The ongoing series of news articles exposing the phony claims about jobs “created or saved” continues. The latest salvo is from ABC News, which determined that the government website that reports on jobs “created or saved” includes claims that jobs were created in congressional districts that don’t even exist. What’s interesting about the story is not the existence of phony claims — those have been found in a number of recent stories, as I have noted in prior posts, see here and here — but rather that the government spokesperson quoted in the story blithely admits that the website just reprinted whatever was claimed in the reports it received. Because “human beings make mistakes,” he says, it should come as no surprise that the numbers reported on the website are inaccurate. Nevertheless, even Congressmen who supported the stimulus bill are complaining about the egregious misstatements on the recovery.gov website.
One of the things that President Obama promised to bring to our government was transparency. What good is transparency, however, if the federal government is reporting fake numbers as if they are authoritative? Why can’t federal employees take the time to “fact-check” the claims they have received before giving them a stamp of legitimacy by publishing them on a governmental website? We deserve better than this.