Fox Deceptively Edits Obama Remarks On Sequestration To Manufacture Backtracking Claim
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Fox News deceptively edited a video of remarks recently made by President Obama to falsely accuse him of backtracking from earlier warnings on the harmful effects of upcoming spending cuts.
On February 27, President Obama spoke at a Business Council dinner about the harmful economic effects of across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced a deceptively edited selection from these remarks, saying that the remarks were evidence that Obama "overstated a little bit" the effects of sequestration. After airing the deceptively edited video, co-host Gretchen Carlson said: "Now he has to backtrack on his strategy. Why? Because come Friday or Saturday, if suddenly the world didn't fall apart, his credibility would fall apart."
Fox also aired the following graphic during the edited video of Obama's remarks:
But Fox deceptively removed crucial context from its video of Obama's comments. The full context of Obama's remarks shows that he was saying that the effects of the spending cuts may not hit the wider economy right away [what Fox provided is in bold]:
OBAMA: I should point out, and I am sure you have heard from a number of experts and economists that this is not a cliff, but it is a tumble downward. It's conceivable that the first week, the first two weeks, the first three weeks, the first month, that unless your business is directly related to the defense department, unless you live in a town that is directly impacted by a military installation, unless you are a family that is trying to figure out where to keep your kids during the day because you just lost a Head Start slot, a lot of people may not notice the full impact of the sequester. But this is going to be a big hit on the economy, and both private sector as well as public sector economists are estimating that we could lose as much as six-tenths of a point, maybe a little bit more, of economic growth. And that means inevitably hundreds of thousands of people who are not going to get jobs that otherwise would get them. It means that you have fewer customers with money in their pockets ready to buy your business's -- your goods and services. It means that the global economy will be weaker, because although we obviously still have a long way to go in the recovery, we are doing significantly better than some of the other developed nations. And the worst part of it is, it's entirely unnecessary.
Fox & Friends removed Obama's assertion that it's possible that many Americans may not feel the effects of the cuts for several weeks to manufacture an accusation that Obama has backtracked from previous claims about the harmful effects of the sequestration.
As Obama mentioned in his remarks, economic forecasters agree that the sequestration cuts will harm both economic growth and job creation. The Bipartisan Policy Center's Steve Bell wrote that over one million jobs could be lost due to sequestration and that economic growth would be slower "because of the ripple effect of the sequester cuts on smaller businesses and on government personnel." Furthermore, The Wall Street Journal reported that a survey conducted by the National Association of Business Economists of 49 economists "found that 95% say the uncertain U.S. fiscal situation is a drag on the country's growth prospects. Those worries aren't limited to the budget slashing set to take place on Friday alone, but also include a possible late-March government shutdown and a spring debate over the debt ceiling."
Media Matters researcher Ellie Sandmeyer contributed research to this post.