At 8:30 this morning, the Department of Commerce issued a press release announcing that real gross domestic product shrank by one-tenth of one percent (.1%) in the 4th quarter of 2012. While the media digested this information, Twitter began lighting up. A snarky tweet by National Review writer Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) attempted to frame the message at 8:31 A.M.:
Economy shrank? Back in recession? Two reactions: "Bqhatevwr" and "What difference does it make?"3 minutes later, Joe Pounder (@Pounderfile), the Republican National Committee’s research director tweeted this bon mot:
SHOT: Obama on Jan. 21 in inaugural address: "And economic recovery has begun." CHASER: Q4 GDP drops to -0.1%
But Geraghty and Pounder’s attempt to spin the number began to be debunked almost as quickly as they had tweeted. Within 12 minutes, Joe Wiesenthal (@thestalwart) had a response:
So military spending decline. That's a good thing. And there was less of an inventory build. Also fine.
And within 44 minutes of Geraghty’s initial tweet, Wiesenthal had a link to a Business Insider article explaining the modest reduction in GDP was entirely due to a dramatic reduction in federal spending (something, ironically, Geraghty, Pounder and their ilk claim is needed to balance our books).
By 11:19, D.C.’s resident “wonk,” Ezra Klein (@ezraklein), had a full take down of the report and thus, another skirmish in the never ending battle between truth and spin had been won. If speed kills, Twitter is the Terminator. On steroids. Dosing with deer antler extract.