Last year, the Daily Show mocked Fox News' "vaunted news-opinion equator" and noted that the news shows make stories out of attacks launched "by the guy whose show was on right before you." Today, Fox News' Stuart Varney provided a perfect example.
On Fox and Friends, one of Fox News' opinion shows, Varney attacked the $50 billion infrastructure plan announced by President Obama over the weekend as a "stimulus plan for the unions" and claimed "the president essentially is scrambling" because of bad poll numbers:
DOOCY: We were just telling you about this: the president has a big idea to spend 50 billion dollars. Another 50 billion to revamp America's infrastructure. He says it's going to create jobs but Stuart Varney says it is a payoff to the unions.
VARNEY: It's a stimulus plan. They don't want to call it a stimulus plan but it is a stimulus plan for the unions. Ok? The president essentially is scrambling. All the polls say that he's very unpopular where the economy is concerned. I think we have a new Fox News poll out.
VARNEY: 47% say that the economy has gotten worse under President Obama. It was only 36% who said that in January. So you got a big swing against the president on economic policy. So this pressure -- do something. So he gets out there in Milwaukee. He's in full campaign mode. He's taking money from the wicked energy companies, giving it in a stimulus plan to the unions. It is all about the unions.
A few hours later, on America's Newsroom -- a show Fox categorizes as straight and objective news -- Varney reported on "criticism" that the infrastructure plan is "essentially a pay-off to the unions" and said that "some say" Obama is "scrambling because his polls on the economy are looking very, very bad":
VARNEY: Okay, first off, the fifty billion dollar infrastructure program would rebuild or build fresh 150,000 miles of road, 4,000 miles of railroad track, 150 miles of airport runways. Essentially, that would be paid for with taxes on the oil and gas industries. It's a six-year program. No new jobs created immediately. Much of the criticism is that it's essentially a pay-off to the unions.
There is a second plan, to be unveiled tomorrow. The Wall Street Journal is saying that this is a two-hundred billion dollar plan, two hundred billion dollars worth of tax breaks for businesses. It would speed up the write-off. For example, Bill, you spend ten thousand dollars on a computer right now, and immediately that ten thousand dollars comes off your business income, taxable business income. Overall, no new jobs created immediately. Some say that this is the president scrambling because his polls on the economy are looking very, very bad. And, both of those plans would require a vote in Congress which is not likely.
See, the difference between Fox's opinion and news programs is the phrase, "some say." The "criticism" on which Varney reported was his own, from another Fox News segment, three hours prior. On Fox, this cycle is familiar.