News & Politics

White House Sends Fact-Checkers After Townhall Media for Quoting Joe Biden

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

It’s up to fact-checkers to clear up Presidentish Joe Biden’s misleading boasts about gas prices… say the fact-checkers.

I’ll give you the full context and you can decide if Politifact is right or if our sister site, Townhall, is.

Townhall ran this clip last week of Biden talking gas prices on a visit to Kansas City.

Biden is boasting that gas prices are down an average of six or seven cents per gallon over the last couple of weeks.

Just to be safe, however, the next day Townhall ran an even longer clip from Biden’s speech.

The problem is that the White House got its knickers twisted tighter than four spiders playing Twister over Townhall calling out Biden’s sloppy language and out-of-context boast. So White House rapid reaction director Mike Gwin leaped into action, accusing Townhall of “lazy, deceptive, editing” to “to omit that the President was noting falling gas prices.”

Except as my Townhall colleague Spencer Brown noted, that “isn’t what happened.” The clip Townhall posted on Twitter included the part where Biden boasted, “Nationally, prices are down seven cents a gallon, continuing to fall.”

That wasn’t enough for Politifact’s Bill McCarthy:

Most responsible for the spread of the abbreviated clip on Twitter was the conservative website Townhall, according to Hoaxy, a social media analysis tool that maps the spread of tweets.

The website tweeted the clip just after 4 p.m. EST, writing, “BIDEN: ‘We’re making progress. We’re going to keep at it to ensure the American people are paying their fair share for gas.’”

In the minutes that followed, another conservative website, the Post Millennial, uploaded a similarly abbreviated clip. Disclose.tv followed suit. And the retweets rolled in.

At no point did Townhall post a misleading clip. What they did do was make hay about Biden’s imprecise language and his stupid boast about a seven-cent reduction in the price of gas, when in fact gas prices are way up over the last 11 months — but I’ll get back to that in a moment.

Recommended: Omicron Fever — I’ve Got It!

All the context you needed was provided by Townhall. McCarthy ignored it because he’s an opinion writer, and not a very convincing one, who self-identifies as a non-partisan fact-checker.

Personal Pronouns: Bull and… you can guess the second one.

I’ll give you the context McCarthy won’t.

Since Biden was sworn in last January, gas prices are up nationally from an average of $2.46 on Inauguration Day to $3.44 today. That’s an increase of 71.5%.

Here’s the chart courtesy of yCharts. The part I circled in red is the part Biden is bragging about.

Fact-Check This About Gas Prices, PolitiFact

Fact-Check THIS, PolitiFact

How’s that for context?

Prices are down because of traders’ fears that omicron-related travel restrictions will reduce the demand for oil and not because Biden’s inflationary policies suddenly transmogrified to anti-inflationary policies.

Did Townhall lack context when they posted of video of Biden speaking — or did Biden lack context about gas prices coming down?

But this is what Politifact does: Provide cover for Democrats under the guise of fact-checking.

“To be fair,” I wrote about a similar story last May, “PolitiFact is the absolute worst form of hackery: Hacks pretending to catch hacks.”

Just a couple of years ago, another PolitiFact hack, Louis Jacobson, had to weigh in on when a legally justified shooting death is actually murder: When Democrats find it politically expedient for a legally justified shooting death to be murder.

“Experts,” Jacbonson wrote about the ginned-up controversy over Michael Brown’s death, “who have studied police-related deaths and race relations said that focusing too much on the linguistics in controversial cases comes with its own set of problems.”

In other words, Democrats get to lie and we don’t get to quibble about the actual facts.