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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.

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Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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