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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Over the weekend, House Minority Leader Eric Cantor made a startlingly false claim:

“What we are trying to do is fund the government and make sure also that we take away the kinds of things that are standing in the way of a growing economy [and] a better health care, and all the while keeping our eye focused on trying to deal with the ultimate problem, which is this growing deficit.”

PolitiFact — the fact-checking bureau that takes pride in constantly offending both sides of the aisle — looked at this claim and decided that it was “Half True,” because though the deficit is shrinking, it is projected to rise in 2016.

“By this standard, Cantor is wrong,” PolitiFact wrote. “However, unless policies are changed, deficits are projected to grow again in 2016 and beyond, according to the CBO. On balance, we rate his claim Half True.”

This justifiably made a few people livid, including MSNBC’s Steve Benen, The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent and The New York Times‘ Paul Krugman.

Salon‘s Brian Beutler said that this blatant error is probably a good thing, since most people aren’t actually aware the deficit is shrinking.

But the organization this mistake should upset the most is… PolitiFact.

In July, President Obama said “our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years” and PolitiFact rated this statement “True”:

Barack Obama said the deficit has fallen at the fastest rate in 60 years. While economists vary on how to best measure that decline, the president used an acceptable approach and his numbers are accurate. There are no statistical tricks in play.

As a wise man once said: Politifact, you’d better check yourself before you wreck yourself.

FULL DISCLOSURE:  PolitiFact once gave me a “False” for tweeting that they would have to lay off staffers after Michele Bachmann dropped out of the 2012 GOP primary.

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)