President Joe Biden is probably scared this Halloween weekend—of Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter Thursday. Musk, who calls himself a “free speech absolutist,” wasted no time in firing top executives and bringing in Tesla engineers to look at Twitter’s algorithms. Now the bluebird is fact-checking the president over his claim that 55 corporations made earnings over $1 billion in 2020, when in fact only 14 did:
“Let me give you the facts,” Biden’s tweet says, right before issuing factually incorrect information. “In 2020, 55 corporations made $40 billion. And they paid zero in federal taxes. My Inflation Reduction Act puts an end to this.”
Twitter responded, “Out of the 55 corporations the tweet references, only 14 had earnings greater than $1 billion and would be eligible under Biden’s tax law.” They then supplied a link to a Washington Post article by Glen Kessler debunking Biden’s claim. When even the WaPo is calling out the president, you know the falsehood must be pretty blatant.
Who fact-checked Biden? Twitter is vague, saying:
Context is written by people who use Twitter, and appears when rated helpful by others. Find out more.
I decided I would, in fact, “find out more,” so I clicked the link and got this explanation:
It doesn’t tell you much and unfortunately does not give a time of publication, but Fox Business reported that the fact-check was put up Friday.
Fox also explained why the number of corporations making over a billion dollars is important:
President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law in August 2022. The law, a trimmed-down version of the president’s $1.75 trillion Build Back Better plan, was signed amid historically high levels of inflation.
Among its many provisions was incorporating a 15% minimum corporate tax for companies earning more than $1 billion per year.
In other words, Biden is claiming that a whole lot more corporations will pay this tax than actually will, if Birdwatch is correct.
This isn’t the first time Biden has tweeted “misinformation.” In May, he laughably posted that there were no COVID vaccines available when he took office, despite the fact that he’d already publicly received two shots. He received a Birdwatch fact-check on that whopper too, and after heavy criticism, he tweeted an acknowledgment that the statement was in error.
Biden spits out falsehoods routinely, and it’s refreshing to see a social media company actually call him out. I would love it if we eventually find out that it was Elon himself who posted the fact-check, but I’m probably asking for too much.