Politifact called President Trump’s deficit reduction efforts “mostly false” — while admitting that the statistics he used to make the point were factual.
President Trump tweeted out this on February 25, saying that the national debt went down by $12 billion, compared to a $200 billion increase in Obama’s first month.
The media has not reported that the National Debt in my first month went down by $12 billion vs a $200 billion increase in Obama first mo.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
PolitiFact’s Aaron Sharockman rated this statement “mostly false,” even though he says the numbers check out. Sharockman notes that the total public debt dropped another $22 billion even after Trump sent his tweet. He reasons that debt projections can fluctuate; therefore, temporary reductions in national debt lack the importance to merit the kind of coverage Trump demanded.
Dan Mitchell, a scholar at the Cato Institute, told PolitiFact, “Considering that Trump has not enacted any fiscal legislation, it is a bit of a stretch for him to take credit for any changes in debt levels.” He added, “Debt levels go up and down in the short run based on independent factors such as quarterly tax payments and predetermined expenditure patterns.”
PolitiFact has been busted before for its bias. They once rated a joke by Senator Ted Cruz “mostly false” and, in a rating similar to this debt article, called a Trump debate claim “half true” despite admitting that it was factual.
Social media giant Facebook has teamed up with PolitiFact, a project of the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times, to label stories in users’ timelines as “fake news.” PolitiFact, by signing Poynter’s “Fact Checking Code of Principles” declares its work “nonpartisan and transparent.”