Factcheck.org Misleads in Fact Checking Clinton’s Speech
Factcheck.org was daunted by the prospect of Bill Clinton’s 2012 Democratic Convention speech. Who wouldn’t tremble at the thought of fact checking that labyrinthine epic! Surprisingly, Clinton came out just about clean as a whistle.
The problem is, they didn't engage in fact checking at all. Allow me to demonstrate. Only by misstating what Clinton said were they able to confirm the last of the facts they checked:
“He also accused Republicans of blocking 1 million potential new jobs, but that checked out, too:”
Now, the misstatement is subtle, but significant. Clinton made no claim about POTENTIAL new jobs. Indeed, Fact Check also includes Clinton's own words:
"Last year the Republicans blocked the president’s job plan, costing the economy more than a million new jobs."
Clinton does not blame the Republicans for blocking one million “potential” jobs, he claims Republicans COST the economy a million new jobs. How could fact check possibly prove what Clinton actually claimed? They couldn't, so they fact checked their OWN statement. Their addition of "potential" made this a check able fact. How do we know a million "potential" jobs were blocked? Two “independent” economists estimated that the plan would have created such jobs. If reliable sources make such an estimate, it is indeed possible that the plan would have created jobs. It is not, thereby, a FACT, however. The discrepancy between the very sources shows this:
“Two independent economists — Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics and Joel Prakken of Macroeconomics Advisers — had estimated that Obama’s proposed American Jobs Act would add more than 1 million jobs. Zandi claimed it would add 1.9 million jobs; Prakken 1.3 million. Senate Republicans blocked the $447 billion measure, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell denounced it as “a charade that’s meant to give Democrats a political edge” in 2012.”
So, we have Factcheck using 1 million jobs; Clinton says more than a million jobs; Zandi says 1.9 million; Prakken says 1.3 million. There is a discrepancy because they are only potential jobs. What such estimates confirm is that the plan might have created jobs. If Clinton's claim had been about potential jobs lost, it would have checked out. He didn't make that claim, however, so Factcheck gave him an assist, changed the claim, and gave THAT claim their seal of approval.
Okay, but who cares, jobs is jobs! We don’t know how many jobs would have been created because the Republicans blocked the plan! (More on that presently.) But there is no guarantee whatsoever that the president’s proposed jobs act would have created ANY jobs.
But so what! Why not at least try to create jobs? Why on earth would Republicans block this? As a matter of FACT, the Republicans didn’t block the proposal. Both Factcheck.org AND Clinton LIED about this. McConnell moved to add the President’s jobs bill as an amendment to a bill that had bi-partisan support. In response, HARRY REID cancelled the vote. By demonstrating that DEMOCRATS didn’t support the President’s jobs bill, Mitch McConnell proved that the bill was indeed a charade. As The Daily Caller reported at the time (they must not be a factcheck.org resource):
"Reid blocked a vote on Obama’s jobs bill after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a motion to add it as an amendment to a bill being heard on the floor. That bill was an effort to put pressure on China to allow its currency to appreciate.
“McConnell said earlier that given Obama’s insistence on passing his jobs bill quickly, he wanted to put the Senate on the record.
“Twelve times the president has asked us over the last few weeks to vote on what he calls his jobs bill now,” McConnell said. “I don’t think the president is saying here he wants an extensive debate on it. I think he’s saying he wants a vote on it. And I want to disabuse him of the notion that we’re not willing to vote on it.”
An early vote on the $447 billion jobs bill would have likely ended in embarrassment for the White House. Republicans are sure to oppose it as a whole, and Senate Democrats want to take a closer look at the bill, possibly proposing alternate payment methods.”
And the reason DEMOCRATS, as well as republicans, had doubts about this jobs bill, was the price tag. I wonder if Zandi took into account the impact of another half trillion dollars in deficit spending on the economy, which also has a bearing on jobs, perhaps even one that is off setting. Maybe that had something to do with the opposition?
The Fact Check dot Org piece has nothing to do with "fact checking." A better name for it is "spinning."