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Mailbag: Manufacturing Jobs and Fidel Castro

This week, readers sent us letters about President Barack Obama’s record on manufacturing jobs, and Sen. Ted Cruz’s claim that Obama praised the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the email we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.


Manufacturing Jobs Numbers

In “The Wire” from D’Angelo Gore [“Obama’s Record on Manufacturing Jobs,” Dec. 1], he concludes that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest “cherry picked” data when talking about the creation of manufacturing jobs during President Obama’s tenure. While Earnest certainly uses the most favorable data possible, I would suggest by not placing those numbers in a larger context, Gore has done the exact same thing.

There is no really good way to date when a president’s policies begin to have an effect upon the economy. Did it take 13 months for the president’s policies to help manufacturing jobs? Possibly. Did his policies have an effect on manufacturing jobs in his very first month in office? Probably not.

It would be helpful to show the trend line for manufacturing jobs over a longer period of time so as to allow the reader to determine for themselves if those 13 disputed months should be attributed to President Obama or to former President Bush.

Jeff Moulton
Springfield, Illinois


I’ve seen your “fact-checking” on this issue many times and believe you are falsely describing the facts by purposely being obtuse.

See the latest: “Obama’s Record on Manufacturing Jobs.”

You continually start the clock of Obama’s job creation at the second he swore into office. So his swearing in as president was suppose to automatically reverse the Great Recession of 2008? That seems illogical and ridiculous from an objective viewpoint.

Starting at the end of the jobs losing curve makes sense. That indicates jobs created since that recession bottomed out, so those are jobs created! Just because there were many lost before that, does not mean they weren’t created. Right? Your reporting here makes is seem that a job cannot be counted as created until there are more jobs than prior to Obama’s inauguration.

If I dig a 10-foot hole and build a 100-foot building, is the building only 90 feet tall? No! It is 100 feet of building that I built. It would be 90 feet from the original level of ground, but I still built 100 feet of it.

Your reporting of it makes it look accurate that Obama lost 308,000 jobs, which is also misleading given the context of the historical point that he took over as president.

If you are attempting to express facts and honesty, I feel like you are failing continuously on this point.

Maybe you are just trying to show that you aren’t partisan, but your logic falls short. You should at least make a comment explaining the context of the situation. You can’t ignore the severe economic crisis that began the year prior to Obama’s inauguration.

Jesse Barondeau
Mitchell, South Dakota


‘Praise’ for Fidel Castro?

A neutral party would say “Obama didn’t praise Castro directly but offers condolences to Fidel’s family.”[“Obama Didn’t ‘Praise’ Castro,” Nov. 28] You chose to attack [Sen. Ted] Cruz’s statement only relaying the message you wanted to get across, that Cruz was wrong.

I am not a Cruz fan, but if we’re ever going to get back to real journalism, both sides should be presented in a headline. Too often sites like yours present half-truths. The word condolence in itself states that he agrees with Fidel and is praising his family.

Condolence: an expression of sympathy.
Sympathy: harmony of agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another.

Brant Engen
Minneapolis, Minnesota

FactCheck.org responds: The reader says our article presented “half-truths.” In fact, we ran the president’s statement in full.