CNN's 'Fact Checkers' Rush to Give Obama Credit For Good Economy

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John Harwood and CNN Newsroom co-host Jim Sciutto took it upon themselves on Wednesday to fact check President Trump's State of the Union Address, but instead of simply fact-checks, the two qualified Trump's true statements with their own opinions and multiple "yeah, but" verdicts.

One assertion that Sciutto asked Harwood to fact-check was President Trump's claim that since his election, "we've created 7 million new jobs." It's a rather simple fact-check, either there have been 7 million new jobs or there hasn't (NBC put the number at 6.7, a rounding error), but Harwood credited President Obama for the Trump record:

 

 

That doesn't make much sense because the economy produced 8 million jobs in the last three years of President Obama's administration. If you look at the trend lines, the unemployment rate has been falling and job creation has continued. In fact, the economy has been growing since six months into Barack Obama's presidency, but in reality, job growth has slowed under President Trump. Not his fault. It's a very long expansion. You would expect that. But this is not a dramatic new development due to President Trump. 

Harwood was also being hypocritical. Earlier in the segment, Harwood gave Obama credit for the U.S. becoming the world's top producer of oil and natural gas despite Obama doing everything he could to limit fracking.

Sciutto agreed, "Right. Got good numbers, why again do you have to venture into misleading territory there?" Maybe because CNN spends all day talking about impeachment.

He then asked about Trump's claim that there have been 12,000 new factories under his administration. Harwood's response was to focus on the definition of a factory, "The establishments he is describing are not all factories. That could include bakeries or tailor shop, but that is a positive development." 

Harwood was more generous than the New York Times which not only rated the claim false, but tried to diminish the new business by declaring that the, "The bulk of those — more than 8,000 — employ five people or fewer." Yes, that's how all businesses begin. 

Here is a transcript for the February 5 show:

CNN

CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto

9:09 AM ET


JIM SCIUTTO: The question is, you have good numbers to tout. Why then do you then--

JOHN HARWOOD: Exactly

SCIUTTO:  --Have to venture into misleading territory. Just doesn't seem necessary. The president claimed he created millions of jobs since his election. Let's have a listen and fact-check. 

BEGIN CLIP

DONALD TRUMP: Since my election, we've created 7 million new jobs, 5 million more than government experts projected during the previous administration. 

END CLIP

SCIUTTO: Okay, John Harwood, fact-check that. 

HARWOOD: That doesn't make much sense because the economy produced 8 million jobs in the last three years of President Obama's administration. If you look at the trend lines, the unemployment rate has been falling and job creation has continued. In fact, the economy has been growing since six months into Barack Obama's presidency, but in reality, job growth has slowed under President Trump. Not his fault. It's a very long expansion. You would expect that. But this is not a dramatic new development due to President Trump. 

SCIUTTO: Right. Got good numbers, why again do you have to venture into misleading territory there? Another claim Trump says thousands of factories have been built under his administration. Have a listen. We'll fact-check that. 

BEGIN CLIP

TRUMP: After losing 60,000 factories under the previous two administrations, America has now gained 12,000 new factories under my administration. 

END CLIP

SCIUTTO: All right. 12,000 new factories. True? 

HARWOOD: The establishments he is describing are not all factories. That could include bakeries or tailor shop, but that is a positive development. The one thing the president doesn't mention, however, is that over the last year or so, his trade policy has actually hurt manufacturing. We're in a manufacturing recession right now. Business investment is also down. So in addition to claiming credit for things that began under President Obama, he, of course, as you would expect, omitted ways in which he has damaged the economy over the last year or so since applying those tariffs. 



 

 
NB Daily Events State of the Union CNN CNN Newsroom Video Jim Sciutto John Harwood Donald Trump Barack Obama

 

 
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