This post is adapted from Rachel's script last night.
America, behold! An empirical statement of fact from the president of the United States.
President Obama: In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly 4 million jobs. And we lost another 4 million before our policies were in full effect. Those are the facts.
But so are these -- in the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs. Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005.
President Obama made these two claims in his State of the Union address this week -- that in the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs, and that last year, they created the most jobs since 2005.
The self-proclaimed fact-checking news site PolitiFact decided to fact check this claim by the president. PolitiFact describes itself as a nonpartisan journalism enterprise. They fact check what politicians and public figures say and then they rate the statements with this thingy they call the truth-o-meter.
PolitiFact went to the Bureau of Labor Statistics to figure this out. I don't know if they looked at this specific report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (pdf), but within about 15 seconds of Googling, we found this and you'd find it too. From a couple weeks back, January 6, 2012, in this report, the bureau says, since February 2010, "The private sector has added 3.2 million jobs." So in 22 months, businesses added more than 3 million jobs.
PolitiFact came to the same conclusion. So, put a check mark next to that part. It checks out. What the president said is true.
PolitiFact then went on to say, OK, the second part of Obama's statements, the fact that businesses made more jobs last year than any year since 2005 -- it turns out, that's true too. "As for whether 2011 was the best job-producing jobs since '05, he's right, if you're counting private-sector jobs." They go on, "The increase in 2011 represented the highest one-year total since 2005."
So to sum up, the president says thing A and thing B. PolitiFact looks into it and decides that thing A and thing B as stated by the president are both true. On their truth-o-meter, they rate the statements Half True. How did two trues add up to a Half True?
PolitiFact writes, "Obama is correct on both counts, when using private-sector jobs numbers." That's probably why he said businesses, right? Right. PolitiFact continues: "But he went too far when he implicitly credited his administration policies. So we rate the statement Half True."
When he implicitly credited his administration policies, as in when he said, "Businesses have created more than 3 million jobs"?
PolitiFact, what is wrong with you? You think the president calls himself "Businesses," like it's a nickname for himself? You think he looks himself in the mirror and says, "Hey, Businesses, looking good"?
After the economist Jared Bernstein and half of the English-speaking Internet L-so-O-L'ed at PolitiFact for screwing this up today, PolitiFact went back and revised their initial finding. They said this: "Our initial Half True rating was based upon an interpretation that Obama was crediting his policies for the jobs increases. But we've concluded that he was not making that linkage as strongly as we initially believed."
Now, we're back to something that calls itself PolitiFact, fact-checking the president saying thing A and thing B, both of which PolitiFact says are true. What is their chastened, revised new rating for their fact check of the president saying two things that they admit are true? What's their new rating?
"Mostly True"! That's what they said.
PolitiFact, you are fired. You are a mess. You are fired. You are undermining the definition of the word "fact" in the English language by pretending to it in your name. The English language wants its word back.
You are an embarrassment. You sully the reputation of anyone who cites you as an authority on fact-ishness, let alone fact. You are fired.