Facebook recently placed a “fact-checking” label on a post written by top economist Phillip Magness, the research and education director at the American Institute for Economic Research, after he stated that America is now in a recession. Magness fired back at Mark Zuckerberg and the Masters of the Universe, saying, “We live in an Orwellian hell-scape. Facebook is now ‘fact checking’ anyone who questions the White House’s word-games about the definition of a recession.” The Daily Mail reports that Facebook recently placed a “fact-checking” label on a post from top economist Phillip Magness, who stated that America is now in a recession. Magness is the research and education director at the American Institute for Economic Research and called the censorship “Orwellian.” President Joe Biden (Andrew Harnik/AP) Mark Zuckerberg surrounded by guards ( Chip Somodevilla /Getty) The post was marked by Facebook’s “factcheckers” as “misleading” to which Magness tweeted: “We live in an Orwellian hell-scape. Facebook is now ‘fact checking’ anyone who questions the White House’s word-games about the definition of a recession.” He added: “Recession. n. 1. 2 consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth when the media dislikes the president. 2. A vague, holistic, ill-defined condition that you aren’t allowed to talk about until the NBER makes a determination a year from now, provided the media likes the president.” The issue was highlighted recently by a White Hosue fact sheet issued on July 21 that stated that the determination of whether there was a recession was not “holistic.” The White House stated: What is a recession? While some maintain that two consecutive quarters of falling real GDP constitute a recession, that is neither the official definition nor the way economists evaluate the state of the business cycle. Instead, both official determinations of recessions and economists’ assessment of economic activity are based on a holistic look at the data—including the labor market, consumer and business spending, industrial production, and incomes. Based on these data, it is unlikely that the decline in GDP in the first quarter of this year—even if followed by another GDP decline in the second quarter—indicates a recession. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “A Recession by Any Other Name,” published on July 27, Magness wrote that the NBER is not the “official arbiter of recessions.” Magness argued that the federal government has often used the general definition preferred by most lay people. “Rather than tackling the underlying economic problems, the White House is playing word games,” he stated. “The White House’s attempt to wordsmith its way around a recession shows the dangers of politicizing economic terms.” He added: “Mr. Biden’s economic advisers are trying to buy time by exploiting NBER’s otherwise defensible methodology.
They hope doing so will insulate the administration from the electoral backlash in the event of a downturn.” Read more at the Daily Mail here. Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan.
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