A former top Trump official started a lie about Biden's infrastructure bill. Two Sunday shows ran with it.

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.

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Citation From the April 4, 2021, edition of ABC News' This Week with George Stephanopoulos

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): Secretary Buttigieg, thanks for joining us this morning. You just heard Sen. Blunt right there, he said if you really focused on core infrastructure, you might have a chance of passing this. And it is true that only about 5% of this bill goes for traditional roads and bridges. You've got 20% caregiving for the elderly, about 13% for investments like the Green New Deal. So why not focus on that traditional core infrastructure? 

CBS News’ Margaret Brennan likewise repeated the false claim on her show.

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Citation From the April 4, 2021, edition of CBS' Face the Nation

MARGARET BRENNAN (HOST): This $2 trillion ask, only about 5% of the funding goes to infrastructure. Viewers can take a look at the breakdown here of all the programs that are called for funding on, but of the 620 billion for infrastructure upgrades, it includes incentivizing purchases of electric cars. Can you honestly calls this a focus on building roads and bridges? 

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.