As economists warn of increased U.S. consumer prices in early 2022, a made-up statement about inflation attributed to White House press secretary Jen Psaki is circulating on social media.
A Dec. 27 Facebook post shows an image of Psaki speaking at a White House press briefing.
“’If you don’t buy anything, you won’t experience inflation,’ explains Jen Psaki,” reads text in the post, which accumulated more than 1,000 reactions within a couple of days.
Similar versions of the claim have made their way to Twitter, Reddit and Facebook. But there is no evidence Psaki ever said the quote.
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Independent fact-checking organizations have debunked the claim. It originated from an account that routinely shares satirical news headlines.
USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook users who shared the post for comment.
During several December press briefings, reporters questioned Psaki about President Joe Biden’s response to inflation. She discussed industries experiencing price increases, the Build Back Better Act and supply chain issues.
But at no point did she say Americans should stop buying things to avoid rising costs. USA TODAY could find no record of Psaki saying the quote in the Facebook post.
The quote first appeared Dec. 15 on the satirical Instagram account Beep News, which describes itself on other platforms as “satire, fake news and shenanigans.” The page frequently publishes fabricated headlines with a satire label, which is often not included in reshares from other social media users.
That’s an example of what could be called “stolen satire,” where stories written as satire and presented that way originally are captured via screenshot and reposted in a way that makes them appear to be legitimate news. As a result, readers of the second-generation post are misled, as was the case here.
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USA TODAY previously debunked a claim, originally published by Beep News, that Psaki said struggling families should substitute their Thanksgiving dinner with Taco Bell.
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Psaki said, “If you don’t buy anything, you won’t experience inflation.” USA TODAY could find no record of Psaki making that statement. The quote originated on a satirical Instagram account that has previously shared fake Psaki quotes about inflation.
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