House GOP presses fact-checkers over Biden’s definition of ‘recession’

According to a letter obtained exclusively by Breitbart News, House Republicans have asked the Poynter Institute, one of the most influential “fact-checkers” in the U.S., to give President Joe Biden’s definition of a “recession” reply.

While the standard definition of a recession is two consecutive fiscal quarters of negative GDP growth, Biden believes the term should not apply to the current U.S. economy.

In a White House blog post last week, the Biden administration proposed a new “overall” definition of a recession.

White House wrote:

What is a recession? While some argue that two consecutive quarters of declines in real GDP constitute a recession, this is neither the official definition nor how economists assess the state of the business cycle.

Instead, official judgements of recessions and economists’ assessments of economic activity are based on holistic observations of the data — including the labor market, consumer and business spending, industrial production and incomes.

After Biden determined the country was not in recession based on his preferred definition, the fact-checking website ran with Biden’s statement and began “fact-checking” those using the traditional definition of negative two-quarters growth.

PolitiFact has a fact-checking partnership with Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta, rated Claims that Biden changed the definition of recession to “false,” and flagged posts pointing to this as “false” or “misinformation.”

in a letter House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee, led by Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), asked PolitiFact’s parent company, the Poynter Institute, about how the company conducts fact-checking and whether it colluded with the Biden administration s answer.

President Joe Biden speaks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Thursday, July 28, 2022, in Washington, DC. The recession drums are getting louder after the U.S. economy shrank for a second straight quarter, as decades of high inflation sapped consumer spending and higher Federal Reserve interest rates hampered businesses and housing. (Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

House Republicans debate“Poynter must be transparent and accountable in its processes and address any potential conflicts of interest.”

The letter pointed to other examples of the social media site’s “fact-checking” stories being false, which turned out to be true.For example, they point out that social media sites ban New York Post and label its coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop “Russian disinformation” despite zero evidence to support their false label.

This letter It also points to reports earlier this year that the Biden administration was using federal funds to buy popping pipes for “safe smoking kits,” which these fact-checkers falsely labelled even though it turned out to be true.

“Recently, PolitiFact falsely labeled third-party content challenging the Biden administration’s definition of recession as ‘disinformation,'” the letter said.

mcmorris rogers even famous Former President Bill Clinton (D) defines a recession by the traditional definition of two consecutive quarters.

The letter argues that PolitiFact’s actions violate Poynter’s core tenet that “nonpartisan and transparent fact-checking can be a powerful tool for accountable journalism.”

“Our nation is built on a battle of ideas and a robust discussion of the state of our nation,” the letter said. “Holding our government to account through fact-based journalism, including questioning the White House’s claims, is the foundation of our democracy.”

letter continue:

However, fact-checkers are weighing in the active debate by labelling views that run counter to the Biden administration or views that would actively harm Democrats’ electoral goals as “disinformation,” blindly accepting the administration’s claims as truth, and harming The credibility of any dissenting voices.

Not only does this appear to violate Poynter’s core principles, but it also creates an echo chamber of misleading information for participants in active debate, contrary to the stated purpose of Poynter and fact-checkers.

The letter asked the Poynter Institute to answer who set the fact-checking standards, how its fact-checkers were certified, and whether any of their fact-checkers communicated with the Biden administration on the updated definition of recession.

House Republicans also press Poynter Instate provides their definition of misinformation and whether users have the ability to challenge a fact-checker’s certification if they inaccurately flag content.

In addition to Rep. McMorris Rodgers, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Robert Latta (R-OH), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), David McKinley (R-WV), H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) signed the letter.

Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News.write to him or follow him Twitter.

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