On April 4, two mainstream news outlets promoted a lie about President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure package that originated from a former Trump administration official.
The misleading claim, which was fact-checked by The Washington Post, is that only 5-7% of the package is devoted to “real infrastructure,” that is roads, bridges, and ports. This claim rests on a false assumption that only a narrow slice of projects can be considered “real infrastructure” while an entire array of other projects, such as broadband or charging stations for electric vehicles, do not.
As The Washington Post’s Salvadore Rizzo writes: “From one administration to the next, railways, water systems, electric-grid upgrades, broadband and other investments that were once considered ‘real infrastructure’ have been reduced to something less and crossed off the list.” The specific claim that only 5-7% of Biden’s infrastructure spending would go to such projects apparently originates with Russell Vought, former director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Trump administration, on the April 1 edition of Fox News Radio’s The Brian Kilmeade Show.
ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos repeated this false claim unaltered on his weekly show.
CBS News’ Margaret Brennan likewise repeated the false claim on her show.
Two mainstream news outlets allowed a misleading conservative talking point onto their flagship Sunday shows, passing it off as fact and framing their own coverage around a false claim from a former Trump official.