I saw this post today
Because I want to remember….As President Donald J. Trump leaves the White House, I am making this post so it will show back up as a future memory on my timeline. This isn’t a political dispute. I am genuinely curious what the next 4 years will bring: Today is the Biden/Harris Inauguration.
• Gas is currently $2.29 per gallon (not in CA)
• Interest rates are 2.25 percent for a 30-year mortgage.
• The stock market closed at 30829.40 though we have been fighting COVID for 11 months.
• Our GDP growth for the 3rd Qtr was 33.1 percent.
• We had the best economy ever until COVID and it is recovering well.
• We have not had any new wars or conflicts in the last 4 years.
• North Korea has been under control and has not been testing any missiles
• ISIS has not been heard from for over 3 years.
• The housing market is the strongest it has been in years.
• Homes have appreciated at an unbelievable rate and sell well.
• And let’s not forget that peace deals in the Middle East were signed by 4 countries—unprecedented!
• Unemployment sits at 6.7% in spite of COVID.
Let’s see how the next four years fair. God bless America! Copied from a friend.
I have some questions
- What are the sources on these numbers?
- How do you define “best economy ever” and what are you basing that on?
- What rate of home appreciation is determined to be “unbelievable?”
- Is the only quality of being “under control” the fact that North Korea hasn’t been testing any missiles? For how long?
- Who has not heard from ISIS? No one on the earth?
- How do you define the strength of the housing market?
- Why these specific facts?
I have some opinions
The sentences “This isn’t a political dispute. I am genuinely curious what the next 4 years will bring,” make it seem like these are meant to be unbiased, black-and-white facts.
The first four bullet points are numbers-based, though there are no sources to verify those figures. Then the next six are completely subjective statements with no numbers (or sources) to back it up. This change from statistics to opinions sneaks in the biases of the original writer.
It ends with more numbers, but with language like “let’s not forget,” “unprecedented!” and “in spite of COVID.” This is clearly showing an opinion that these facts and figures and subjective statements are good things. I’ll be honest with you–I don’t know if the stock market closing at 30829.4 is good, but the writer thinks it is, using the qualifier “though we have been fighting COVID for 11 months.”
Posts like this are very problematic because they masquerade as factual and get shared by people who want to agree with it. I wish more of us would look at information critically and know if we are reading facts or opinion (this section is titled “I have some opinions” in case you’re unsure.) I wish more of us would realize that true journalism is meant to be truth with research, evidence, and sources.
I have some corrections
Even though I am not an expert in politics or the economy, I know how to find information. I have done my best to evaluate the bullet points above and make these corrections with sources and trying not to let my biases inform how I rewrote them:
- Average US Gas Price $2.39, gasprices.aaa.com
- Interest rates average about 2.27-3.3% for a three-year mortgage nerdwallet.com
- Stock Market DOW Jones Industrial Average 31,188 marketwatch.com
- GDP Growth for 3rd Quarter 33.4% cnbc.com
- The economy is strong in some areas, weak in others. https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2020/10/business/us-economy-trump-vs-other-presidents/ (I realize that some people think CNN is left-leaning. What’s nice about this article, however, is that all the sources for the information are cited below it.)
- US reduced the number of troops in Afghanistan defense.gov
- North Korea’s last nuclear test was September 2017 washingtonpost.com, popularmechanics.com, earthquake.usgs.gov
- ISIS was still active and growing as of 2019 state.gov
- “New home sales were 43.2% up on the year. U.S. homebuilder sentiment is now at its highest for 35 years.” globalpropertyguide.com
- The Abraham Accord peace treaty was signed by Israel, Morocco, Bahrain, Sudan, and the UAE https://www.state.gov/the-abraham-accords/
- Unemployment is at 6.7% bls.gov
What my bullet points do not correct, however, is why these particular facts were chosen to be shared. I am only responding to a list of statements which are a veiled attempt to praise the previous administration.
My own biases
I am left-leaning. The person I know who posted this is right-leaning. This may be a factor into why I felt compelled to question it–I am as moved by my own biases as anyone else. However, my point is not to get you to agree with me politically. My point is to get you to question claims that have no source.
Be discerning. You can’t research everything yourself, but you can research whether the person/post/meme did their research.
And one more correction. “Let’s see how the next four years fair,” should be “Let’s see how the next four years fare.” https://www.dictionary.com/browse/fare?s=t (look for the verb definition)