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White House issues '​corrected chart​' after sharing a conveniently inconsistent graph touting 2021 GDP


Alex Wong/Getty Images

While taking a victory lap touting 2021 GDP on Thursday, the Biden administration issued a correction after posting a graph that had an inconsistently labeled y-axis.

"We just learned that President Biden’s first year in office was the strongest year for economic growth since 1984," the White House trumpeted in a tweet.

That tweet includes a bar graph that lays out the nation's GDP for various years — that graph has an inconsistency along the y-axis, which suddenly adds the number 5.5 in between the numbers five and six, even though the previous figures only increase one at a time.

This discrepancy conveniently made the bar representing 2021 GDP stretch higher along the y-axis, which visually exaggerated the difference between 2021 and the prior years.

Acknowledging the issue with the graph, the White House tweeted a "corrected chart" that dispensed with the y-axis discrepancy and joked that "This is y you proofread."

Many people on social media pointed out the glaring problem with the original graph.

"Take a look at the y-axis of this graph. A charting software does not make this mistake, it was deliberate. Utterly embarrassing," one person tweeted.

"Math teachers, check out the y-axis on this graph. Sneaky, sneaky..." another person tweeted.

Politico White House reporter Alex Thompson tweeted, "weird y axis."

The 2021 GDP figure comes as the nation claws back from COVID-19 pandemic-related slowdowns.

"Real GDP increased 5.7 percent in 2021 (from the 2020 annual level to the 2021 annual level), in contrast to a decrease of 3.4 percent in 2020," according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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