Fox passes off GOP press release as its own research -- typo and all

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

In purporting to "take a look back" at how the economic recovery plan "grew, and grew, and grew," Fox News' Jon Scott referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various news sources from those time periods -- all of which came directly from a Senate Republican Communications Center press release. A Fox News on-screen graphic even reproduced a typo contained in the Republican press release.

During the February 10 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, co-host Jon Scott claimed that "the Senate is expected to pass the $838 billion stimulus plan -- its version of it, anyway. We thought we'd take a look back at the bill, how it was born, and how it grew, and grew, and grew." In tracking how and when the bill purportedly "grew," Scott referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various news sources from those time periods. However, all of the sources and cost figures Scott cited, as well as the accompanying on-screen text, were also contained in a February 10 press release issued by the Senate Republican Communications Center. One on-screen graphic during the segment even repeated a typo from the GOP document, further confirming that Scott was simply reading from a Republican press release. The Fox News graphic and the GOP press release both claimed that a Wall Street Journal report that the stimulus package could reach "$775 billion over two years" was published on December 19, 2009 [emphasis added].

While Scott spoke, Fox News aired the following graphics, citing news reports about the stimulus plan's cost:

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All seven news sources and cost figures Scott and on-screen Fox News graphics referenced -- including the "12/19/09" Journal article -- were contained in the Senate Republican Communications Center's press release. From its release:

FLASHBACK... "STIMULUS" STARTED AT $56 BILLION

$56 BILLION

POLITICO: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) today announced a $56.2 billion stimulus package." ("Second stimulus announced," Politico, 09/25/08)

$61 BILLION

CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY: "The House Friday passed a $60.8 billion economic stimulus package designed to pump money into infrastructure projects, unemployment insurance and Medicaid, but a similar measure failed to advance in the Senate." ("House Passes Stimulus Measure; Senate Proposal Fails," CQ, 09/26/08)

$100 BILLION

McCLATCHY: "Washington is poised during the next 90 days to approve spending perhaps $100 billion to jolt the ailing economy." ("Can a $100 billion stimulus save a $14 trillion economy?," McClatchy, 11/09/08)

$150 BILLION

DENVER POST: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a new $150 billion economic-stimulus package today and suggested Congress may need to act this year." ("Pelosi: New stimulus package needed," Denver Post, 10/08/08)

$200 BILLION

WASHINGTON TIMES: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Wednesday to hold a lame-duck session to pass a $200 billion economic-stimulus package likely to include rebates to middle-class taxpayers, despite recent failure to enact less ambitious plans and Republican charges it is a 'spending hike to exploit the nation's economic troubles.'" (" Lame-duck session eyed to OK stimulus," Washington Times, 10/16/08)

$300 BILLION

WASHINGTON POST: "With fears rising that the nation stands on the precipice of a prolonged recession, House Democrats are contemplating a huge infusion of public cash -- as much as $300 billion -- to stoke economic growth by creating public jobs and padding the wallets of struggling consumers." ("House Democrats Consider Large, New Economic Stimulus Package," Washington Post, 10/14/08)

$400 BILLION

THE NEW YORK TIMES: "The programs will be a part of a larger economic stimulus package whose outlines are faint but which is expected to cost $400 billion to $500 billion." ("Proposal Ties Economic Stimulus to Energy Plan," The New York Times, 12/04/08)

$500 BILLION

McCLATCHY: "President-elect Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders have agreed to a $500 billion economic-stimulus package that they want to move next month even before Obama takes office." ("Obama, Democrats Agree to $500 Billion Stimulus Package," McClatchy, 12/13/08)

$600 BILLION

POLITICO: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has increased the size of the economic stimulus package she will support when Congress reconvenes next month, saying it will need to be $500 billion to $600 billion." ("Pelosi sees bigger, greener stimulus," Politico, 12/12/08)

$700 BILLION

WASHINGTON POST: "Facing an increasingly ominous economic outlook, President-elect Barack Obama and other Democrats are rapidly ratcheting up plans for a massive fiscal stimulus program that could total as much as $700 billion over the next two years." ("Democrats' Stimulus Plan May Reach $700 Billion," Washington Post, 11/24/08)

$775 BILLION

WALL STREET JOURNAL: "President-elect Barack Obama's economic team is crafting a stimulus package to send to Congress worth between $675 billion and $775 billion over two years, according to officials familiar with the package..." ("Stimulus Package Heads Toward $850 Billion," The Wall Street Journal, 12/19/09)

$800 BILLION

THE NEW YORK TIMES: "Ask just about anyone in Washington involved in the $800-billion-plus economic stimulus legislation churning its way through Congress and they will tell you it is a milestone - but without question the less expensive, and politically and technically less chancy, part of the Great National Bailout of 2009." ("Spending More Than $800 Billion Is the Easy Part," The New York Times, 02/08/09)

From the February 10 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:

SCOTT: So in that series of votes, the Senate is expected to pass the $838 billion stimulus plan -- its version of it, anyway. We thought we'd take a look back at the bill, how it was born, and how it grew, and grew, and grew.

On September 25 of last year, just a few months ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced a $56.2 billion stimulus package.

It hit $61 billion a day later when the House passed a $60.8 billion economic stimulus package.

By October 10, it had more than doubled. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a new $150 billion economic stimulus package.

About a week later, another 50 billion was added when Speaker Pelosi vowed Wednesday decided to hold a lame-duck session to pass a $200 billion economic stimulus package.

It doubled again in the beginning of December when, according to The New York Times, the programs will be part of a larger economic stimulus package whose outlines are faint but which is expected to cost 400 to $500 billion.

Well, it took another huge jump about a week later. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has increased the size of the economic stimulus package she will support, saying it'll need to be 500 to 600 billion.

Well, it hit 775 billion soon after, The Wall Street Journal reporting that President-elect Barack Obama's economic team is crafting a stimulus package to send to Congress worth between 675 billion and 775 billion over two years.

Which brings us back to today and the Senate's vote on that $838 billion bill.

Posted In
Economy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
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Jon Scott
Show/Publication
Happening Now
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