Right-Wing Media Distort Goolsbee's Accurate Statement On Disasters And Economy


Right-wing media distorted recent comments by former Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee by claiming he "blame[d]" the "slowing economy" on the recent East Coast earthquake. In fact, Goolsbee causally mentioned the earthquake at the end of a list of events which experts agree had a negative impact on the economy.

Right-Wing Media Claim Goolsbee Blamed Recession On "DC Earthquake" And Other "Excuses"

Coulter: Goolsbee Blamed Poor Economy On East Coast Earthquake And Had "String Of Excuses That Have Nothing To Do With The Economy." On the August 25 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity hosted Fox News contributor Ann Coulter to react to his interview with former Obama economic adviser Austen Goolsbee. Coulter mocked Goolsbee's comments about the economy, claiming that he "complain[ed] about [the August 23] earthquake that caused dozens of dollars' worth of damage." She also said that Goolsbee's pointing to the earthquake in Japan and uprisings in the Middle East was "a whole string of excuses that have nothing to do with the economy." From the broadcast:

COULTER: And the audacity of Austan Goolsbee, stringing together all of the problems poor Obama has faced, including an earthquake, an earthquake --

HANNITY: An earthquake in Japan.

COULTER: No, no, no. I'm in California, Sean. I'm -- I'm -- I'm - no, I think he's talking about the earthquake that hit, hit the United States yesterday. I'm out where we, we have real, actual grown-up earthquakes, and for him to complain about an earthquake that caused, what, dozens of dollars' worth of, of damage? Our hearts and prayers do go out to those who nearly lost their balance in yesterday's earthquake. He throws in a hurricane that hasn't even hit land yet.

HANNITY: No, Coulter, you got this -- he's not talking about that earthquake. They're blaming the tsunami and the earthquake in Japan. They're blaming the Arab Spring. They're not -- they're blaming --

COULTER: I think if you play that interview back, you will find a whole string of excuses that have nothing to do with the economy, but he won't talk about the things Obama actually did which are all job killers, which are known to be job killers. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/25/11]

Hoft: "Former Obama Economic Adviser Blames Slowing Economy on DC Earthquake." Blogger Jim Hoft titled an August 25 post on his blog Gateway Pundit, "Former Obama Economic Adviser Blames Slowing Economy on DC Earthquake." Hoft wrote:

Why not? They've blamed everything else.

Former top Obama Economic Adviser Austan Goolsbee blamed "earthquakes, tsunamis, revolutions in the Middle East, financial crisis and now we even have earthquakes outside of Washington DC" for the failed Obama economic record. [Gateway Pundit, 8/25/11, emphasis original]

Fox & Friends Co-Hosts Mock Goolsbee's Comments, Claim He Blamed The "Dud" "DC Earthquake." On the August 26 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, the co-hosts mocked Goolsbee's comments after airing part of his Hannity interview. From the broadcast:

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): The DC earthquake? Was a dud. I'm glad that guy wasn't running FEMA

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Right.

AINSLEY EARHARDT (guest host): That just happened.

DOOCY: I know. Well, what, you know, there was some damage, but thankfully, did it impact the economy? There's a kind of a funny picture of the DC, DC devastation that shows some plastic resin lawn chairs and one of them was tipped over. That was the extent of the --

KILMEADE: Right. I mean, we knew the Washington Monument was damaged a little bit. But I mean blaming natural disasters, occurrences, and tea partiers. I mean they, they play a role, but you got to start with taking responsibility.

DOOCY: The Japanese earthquake, that was gigantic. That had economic impacts around the world. But that -- the DC earthquake --

EARHARDT: Well you can't really blame the -- the economy is -- we've had a bad economy for a long time. This earthquake was a few days ago. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/26/11]

But Goolsbee Pointed To Range Of Global Events And Only Casually Mentioned "Earthquakes Out Of Washington, D.C."

Goolsbee: "At The Beginning Of The Year We Get Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Revolutions In The Middle East, European Financial Crises -- Now They Even Have Earthquakes Out Of Washington, DC." During Hannity's August 25 interview with Goolsbee, Hannity played a montage of clips of President Obama saying the economy was recovering, and then asked Goolsbee "What went wrong?" Goolsbee pointed to a number of global events that "have put some heavy blows" on the economy" and concluded by saying, "Now they even have earthquakes out of Washington, DC." From Hannity:

HANNITY: The truth -- now, we've accumulated more debt, shorter period of time, under Obama. The truth is, I have the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics, we've lost two and a half million jobs since his stimulus, under Obama's plan. He said he would cut the debt in half. His administration said they'd keep the unemployment below 8 percent. You were part of this. What went wrong?

GOOLSBEE: Well, respectfully, Sean, I'd say you, you got -- you're, you're mixing up the time frame there. In the year 2010, which is when most of the clips when the president was saying we were starting going to grow again, we were growing. And over that 17 months we added two and a half million jobs.

Now, at the beginning of this year we get earthquakes, tsunamis, revolutions in the Middle East, European financial crises -- now they have even got earthquakes out of Washington, D.C. I mean, we've had a series of things that have put some heavy blows and slowed the economy back down again.

HANNITY: Wait a -- hang on a second.

GOOLSEBEE: But, I think it's a little -- I, I, I, I don't think you want to confuse something that --

HANNITY: Well, since, I am just giving you, I am just reading from the Bureau of Labor statistics --

GOOLSEBEE: -- is way down and starting to grow out. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/25/11]

Furthermore, Experts Agree Goolsbee Is Correct That Global Events Have Impacted The U.S. Economy

CNN Money: "Economic Growth Was Stifled By Temporary Factors" Such As Japanese Earthquake And "Arab Spring." In an August 26 article, CNN Money noted:

Economic activity in the first half of 2011 has been much weaker than many had anticipated at the start of the year.

In the first quarter, economic growth was stifled by temporary factors, including supply disruptions stemming from the Japan earthquake and a spike in gasoline prices following the Arab Spring political uprisings. [CNN Money, 8/26/11]

New York Federal Reserve President Cites "Supply Chain Disruptions" Following Japanese Earthquake For "Weakness In Economic Activity." In remarks delivered on August 19, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President and Chief Executive William Dudley pointed to "supply chain disruptions following the tragic earthquake in Japan" as a factor influencing "weakness in economic activity in the first half of the year." From Dudley's remarks:

Some of the weakness in economic activity in the first half of the year was due to temporary factors such as the hit to household income from higher food and energy prices, and supply chain disruptions following the tragic earthquake in Japan. These restraining forces have abated and thus, we should see stronger growth in the second half. But it is clear that not all of the weakness was due to these one-time factors--and in light of this, I have revised down my expectations for the pace of recovery going forward.

On the inflation front, the committee noted that inflation has moderated recently as energy and commodity prices have declined from their peaks - having picked up earlier in the year, mainly reflecting higher prices for commodities and imported goods, as well as the supply disruptions from Japan. Longer-term inflation expectations remain stable, and the Committee now expects inflation to settle over the coming quarters at levels at or below those consistent with our mandate to promote full employment and price stability. [Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 8/19/11]

Bloomberg: "The World's Economy Is Struggling To Withstand The Combination Of" Global Events. In a June 1 article, Bloomberg noted:

Manufacturing growth from China to the euro region and the U.S. slowed in May, adding to signs that momentum is weakening in a global economy facing headwinds from rising commodity costs and regional shocks.

A purchasing managers' index for China showed the slowest pace of expansion in nine months, while the equivalent measure for the euro area fell to a seven-month low. The U.S. gauge of factory growth was at its weakest in a year, Russia's index signaled "near stagnation," and reports from Poland to Hungary also showed a loss of manufacturing momentum.

The synchronized drop in global factory indicators is adding to evidence that the world's economy is struggling to withstand the combination of rising oil prices, the aftermath of Japan's earthquake and Europe's sovereign-debt crisis. [Bloomberg, 6/1/11]

Telegraph: Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke Noted That Events In Europe "Will Leave Some Imprint On The U.S. Economy." A June 9, 2010, article in the UK newspaper The Telegraph reported that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the European financial crisis "will leave some imprint on the US economy." From The Telegraph:

Giving evidence to a high-profile Congressional committee yesterday, Mr Bernanke said that although problems across the Atlantic are likely to have only a "modest" effect on US economic growth, the Fed is monitoring developments closely.

"US financial markets have been roiled in recent weeks by these developments, which have triggered a reduction in demand for risky assets," said Mr Bernanke, referring to the concern felt in the market about the financial fates of Greece, Spain and more recently Hungary.

Although the central banker said he felt that falling markets and weaker European prospects "will leave some imprint on the US economy" he argued that the decline in Treasury bonds' interest rates and reduced commodity prices could offset some of the pain. [The Telegraph, 6/9/10]

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