Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

A Facebook post with data too good to check

This chart has been making the rounds on the Internet. We check to see if it's accurate.
This chart has been making the rounds on the Internet. We check to see if it's accurate.

A reader recently sent us a post circulating on Facebook and on blogs that blames the House Republican majority for focusing their legislation on lots of topics -- except for job creation. Here’s the text of the chart:

"The numbers: Republicans have introduced 44 bills on abortion, 99 on religion, 71 on family relationships, 36 on marriage, 67 on firearms/gun control, 522 on taxation, 445 on ‘government investigations,’ and zero on job creation."

While congressional Republicans have certainly introduced dozens of bills on social issues and other topics, we found the claim that the GOP has focused on issues other than job creation just isn't supported. The numbers cited in the post include Democratic bills, and the definition of what constitutes a "job creation" bill is open to significant debate.

But the post’s most important flaw is the contention that Republicans have offered "zero" bills on job creation. This number stems from a methodological quirk that also excludes Obama’s American Jobs Act from the category of "job creation" bills.

If  you look at alternative job-related subject headings, the number of bills offered by lawmakers from both parties actually exceeded most of the social issues listed in the blog post.  We rated the claim Pants on Fire.