On Fox & Friends, Gretchen Carlson asserted that in answering questions about his failure to pay social security taxes several years ago, Treasury Secretary nominee Tim Geithner "kind of put the blame a little bit on a computer program." In fact, at his hearing, Geithner mentioned the tax software he used only after he was asked which brand he used to file his taxes.
During a Fox News discussion about stimulus spending and the role New Deal programs and World War II played in ending the Great Depression, Chris Wallace falsely claimed that "unemployment in 1937, 1938 was higher than it was in 1933." In fact, even without including "emergency" public employment under the New Deal, the unemployment rate in 1937 and 1938 did not surpass the 1933 unemployment rate.
On Fox News' Happening Now, Newt Gingrich echoed a common distortion employed by opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act, claiming that it "tak[es] away your right to a secret-ballot vote before being forced to join a union." In fact, the legislation does not eliminate employees' rights to a secret ballot; as The New York Times reported, "Business groups have attacked the legislation because it would take away employers' right to insist on holding a secret-ballot election to determine whether workers favored unionization."
On The Live Desk, Karl Rove advanced a falsehood he put forth in a recent Wall Street Journal column by suggesting that President-elect Barack Obama had "trashed the [Bush] administration" for supporting a 2008 stimulus bill. In fact, in remarks that Rove misrepresented in the column, Obama criticized the Bush administration for funding "[a] trillion dollar war in Iraq" with "deficit spending" and for exhibiting "[a] complete disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting," but he did not criticize the administration for supporting the 2008 stimulus bill.
Committed to the belief that bigger government is always better, Media Matters and Campaign for America's Future are pushing back data showing that the New Deal never solved unemployment. Cutting through their rhetoric, both leftist organizations make the same narrow objection: that the data we use does not count make work government programs like the Civil Conservation Corps as employed.
Now we will always maintain that not counting government work programs as employment is the more accurate measure.
But for the sake of argument, lets cede the point that anyone receiving government employment assistance is 'employed'. Does that end up changing the the impact of New Deal spending on unemployment? No. As the chart above shows, even when using the numbers preferred by the leftist proponents of big government, the story is still the same: Unemployment never made it near the 1970-2008 5.5% normal unemployment rate until well after the U.S. entered World War II.
Got that? Heritage sniffs that the New Deal "never solved unemployment" because it did not bring unemployment from 25 percent all the way down to 5.5 percent.
If the worst the far-right Heritage Foundation can say about the New Deal is that it failed to cut the unemployment rate by 80 percent, that sounds like a pretty solid, if accidental, endorsement to me.
In his Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove took quotes from President-elect Barack Obama out of context to falsely claim that Obama criticized the economic stimulus bill as "deficit spending" that represented "the 'disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting' in Washington." In fact, Obama used those words in a March 2008 speech while discussing the "policies of the Bush Administration," which "threw the economy further out of balance."
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In a Bloomberg News article headlined "Obama Faces Rebellion From Democrats on Stimulus, Nominations," the only evidence cited in the article of "rebellion from Democrats" on President-elect Obama's "nominations" was that Sen. Dianne Feinstein "said she hadn't been consulted on the pick" of Leon Panetta for CIA director "and preferred a CIA director with more experience in intelligence," and that Rep. John Conyers "took aim at reports that Obama is considering naming CNN reporter Sanjay Gupta as surgeon general." In fact, Feinstein reportedly stated that she was "going to vote for" Panetta. And as a member of the House of Representatives, Conyers will not have a vote on Gupta's confirmation.
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Summary: On Special Report, Major Garrett falsely accused President-elect Obama of making an untrue assertion when Obama said that the 2.589 million jobs lost in 2008 were "the most since World War II." In fact, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there has been no greater net job decline in any calendar year since the end of World War II than occurred in 2008.
CNN's Lou Dobbs claimed that President-elect Barack Obama "didn't talk about NAFTA" during a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderón and later claimed Obama and Calderón "didn't talk about NAFTA, after so much of it ... was made on the campaign trail." In fact, according to an Obama spokesman, Obama "expressed his continued commitment to upgrading NAFTA" and "proposed the creation of a consultative group to work on a host of issues important to the United States and Mexico, including NAFTA."
Here's how the AP addressed Bush's claim (it's a White House evergreen) that he "inherited" a recession in 2001 [emphasis added]:
BUSH: "In terms of the economy — look, I inherited a recession, I'm ending on a recession. In the meantime, there were 52 months of uninterrupted job growth."
THE FACTS: There have been two recessions during Bush's time in office. The first was a relatively mild downturn that began in March 2001 and lasted eight months, ending in November 2001. Since the first one did not begin until after he took office in January 2001, it is not strictly accurate to say he "inherited" it.
Why the "strictly," when the sentence would have been more factual without it? Bush did not inherit a recession. Period. His claim is inaccurate and the AP ought to say so without muddying the language with phrases like "strictly."
Media figures have claimed or suggested that President-elect Barack Obama is only now admitting that he may have to scale back his campaign agenda as a result of the weak economy. In fact, Obama repeatedly said prior to the November 2008 election that some policies he proposed on the campaign trail might need to be delayed because of economic conditions.
A Washington Post article repeated the Bush administration's assertion that "increased spending on counterterrorism, national security and the military after the Sept. 11 attacks" was an "unavoidable" cause of the large budget deficits the administration has run up since 2001. In fact, much of that spending was for the United States' avoidable war in Iraq, which played no role in the 9-11 attacks.