Fox Twists Facts To Claim Greece Will Get US "Bailout"

››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN

Fox News hyped a report that G-20 leaders want to increase the resources of the IMF to claim that "the taxpayer in the United States will end up bailing out [Greece]." However, while G-20 leaders have discussed strengthening the IMF, the White House has already said that the U.S. will not be giving additional money to the fund. This story follows Fox's similarly misleading attacks in May, when President Obama visited Ireland ahead of a proposed EU bailout.

Fox Claims "More Of Your Tax Dollars Could Be Used" To "Prop Up" Greece

Bolling: "More Of Your Tax Dollars Could Be Used To Prop Up Failing European Countries Like Greece." On the November 4 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, the co-hosts highlighted ongoing discussions at the G-20 summit about possible aid packages for Greece. Guest host Eric Bolling claimed that "more of your tax dollars could be used to prop up failing European countries like Greece," and co-host Gretchen Carlson hyped "a plan that's being considered by G-20 leaders right now to pump more money into the International Monetary Fund." Later, Fox Business host Stuart Varney said: "The IMF is being looked at as the new vehicle to pump a ton of money into bankrupt Europe. ... That's why our money is involved over there." From the broadcast:

BOLLING: Well, more of your tax dollars could be used to prop up failing European countries like Greece.

CARLSON: And a plan that's being considered by G-20 leaders right now to pump more money into the International Monetary Fund in order to shore up confidence in European banks.

BOLLING: Stuart Varney is here. Stuart, how in the world are our taxpayer dollars going to end up in Greek bank accounts?

VARNEY: Well, we're part of the IMF. We -- the International Monetary Fund. We provide 17 percent of its budget. So when we hear this morning that the IMF is being looked at as the new vehicle to pump a ton of money into bankrupt Europe, that's our money into the IMF into Europe. That is the plan. They haven't formalized it yet, not agreed to it. But that is the plan -- the latest of the bailout moves in Europe. That's why our money is involved over there.

CARLSON: You know, for so long, we've been discussing the crisis in Greece, and thinking that the U.S., maybe it would affect the stock market and our 401k's, but why -- but nobody ever really believed that the taxpayer in the United States would end up bailing out that country. But now, is this an example of what's going to happen? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 11/4/11]

But White House Has Said U.S. Will "Not Be Providing Additional Funds" To The IMF

BBC: G-20 Leaders Agreed To "Increase The Resources Of The IMF ... However, A White House Spokesman Said That The US Would Not Be Providing Additional Funds." A November 3 BBC article stated that G-20 leaders did agree "to increase the firepower of the [IMF]" so that it "will be more able to support struggling Eurozone economies." But the article also noted that "a White House spokesman said that the US would not be providing additional funds." From the article:

The Group of 20 leaders have agreed to increase the firepower of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It means the Fund will be more able to support struggling eurozone economies.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed that most talks had revolved around the eurozone crisis.

[...]

Agreement was reached among G20 leaders to increase the resources of the IMF, according to a draft communique seen by the Reuters news agency.

There are no details as to how much more money governments would give it.

"There is a broad view among G20 there does need to be additional financing," said Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. "We will be working on it overnight and tomorrow."

However, a White House spokesman said that the US would not be providing additional funds. [BBC, 11/3/11]

CBS' O'Donnell: "The President Can Only Offer Words And Talk And Consultations, Not A Bailout." In a report on the G-20 talks during the November 4 edition of CBS' The Early Show, CBS News chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell said, "The president can only offer words and talk and consultations, not a bailout." O'Donnell later added, "I think the point that the White House officials make is that they (European leaders) have got to do this sooner rather than later, to contain a contagion that could spread to the rest of the world." [CBS, The Early Show, 11/4/11, via CBSNews.com]

CBS: "The United States ... Maintained Its Position That The IMF Should Use Its Existing Resources And Leverage Them For Best Use." A November 4 CBSNews.com article said that while G-20 leaders "were focusing on strengthening the IMF," the U.S. "maintained its position that the IMF should use its existing resources." From the article:

Leaders of the world's biggest economies were focusing on strengthening the IMF as they scrambled for ways to help Europe contain its raging debt crisis without worsening their own money troubles. European and non-European countries disagree about how to better use the IMF -- the institution that was set up as the lender of last resort for struggling governments after World War II -- to help.

"There is a broad view amongst G-20 leaders that there does need to be additional IMF resourcing," Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Thursday night. "Leaders recognize that it is an appropriate move ... so people could be reassured."

The United States, however, maintained its position that the IMF should use its existing resources and leverage them for best use, according to Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser. The U.S. is the fund's largest stakeholder. [CBSNews.com, 11/4/11]

Fox Made Similarly Misleading Claims About Ireland "Bailout" In May

Fox & Friends Claimed Obama Would Discuss "Bailout" For Ireland With Irish PM. During Obama's May visit to Ireland, Fox & Friends co-hosts and guests claimed that Ireland was "broke" and "asking President Obama for help." They repeatedly asked if "we [can] afford to help bail out other countries." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/23/11, via Media Matters]

  • In Fact, Irish PM Asked Obama For Support In Talks With EU -- Not A U.S. "Bailout." As British and American media reported at the time, talks between Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and Obama centered around Obama's possible support for the terms of an EU bailout; the two also talked about trade between the two countries. [Media Matters, 5/23/11]
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.