsible for the current record-setting increases? There is only one answer and that is Donald Trump. A friend of mine back in college had some down home advice for building a fire. He told me, ” One log won’t burn. Two logs might burn. Three logs will burn. Four logs make a fire.” After four years of shivering, then-president Obama got some kindling to ignite. That was slightly better than freezing to death. President Trump, on the other hand, knows how to build a roaring bonfire.

On immigration, AP quibbles with the statement that there was a “catch-and-release” policy on the southern border which the President claimed to have fixed. AP says “Mexicans were quickly returned while others were held in detention until they were deported.” This ignores illegal crossings by those from other Central American countries (treated differently) and, most importantly, those arriving with children. The combination of asylum claims from non-Mexicans and accompanying children put the border patrol in a box as to what they could legally do. The net result was that they were forced to release “families” (some were really families, some weren’t) with a promise to appear for a hearing. Massive numbers of these folks just melted into the US and never appeared. According to Customs and Border Protection, as of September 2018, more than 90,000 family units were detained in fiscal 2018 along with more than 45,000 unaccompanied minors. In October 2018 Arizona was forced to release at least 800 family members in one week.  Later, in their attempted take down, AP said, “The surge has since passed, so fewer people are being held and fewer would need to be released.” Yes AP, the surge has passed. President Trump made it pass. Forced to work without Congress, he secured the assistance of Mexico and several other Central American countries to drastically reduce the flow of illegal immigrants and built portions of the wall in several areas. It was reported this morning that total arrests at the border are the lowest in 2 years and apprehensions involving children are at the lowest since 2017. Did anything of note happen in 2017?

AP again quibbles with the President’s assertion that his regulatory relief has moved us to “become the number one oil producer in the world, by far.” Note the last two words…”by far.” AP hangs their hat on the fact that the US first became the number one producer for oil, natural gas, etc. in earlier years and thus Trump had nothing to do with it. Here’s a little fact …..The increase in annual US oil production since Trump became president is equal to the annual oil production of Mexico. That’s just the increase. It is surpassed only by the annual production of the other members of the world’s top ten. It seems that the key words missed by the AP fact checkers were “by far.”

The President said in the SOTU that the new USMCA agreement would create 100,000 new jobs. AP cites a hand-picked study which predicts only 28,000 new jobs. They then admit that another government agency predicts 76,000 new jobs. According to AP, “It’s still not the 100,000 jobs claimed by Trump.” First of all, this is a prediction. If the president is wrong that’s a bad prediction, not a lie. Second of all, whose prediction are you more likely to believe? I’m more inclined to believe the president’s optimistic projection. Just last week the “experts” predicted the economy would add 164,000 new jobs. Turns out it added 225,000. Who ya’ gonna believe, your experts or your lyin’ eyes? And even if it really is only 28,000 new jobs, is that a bad thing?

The AP version of this fact checking nonsense continues ad nauseum and touches on drug prices, unemployment, and healthcare with equal deception. The pretzel twisting knots they tie themselves into just to be able to say, “See, he wasn’t right” are just amazing. The self-assigned label of fact checker is cleverly designed to try to give a biased point of view instant credibility. Don’t buy it. Just as the Affordable Care Act had little to do with affordable, today’s fact checkers have little to do with facts.

Dig for yourself.