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Fact Checker Redefines Words to Silence Biden Critics

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Newsbusters' Joseph Vazquez uncovered a new tactic from the so-called “fact checkers”: completely redefining terms to fit whatever conclusion they want.

While the partisan hack fact checkers usually rely on misleading framing and shoddy research to reinvent reality, this new strategy represents their most direct attempt yet to distort the truth.

Recently, the Media Research Center (of which Newsbusters is part of) had 27 of their posts on Facebook and Instagram censored because French fact-checker Agence France-Presse (AFP) found it was “missing context.” The posts in question were promoting a mini-documentary called “Killing Keystone,” and had a caption holding Biden accountable for the U.S. losing the energy independent status it gained under Trump. This caption is what the fact checker took issue with, and Facebook/Instagram linked to two articles by AFP to justify silencing the post.

As Vazeuz notes, and media-approved fact checkers can’t even get the story straight on U.S. energy independence:

One fact-check in particular lambasted posts that criticized Biden for undermining U.S. energy independence. That fact-check claimed that American imports of foreign oil under Trump invalidated statements supporting the notion that the U.S. was energy-independent under Trump’s presidency.

But fellow Facebook fact-checker Lead Stories contradicted AFP, writing in a May 2021 fact-check: “In 2019, when Donald Trump was president, the U.S. did achieve energy independence, something that had not happened since 1957.” Apparently these aligned fact-checkers didn’t have their story straight.

Both AFP fact checks were written by Rob Lever, who rebutted reality be redefining the definition of energy independence, writing: “The US became a ‘net annual petroleum exporter’ in 2020, according to official government data, which some commentators touted as energy independence. But supply is not a one-sided metric; data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that American exports that year amounted to about 8.51 million barrels per day (bpd), while imports were still about 7.86 million bpd [emphasis Vazquez’s].”

Energy independence, at least for how everyone except Lever defines it, is when the U.S. has more energy exports than imports. It is not, as he argues, when there are no energy imports.

There was widespread agreement in the media on this point.

ABC 4 News wrote on March 7, 2022: “Last year was neck and neck but technically the U.S. was energy independent since it exported more than it imported.” Forbes published a piece March 8, 2022, headlined: “Surprise! The U.S. Is Still Energy Independent.” Axios published a story Feb. 19, 2022, headlined: “The U.S. is now energy independent.”

In addition to the aforementioned Lead Stories, even other traditionally godawful fact checkers such as Politifact and CNN’s Daniel Dale agreed that the U.S. reached energy independence under Trump when it happened. Even they haven’t resorted to redefining words to reach the fact checking “conclusion” they want.

Or at least not yet.

Matt Palumbo is the author of The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros


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