Fox News market analysis: Blame Obama for bears, credit tea parties for bulls

››› ››› MATT GERTZ, NATHAN TABAK & HANNAH DREIER

Weeks after suggesting that President Obama was responsible for the stock market's poor performance -- even though the Dow Jones average had been on a downward trajectory months before his inauguration -- Fox News' Brenda Buttner described the current upward trend as "a tea party rally."

Six weeks after saying that "[s]ome are calling" the Dow Jones industrial average's then-downward trend President Obama's "bear market," and asking, "Is it?" host Brenda Buttner introduced the April 18 edition of Fox News' Bulls & Bears by saying: "Call it a tea party rally. Wall Street's sure partying, up six weeks in a row. The bulls came out about the same time these guys started to shout, saying no to big government, big taxes, and big bailouts. Will that keep investors saying yes to stocks?" Buttner went on to ask the show's panel: "[A]fter months on its back, the market comes back the same time Americans fight back against big government. Is that a coincidence?" During the segment, Fox News on-screen text read: "Stocks Rally As 'Tea Party' Rallies Take Nation By Storm" and "Stocks Rally As 'Tea Parties' Catch Fire; Coincidence?" Buttner was not alone in suggesting that Obama was responsible for the stock market's poor performance even though the Dow Jones average was on a downward trajectory months before his inauguration; indeed, several of Buttner's Fox News colleagues referred to an "Obama bear market" in early March.

On March 7, Buttner introduced Bulls & Bears by stating: "On Main Street, more jobs wiped out; the unemployment rate now the highest in a quarter century. On Wall Street, more wealth wiped out; the Dow diving 6 percent this week, and now down 20 percent since President Obama moved into the White House. Some are calling it his bear market. Is it?" Buttner then asked contributing market analyst Tobin Smith: "[I]s this now President Obama's bear market?" Smith responded, "Boy, it is," adding, "[T]his idea that we can do everything all at one time with an unlimited, you know, budget is scaring the bejesus out of people, and until we get coherency, you know, I'm afraid that it's down 5,000, and then it's going to be his catastrophe."

Syndicated columnist Ann Coulter later stated that Obama "wants a disaster, so he can push through all these crazy Democrat ideas, like the socialized health care. This is -- they don't care. They're going to dump everything on at once. They can blame Bush for a little while, but, I mean, it's becoming pretty clearly his, and he owns it." Buttner also asked Democratic strategist Michael Brown: "Michael, but this bear was out of the cave long before President Obama even started talking about the details of his economic plan, right?" Brown replied in part, "[I]t took President Bush to put us in this mess over several years; it's going to take several years to get us out of it."

During the March 7 segment, Fox News on-screen text read: "Dow Dives 20% Since Jan 20; Is This Pres Obama's Bear Mkt?" and "Dow Down Nearly 20% Since Obama Took Office":

On the April 18 Bulls & Bears, in response to Buttner's question about whether it is a "coincidence" that "the market comes back the same time Americans fight back against big government," Fox Business host Eric Bolling stated: "Not at all," adding, "These [protestors] love their tea parties. They hate their big government. They certainly hate the taxing and spending. And you know what? The market doesn't like it, either. They like the protests." Similarly, Tobin Smith stated he "was proud to speak at the D.C. Tea Party," and added: "I love the idea that there's some correlation here, but the fact of the matter is, is that maybe, maybe, they're starting to get the idea that America does have a backbone, and maybe -- but America's got a backbone; it's the Congress that I'm worried about."

Buttner later asked Bulls & Bears commentator Gary B. Smith: "[P]art of the tea party was having voices heard. For so long, all we were hearing about was nationalizing banks and socialism and all that. Just having this out there, does that help Wall Street? Does that help the bulls?" Smith responded: "Absolutely, Brenda. You know, first of all, you heard for so many weeks and months that, you know, the whole country, you know, Obama won overwhelmingly, and it looked like, you know, we were going to go lockstep down this, you know, this socialist path." He continued: "And then we started having these tea parties," which, according to Smith, "shows that ... the normal, average American is just kind of sick of all the, you know, the tax-and-spend culture." He concluded: "So, I think it's all a good thing, and I think that it's helped the rally." Options University chief options strategist Ron Ianieri said the tea parties have "absolutely nothing to do with the market rally -- nothing," adding: "[T]he fact is, there has to be a little bit of realism here. The market has been trading with the banks and the oils. The banks and oils have rallied; the market has rallied -- simple as that."

During the segment, Fox News aired the following on-screen text:

In addition to Buttner and Smith, several other Fox News personalities suggested there was an "Obama bear market," including:

  • During the March 8 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Sen. John McCain: "The stock market has dropped 20 percent since the Obama inauguration. Can this now fairly be called the Obama bear market?" Wallace later said to Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume: "Brit, John McCain didn't want to answer the question, but I'll ask you. Is this the Obama bear market?" Hume replied in part, "Well, it's kind of a bear market within a bear market."
  • On the March 7 edition of Fox News' Forbes on Fox, host David Asman asked Forbes.com associate editor Jack Gage: "[T]here's all this anti-market policy online. How could the market possibly recover with all that weighing on it?" Gage replied: "Obama has his own personal bear market he's presided over with a 20-percent decline since the inauguration."
  • On the March 7 edition of Fox News' Cashin' In, host Terry Keenan asked Capitalistpig managing member Jonathan Hoenig, "The president now has the distinction of presiding over his very own bear market. Jonathan, should he be paying attention to what this market is saying?" Hoenig replied, "Absolutely, Terry. It is inexcusable for him not to be paying attention to Wall Street." He added: "[W]hen you look at the performance this year -- and my God, it has been a bloodbath -- I think there is no question that the market has zero confidence in Obama's economic policies." After Keenan responded to Fox News contributor Wayne Rogers' laughter by stating that Obama had "the worst start to an administration vis-à-vis the stock market in 90 years," Rogers stated, "I don't think it has anything to do with the stock market in the sense that you don't make policy -- he's not listening to make policy to encourage Wall Street." Astor Asset Management managing partner Rob Stein later added: "Sure he's been in office for a couple of months and the stock market hasn't performed very well. But I don't know if there's anything he could have done that would have turned the market around on a dime when he came into office."
  • On the March 6 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity stated: "And our headline this Friday night: Welcome to Day Number 46 of 'Obama's Bear Market.' Now, that's what some news organizations are calling it tonight as the Dow Jones industrial average actually finished up about 30 points today at the end of a disastrous week."
  • On the March 6 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Jeff Birnbaum, managing editor of The Washington Times' digital media operations, said: "Well, I think that we're, without question, in the Obama bear market, literally. Since he was inaugurated, there's been a 20 percent decline in the Dow Jones industrial average. That's the definition of a bear market. And, in fact, the Dow is down 30 percent since his election."

From the April 18 edition of Fox News' Bulls & Bears:

BUTTNER: Call it a tea party rally. Wall Street's sure partying, up six weeks in a row. The bulls came out about the same time these guys started to shout, saying no to big government, big taxes, and big bailouts. Will that keep investors saying yes to stocks?

Hi, everyone, I'm Brenda Buttner. This is Bulls & Bears. Let's get right down to it. Here they are, the Bulls and Bears this week: Gary B. Smith, Tobin Smith, Eric Bolling, along with Ron Ianieri with Ion Options. Welcome to everybody. OK.

Eric, after months on its back, the market comes back the same time Americans fight back against big government. Is that a coincidence?

BOLLING: Not at all, Brenda. I'm sitting here in the heartbeat of America -- Dallas, Texas. These people love their tea parties. They hate their big government. They certainly hate the taxing and spending. And you know what? The market doesn't like it, either.

They like the protests. The market showed us that, you know what? We're done with it. We will be on our feet again someday, and the market will come back as soon as Barack Obama stops the taxing and spending, for God's sake.

BUTTNER: OK. What's that guffaw there?

TOBIN SMITH: Well, first off, I was proud to speak at the D.C. Tea Party, and I can tell you that the people there were dedicated to no spending. But the people in Washington who actually have their fingers on the dough have actually raised the spending.

So, now, I love the idea that there's some correlation here, but the fact of the matter is, is that maybe, maybe, they're starting to get the idea that America does have a backbone, and maybe -- but America's got a backbone; it's the Congress that I'm worried about.

BUTTNER: Yeah, but, Gary B., I mean, part of the tea party was having voices heard. For so long, all we were hearing about was nationalizing banks and socialism and all that. Just having this out there, does that help Wall Street? Does that help the bulls?

GARY B. SMITH: Absolutely, Brenda. You know, first of all, you heard for so many weeks and months that, you know, the whole country, you know, Obama won overwhelmingly, and it looked like, you know, we were going to go lockstep down this, you know, this socialist path. And then we started having these tea parties, and you know at first people thought: Oh, you know, that's kind of silly. And, of course, the liberal media continues to blow them up as silly.

But it's not. It shows that they're -- that America has a backbone. Small business owners out there -- you know, the normal, average American is just kind of sick of all the, you know, the tax-and-spend culture. And that's even, you know, bled over to Wall Street, with all the -- you know, a lot of the financial firms in a hurry now to give back this TARP money. So, I think it's all a good thing, and I think that it's helped the rally.

BUTTNER: And, of course, these are voters, though, Ron. They do have a vote, and they may take it in a couple of years to kick out the bums.

IANIERI: Yeah, well, and you know, and hopefully they will. My only problem is, is that although I'm very happy to be an American, and I really am touched by this patriotism, it's got absolutely nothing to do with the market rally -- nothing. The market --

TOBIN SMITH: Did you get the name of the post here we're doing?

IANIERI: I understand.

TOBIN SMITH: Oh, all right.

IANIERI: No, I do understand. But the fact is, there has to be a little bit of realism here. The market has been trading with the banks and the oils. The banks and oils have rallied; the market has rallied -- simple as that.

BUTTNER: Did he say realism?

From the March 7 edition of Bulls & Bears:

BUTTNER: On Main Street, more jobs wiped out; the unemployment rate now the highest in a quarter century. On Wall Street, more wealth wiped out; the Dow diving 6 percent this week, and now down 20 percent since President Obama moved into the White House. Some are calling it his bear market. Is it?

Hi everyone, I'm Brenda Buttner. This is Bulls & Bears. Let's get right down to it. Here they are, the Bulls and Bears this week: We have Gary B. Smith, Tobin Smith, Pat Dorsey, Eric Bolling, along with Democratic strategist Michael Brown. Who else we have? Ann Coulter, the best-selling author of Guilty. All right, welcome to everybody.

Toby, is this now President Obama's bear market?

SMITH: Boy, it is. And you know, the thing is, I loved when he came out and said, "Oh, I don't follow the stock market." Well, duh. Obviously, he doesn't. I mean, listen, you know, coherent ideas about how to actually get this country going would have given us 1,000 points, I think, this week. I mean, this idea that we can do everything all at one time with an unlimited, you know, budget is scaring the bejesus out of people, and until we get coherency, you know, I'm afraid that it's down 5,000, and then it's going to be his catastrophe.

BUTTNER: All right. What do you say, Ann?

COULTER: I think he wants a disaster, so he can push through all these crazy Democrat ideas, like the socialized health care. This is -- they don't care. They're going to dump everything on at once. They can blame Bush for a little while, but, I mean, it's becoming pretty clearly his, and he owns it.

I mean, all these Democrats saying, "Oh, Republicans, no ideas, you just want to cut taxes, reduce the size of government," it's like talking to a 14-year-old girl whose father has lost her [sic] job: "Oh, your idea is you cut my allowance and I get a job. That's all I ever hear: 'Get a job. Get a job.' " Well, yeah, it's better than you spending more money.

BUTTNER: OK. Michael, but this bear was out of the cave long before President Obama even started talking about the details of his economic plan, right?

BROWN: Well, obviously, this is something that clearly President Obama has inherited. And even though it's going to take several years -- I mean, it took President Bush to put us in this mess over several years; it's going to take several years to get us out of it.

Just like every time there's a Republican president, it takes a Democrat to fix the economy. Just like what happened with Bush I: President Clinton came in, gave us a surplus; Bush II came in, gave us a deficit. Now President Obama will get us a surplus --

BUTTNER: OK.

BROWN: -- at some point down the line.

SMITH: So, we need another bubble is what you're saying, because I -- 'cause the bubble we had in the Internet stocks accounted for all of these budget surpluses. So, Eric, get us another bubble, would you?

BUTTNER: Yeah, that's right. Eric, go ahead. Take that away.

BOLLING: We had the Treasury market by way of the Treasury bubble. Look, markets look forward, they don't look in reverse. Since he came out -- listen, we have a 20 percent down move since he's been in office. We've had, you know, 12 or 15 percent down in the last couple of weeks, and we've also had about 300 points down since he did come out and say --

SMITH: Yeah. "Let's buy stocks."

BOLLING: -- "Let's buy stocks here. They're cheap."

Forget about it, guys, the market looks forwards. The stock market is not looking good; the labor market -- we had 8.1 percent unemployment released this week --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's Bush's problem. That's not my problem.

BOLLING: -- not looking good; and the housing market, frankly, is on its ear right now. So forward-looking markets are very, very nervous about tax and spend.

BUTTNER: OK. Pat, are they really looking just at Washington? Aren't they looking at some of the financial firms?

From the March 7 edition of Fox News' Forbes on Fox:

ASMAN: Victoria, what do you think?

VICTORIA BARRET (Forbes associate editor): Yeah, I'm not as optimistic as Steve, unfortunately, because I think what's different about this one is that it's global and it's across all industries, and you have unprecedented government intervention and involvement. I mean, look at what happened over the last two weeks. Health care was a sector that was holding up, until Obama started talking about more government intervention in health care. Now, health care is down with the rest of the market.

ASMAN: So, Jack, there's all this anti-market policy online. How could the market possibly recover with all that weighing on it?

GAGE: Well, look, I believe in equal and opposite reactions, and I think you'll see, now that Obama has his own personal bear market he's presided over with a 20-percent decline since the inauguration, you will see a bounce back, akin to what Steve was talking about, with the politics changing.

I think you may see a Republican majority in 2010, and I'd look back at the Clinton presidency, when in the first two years of the Democratic Congress, the market gained only 20 percent. During the last six years of his presidency, the market tripled with the Republican Congress.

ASMAN: So, Mike, a bounce back in three years? What do you think?

From the March 7 edition of Fox News' Cashin' In:

KEENAN: The president now has the distinction of presiding over his very own bear market. Jonathan, should he be paying attention to what this market is saying?

HOENIG: Absolutely, Terry. It is inexcusable for him not to be paying attention to Wall Street. I mean, the truth is, what's good for Wall Street is good for America. You know, Wall Street is America. This is where free people come to trade, come to invest. It's not just that it's the fat cats -- Joe six-pack, Ma and Pa Kettle, they're very much invested in Wall Street. And when you look at the performance this year -- and my God, it has been a bloodbath -- I think there is no question that the market has zero confidence in Obama's economic policies.

KEENAN: Wayne, you're laughing, but, you know, it's the worst start to an administration vis-à-vis the stock market in 90 years.

ROGERS: Well, I don't think it has anything to do with the stock market in the sense that you don't make policy -- he's not listening to make policy to encourage Wall Street. Joe the Plumber has a lot more to do with it than, if you'll forgive me, Jonathan in his new tie. I mean, this is ridiculous to say that policy -- you base policy on what Wall Street says or does. Otherwise, you'd be ignoring all of the financial crises, you'd be ignoring oil prices, you'd be ignoring all of the other things that affect the stock market.

HOENIG: But Wayne, honestly, I mean, what's the market supposed to like? The intervention? The higher taxes? The regulation? Has anything Obama done this far been actually friendly to the markets? Friendly to capitalism?

KEENAN: Well -- well --

ROGERS: But we're not talking about whether the market -- whether Obama's friendly to the market; we're talking about Obama listening to Wall Street. He shouldn't be listening to Wall Street.

KEENAN: Well, yeah, but --

ROGERS: I mean, that's a mistake.

KEENAN: But, Rob, I mean, I listen to Wall Street. It's telling me the banking crisis isn't getting any better. It's telling me there's problems with the life insurers. It's telling me Eastern Europe is blowing up. Why shouldn't he listen to the market?

STEIN: Well, it's all about timeframe, Terry. And you've got to see what period of time you're looking at. Sure he's been in office for a couple of months and the stock market hasn't performed very well. But I don't know if there's anything he could have done that would have turned the market around on a dime when he came into office. Maybe you need to look at a different timeframe -- a quarter or two or three, before you start blaming every comment as the cause for the recent decline.

KEENAN: But the market is down 3,000 points since Election Day. Typically, when a Democrat gets in, it goes up. So there's some disconnect here, Tracy.

TRACY BYRNES (Fox Business reporter): But I think what Jonathan is trying to say -- and we've been talking about this a ton -- is that the -- people now trade on what D.C. says. They're not trading on earnings and fundamentals any more. The market ticks up and down --

HOENIG: Right.

BYRNES: -- based on the things we hear out of Washington. So, Wall Street is clearly listening to D.C. Maybe the president and his administration should be a little bit more careful about the things that they leak out, or that they mistakenly say, or the, you know, the bombshells they drop on occasion, 'cause the market clearly moves in tandem to those bombshells.

Posted In
Economy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Brenda Buttner
Show/Publication
Bulls & Bears
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