Ladies and gentlemen, your "Lie of the Year" frontrunner

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

It’s a bit early for the “Lie of the Year” awards to come out, particularly since we’re in a midterm election year and there will be many politicians flapping their gums between now and November. But at least over at The Hill, they’ve decided that we need to start narrowing the field a bit. We should give that outlet credit for this because they tend to treat the current White House administration fairly gently, but when it comes to memorable whoppers that deserve to be in contention for the 2022 awards, there is only one choice thus far. That would be President Joseph R. Biden. With so many choices to pick from, you might think that they’d have had trouble narrowing this down, but in the end, the choice came down to one claim. Or more correctly, perhaps we should say one series of claims in a short period of time. And they stemmed from Biden’s recent comments about inflation being at “zero” in July.

“I just want to say a number: zero. Today, we received news that our economy had zero inflation in the month of July. Zero percent. Here’s what that means: While the price of some things go up — went up last month, the price of other things went down by the same amount. The result? Zero inflation last month.”

That was President Biden speaking to the country Wednesday. His administration has attempted to redefine what infrastructure means (it’s not only about improving roads, bridges and power grids but also about paid family leave and child care) and what a recession means (it’s not two straight quarters of negative gross domestic product growth anymore). But it just moved into the lead to win the “Lie of the Year” award with the claim that the U.S. economy is experiencing zero inflation.

The facts: Inflation still stands near a 40-year high and came in at 8.5 percent in July.

Yes, the “zero inflation” claim was indeed a laugh-out-loud moment. But was it the worst we’ve seen even in recent months? As The Hill notes, Biden has also said that paid family leave is infrastructure and that two quarters of negative GDP growth isn’t a recession. Everything is fine on the southern border and he’s never spoken to his son Hunter about his business affairs, particularly in China and Ukraine. Perish the thought! The list goes on.

But if we’re going to be honest actors here, we need to address something that I’ve brought up during the last few presidential administrations. The Lie of the Year award needs to be assigned to something that can correctly be called a lie. And by definition, a “lie” is something someone knowingly says while being aware that it’s not true. If someone believes something that is false or repeats bad information they saw someplace, that’s more of a “mistake” than a “lie.” (Though we expect them to go back later and clean it up after the mistake is identified, something that I don’t recall Joe Biden doing.)

Why do I bring this up in this specific example? Biden rambled on about the cost of “some things” going up while it went down for others, with the two somehow magically balancing out to equal “zero inflation” when inflation had remained almost steady at a high not seen in approaching half a century. In the not-too-distant past, when Joe Biden was still serving in the Senate and clearly had better control of his mental faculties, he had to deal with the subject of inflation on a regular basis and obviously had a basic grip on the definitions involved. But are any of you honestly sure that he still retains that knowledge today?

Those had to be ad-lib remarks. They just had to be. There is no way that Ron Klain would have sent Biden out to that lectern with a cheat sheet that had those statements written down to read. Klain isn’t that stupid. I would submit the possibility that Biden saw (or was told) a headline about the inflation rate not rising again in July and it just sounded like great news to him so he decided to wing it, with predictably disastrous results. It wasn’t a case of knowingly saying something untrue or having bad information. He just didn’t remember how it works and rattled off something that he thought would make for a good headline inside the fog that seems to permeate his consciousness these days.

The other item of note about the article at The Hill is the fact that they took other media outlets to task for not covering this latest mental lapse. The title of their article includes the phrase “as many in media look the other way.” They call out Politifact, which has yet to conduct a fact-check on the zero inflation claim. (They fact-checked Trump and DeSantis three times in the same period, however.) They similarly highlighted Snopes and for their complete lack of coverage. They also spotlighted the New York Times where Paul Krugman incredibly ran a column claiming that Biden’s “zero inflation” statement was accurate.

None of this will come as news to regular readers. The liberal mainstream media will continue to either remain silent or flatly lie about anything that doesn’t paint the Biden administration in a positive light. But you already knew that, so the Lie of the Year nomination won’t surprise you one bit.

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