I am awarding the Washington Post fact checker Four Pinocchios, a Pants on Fire, and a Jim Carrey (below) for his inane piece “President Clinton’s overenthusiasm for growth in green jobs.”
The fact checker decided to “fact-check” these two recent “comments about stimulus funding during NBC’s Meet the Press, Sept. 18, 2011″:
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell : “If you look at the stimulus bill, what did we get out of that? Turtle tunnels and Solyndra. More money was lost on Solyndra than came to my state to fix roads and bridges out of the entire stimulus package last year, and now he’s asking us to do it again.”
Former President Bill Clinton: “I heard what Senator McConnell said about that one project, but the hard truth is that in America, in spite of his hostility to it, green technology jobs have grown twice as fast as the overall job-generating capacity of the economy in the last eight years, where all job growth has been anemic. You’re going to have a lot of that.”
Now you might think the WashPost would be all over McConnell’s falsehoods. After all, it is an outright lie that all we got out of the stimulus was “Turtle tunnels and Solyndra.” The Washington Post itself reported that according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus may have generated up to 3.3 millions jobs by mid-2010 alone.
And, of course, this sentence is false: “More money was lost on Solyndra than came to my state to fix roads and bridges out of the entire stimulus package last year, and now he’s asking us to do it again.” Obama isn’t “asking us to do it again,” in any reasonable reading of the word “it.” And the WashPost points out “Overall, Kentucky received nearly $3.7 billion overall in stimulus funding between 2009 and 2011, according to the government-run stimulus-tracking Web site Recovery.gov.”
But it appears that one small piece of McConnell’s cavalcade of misinformation is correct “More money was lost on Solyndra than came to my state to fix roads and bridges.” So, of course, the WashPost fact-checker gives McConnell a clean bell of health, saying nothing more about his falsehoods than, “We find no fault with McConnell’s claim about Solyndra funding versus Kentucky’s stimulus money.”
UPDATE: CAP’s Bracken Hendricks has sent me a good explanation of why even this one supposedly fault-free part of McConnell’s statement is incredibly misleading, which I reprint below.
President Clinton, however, uttered the truth and even provided the WashPost with a reference to back him up, but the Post gave him two Pinocchios, claiming “He relied on selective data that would support his case while ignoring other relevant numbers.” Seriously. Who is being selective here — Clinton or the Washington Post?
Let’s run this one down since it involves accuracy by the former president and hypocritical inaccuracy by the Washington Post of a kind I expect that we will see repeated by bad fact checkers. The key point President Clinton made that the WashPost contests is: