Dobbs, Bozell join a growing list of media figures who made false comparison of inauguration costs

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER & CHRISTINE SCHWEN

On his radio show, Lou Dobbs claimed that Obama's "inaugural celebration from start to finish will cost an estimated $170 million, and that dwarfs the $42 million spent on George Bush's inauguration just four years ago." Similarly, Brent Bozell wrote in a column: "For the record, the 'lavish' Bush inaugural cost $43 million. Final tallies are not complete, but according to some sources, like the Guardian newspaper, the Obama inaugural will cost more than $150 million." But the comparison is a false one, as the Bush figure excludes security, transportation, and other incidental costs.

Following President Obama's January 20 swearing-in ceremony, CNN host Lou Dobbs and syndicated columnist L. Brent Bozell joined a growing list of media figures who have repeated a false comparison between projections of the cost of Obama's inauguration and estimates of the cost of former President Bush's 2005 ceremony and surrounding events. The figure given by Dobbs, Bozell, and other media figures for the cost of Bush's last inauguration excludes security, transportation, and other incidental costs to federal, state, and local governments, as Media Matters Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert noted.

On the January 20 broadcast of United Stations Radio Networks' The Lou Dobbs Show, Dobbs claimed that Obama's "inaugural celebration from start to finish will cost an estimated $170 million, and that dwarfs the $42 million spent on George Bush's inauguration just four years ago," echoing other media figures' comments.

Similarly, Bozell wrote in his January 21 column: "For the record, the 'lavish' Bush inaugural cost $43 million. Final tallies are not complete, but according to some sources, like the Guardian newspaper, the Obama inaugural will cost more than $150 million."

But the figures they gave for Bush's inauguration omit costs that are included in the Obama projections. With security, transportation, and other expenses incurred by federal, state, and local governments, which reportedly reached $115.5 million in 2005, the cost of Bush's inaugural events that year was $157 million.

From the January 20 edition of United Stations Radio Networks' The Lou Dobbs Show:

DOBBS: This inaugural celebration from start to finish will cost an estimated $170 million, and that dwarfs the $42 million spent on George Bush's inauguration just four years ago. And what recession, huh? One hundred seventy million made up of both government money and private donations, but the fact remains that it isn't -- isn't exactly frugal in times like these.

You know, I couldn't help but be stuck by something that this Congress, you know, got a lot of -- a lot of airtime over. They were sitting there just -- remember they were haranguing the CEOs of Ford and General Motors and Chrysler: "What are you people doing showing up here in your corporate jets? My gosh, what in the world is wrong with you people?" Now think about it -- those companies are on the verge of bankruptcy, but the federal government has a $56 trillion in unfunded liabilities, a $10 trillion national debt, seven -- $11 trillion national debt, $7 trillion trade debt, and we're throwing a $170 million inaugural party that's gonna last not one but five days. Good Lord.

Posted In
Government, The Presidency & White House
Network/Outlet
United Stations Radio Networks
Person
L. Brent Bozell, Lou Dobbs
Show/Publication
The Lou Dobbs Show
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
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