by Brian Balfour
Senior Vice President of Research, John Locke Foundation
Anyone paying attention knows that corporate media “fact-checks” are biased. Their agenda is to provide cover for progressives and attack conservatives.
Some slanted “fact checks” are quite blatant, while others a somewhat more subtle.
Which brings me to this “fact check” from yesterday’s Raleigh News & Observer.
The article supposedly fact checks claims made about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) made by Republican and Democrat political candidates, including Senate Candidates Ted Budd (R) and Cheri Beasley (D), among others.
The first disputed claim is whether the IRA is projected to actually reduce inflation. The N&O, to their credit cites several sources that found the IRA will do little or nothing to reduce inflation:
“Penn-Wharton Budget Model, the Congressional Budget Office, the Tax Foundation, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and Moody’s Analytics all rejected this claim, PolitiFact reported, saying that the bill does little, if anything, to affect inflation.“
The article then specifically quotes the CBO report, which projected the bill to have virtually no impact on inflation. Not mentioned by the N&O is the fact that the IRA, even by its own calculations, will increase budget deficits in its first few years – which creates higher inflationary pressure, at the time when Americans are desperate for relief from rising prices.
Two other claims have more significant omissions.
The N&O found a claim that the IRA will increase tax burdens on the middle classes to be false, writing “Similar claims have been made by other Republicans, leading to an Associated Press fact check that determined those to be false.”
The article does acknowledge one potential middle class impact: “The 15% minimum tax on large corporations could have a trickle-down effect that could result in lower wages for workers of those corporations.”
This “potential” impact is treated like a throwaway, however. The N&O ignores a report from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation that shows the poor and middle class will see a larger percentage increase in their tax burden than high-income households under the IRA. This seems like an odd omission from a newspaper that has for years slammed any tax schemes perceived to be regressive.
Lastly, this N&O “fact check” article once again dredges up the debate over the meaning of the word “recession.” Providing cover for the Biden administration, the N&O refutes the claim that two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth makes a recession. They default to stating that the National Bureau of Economic Research “officially” is tasked with identifying recessions, and they base their call on several economic indicators.
While technically factual, this is not entirely truthful. The commonly accepted indicator, for decades, has been two consecutive quarters of negative GDP.
Here is Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen acknowledging as much:
And here’s Bill Clinton using the same definition back in 2000:
Sometimes the media’s agenda is revealed more by what they don’t say. It’s a shame that people sincerely looking for honest discussions of “the facts” of important issues are shortchanged by agenda-driven corporate media “fact checkers.”