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Conservatives, politicians and more were quick to slam the Associated Press on Wednesday for a tweet which claimed the “common definition” of a recession was not “the one that counts.”
“By one common definition — the economy shrinking for consecutive quarters — the U.S. economy is on the cusp of a recession. Yet that definition isn’t the one that counts,” the Associated Press tweeted.
Critics blasted the notion, which has also been pushed by several Biden administration officials. Multiple media outlets, including the Associated Press, appear to be repeating the White House talking points on a possible recession as well.
“By one common definition — the team scoring more points than its opponent wins the game — Super Bowl LVI resulted in the Los Angeles Rams beating the Cincinnati Bengals. Yet that definition isn’t the one that counts,” former FCC chairman Ajit Pai joked.
Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway described the tweet as “soviet style journalism.”
The White House has insisted in recent days that even if the GDP report, which is set to be released on Thursday, does show a second quarter of negative GDP growth, it does not mean the U.S. is in a recession.
Brian Deese, Biden’s National Economic Council Director, said Sunday on CNN that the report was “inherently backward looking” and that “in terms of the technical definition, it’s not a recession.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that Texans “see right through this spin when they pay dearly at the pump & grocery store.”
Some Republican lawmakers joined in the mockery like Rep. Warren Davidson, Ohio, who quipped, “Just say 2+2=5.”
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA., contended that the Associate Press “dutifully reprinted” White House talking points.
Others followed Issa in highlighting how the media appears to be repeating the messaging coming from the Biden adminstration.
White House Council of Economic Advisers’ Jared Bernstein was among the several officials to reject the usual definition of a recession when he said this weekend that Thursday’s GDP data would “come in with a bit of a lag.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was also asked about a possible recession on Sunday.
“Well, I look at all the data, and GDP will be closely watched,” Yellen said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “A common definition of recession is two negative quarters of GDP growth, or at least that’s something that’s been true in past recessions. When we have seen that, there has usually been a recession. And many economists expect second-quarter GDP to be negative. First-quarter GDP was negative, so we could see that happen, and that will be closely watched. But I do want to emphasize, what a recession really means is a broad-based contraction in the economy. And even if that number is negative, we are not in a recession now, and I would, you know, warn that we should be not characterizing that as a recession.”