It took less than ten minutes after the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new jobs numbers this morning for Fox to start promoting conspiracy theories about the reported drop in unemployment.
Commenting on the jobs report as the numbers first came in this morning, Fox Business host Charles Payne speculated that "some people will be very cynical that a government number will come out this great on the eve of the election." Indeed, "some people" at Fox -- including Payne himself -- have subsequently spent much of the day trying to cast doubt on the numbers, with several Fox personalities and guests openly speculating that the BLS may have cooked the books to bolster Obama's chance at reelection.
In fact, much of Fox's coverage today has focused on the "questions" surrounding the supposedly "fishy" and "convenient" jobs report that the New York Times described as "unexpected good news" for President Obama.
Veteran economics journalists have dismissed these conspiracies as "implausible" and "unfounded."
From the October 5 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
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Right-wing media have insisted that President Obama is a failure because the unemployment rate has been higher than it was when President Obama took office. Now that this is no longer true, Fox is suggesting that people look at different employment statistics to judge Obama.
The latest jobs report found that the unemployment rate is 7.8 percent, the same rate Obama inherited when he took office in January 2009. Before the latest report, conservative media harped on the fact that the unemployment rate was higher than it was at the beginning of 2009.
Before today's report, right-wing media had said that Obama needs to be judged on the unemployment number. For instance, in September, conservative author Dinesh D'Souza said on Fox: "Unemployment when he came in, 7.8 percent. We are not saying it should be 2 percent, but it's higher than it was four years ago. Despite all the money and bailouts and the stimulus, Obama needs to be judged on his record."
Other conservative media figures have been highlighting the same number, including Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade who claimed that the Obama campaign slogan, "Forward," was not appropriate in part because "the jobless rate is now up to 8.2" percent as compared to 7.8 percent when he took office.
But now that this talking point no longer works, Fox's Stuart Varney and Charles Payne moved the goal posts. They said Obama should be judged on a different statistic: the labor participation rate, which is a measure of the labor force as a percentage of the population.
From the September 18 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Company:
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From the September 11 edition of Fox News' FOX & Friends
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Mitt Romney's nomination acceptance speech contained numerous falsehoods that originated in the right-wing media. Right-wing media have also echoed some of Romney's other dubious claims that were part of the speech.
A new report from the Energy Information Administration finds that U.S. carbon emissions are at a 20-year low, in part because energy companies are transitioning from coal to natural gas. Fox is seizing on that news to claim that "the free market [is] cleaning up our air," and that the current availability of cheap natural gas undermines the need for government action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But experts say that a variety of factors contributed to the emissions drop, and that shifting to natural gas is not a long-term solution to climate change.
The Energy Information Administration announced earlier this month that U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions in early 2012 were the lowest measured for a January-March period since 1992. The report attributed the decline to a combination of three factors: reduced household heating demand during an unusually warm winter, a decline in coal generation due to low natural gas prices, and low gasoline demand as a result of a slowed economy and the shift towards more fuel-efficient vehicles.
But Fox is ignoring the confluence of factors and touting the decline as a triumph of the free market. A Fox Nation headline today declared: "Free Enterprise Makes the Air Cleaner." On Varney & Company, Fox Business contributor Charles Payne said: "The free market, cleaning up our air. Says a lot about the free market, doesn't it?" And on Money with Melissa Francis, Fox Business reporter Tracy Byrnes called the EIA report "proof that free markets can work better than government overregulation." Byrnes went on to ask her guest why carbon dioxide emissions -- which are not "poisonous" or "inflammable" -- are even a problem in the first place:
Fox Business' Charles Payne repeatedly claimed Obama demonized success and attacked the wealthy during a July 5 campaign stop. But despite Fox News' ongoing campaign to portray Obama as engaging in "class warfare," the president's comments were limited to praise for the middle class.
In his July 5 campaign appearance, President Obama noted that being part of the middle class is "not just about income, it's about knowing what's important, and not measuring your success just based on your bank account. It's about your values and being responsible and looking after each other and giving back." Despite the fact that Obama never criticized the wealthy during his praise of middle class values, Payne claimed Obama's comments were "despicable" and "sickening," and that they "demonized success" during a July 6 appearance on Fox News' Fox & Friends.
After playing a clip of Obama's speech, co-host Brian Kilmeade suggested that Obama claimed that "[i]f you're upper class, you can't possibly have any values." Payne responded:
PAYNE: Let me tell you, this is what's so disappointing about it and despicable about it. Talking about people doing the right thing. Imagine you go to college, you work your way through college, you get out and you meet your girlfriend there and you guys get married and you both come out of school and you're saddled with a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of debt. You work your way through the corporate system and you have a couple of kids and you sacrifice, who knows, maybe 10, 20 years later, you have made it up the ladder of success. You've made all the sacrifices. You go to church but in the president's eyes because you make a certain amount of money you don't have values? You don't have principles? That is sickening stuff right there. It's divide and conquer and it's also demonizing success. Why isn't the job market moving? You're demonizing success.
Payne is hardly the first Fox employee to suggest that Obama is demonizing success or engaging in class warfare. This is a frequent Fox narrative that has made its way through the GOP as a standard talking point. Only in Fox's world does praising middle class values count as "demonizing success."
From the July 6 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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After hyping exaggerated claims about potential Keystone XL pipeline related jobs, Fox News is now simply inventing them. Fox is claiming that 114,000 U.S. veterans are heading north of the border to build the Canadian portion of the Keystone XL pipeline. In fact, the jobs are "not at all related to the Keystone pipeline," according to the company recruiting workers in Alberta, Canada.
Fox News got the story - and clearly did not check it - from Veterans of Foreign Wars, which sponsors the jobs-listing website, VetJobs, that partnered with the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation to advertise skilled-labor jobs available in Alberta. VFW's press release suggested the jobs would involve the Keystone XL pipeline, stating: "Though America's Keystone Pipeline is delayed, the Canadians are moving forward on their side of the border and have an immediate need for tens of thousands of workers." But in a phone conversation, VetJobs founder Ted Daywalt said he was not trying to imply that the jobs were related to the Keystone pipeline, and that media reports "jumped the gun."
Following relentless attacks on the solar industry in the wake of Solyndra's bankruptcy, wind power has become the latest target of the right-wing campaign against renewable energy. But contrary to the myths propagated by the conservative media, wind power is safe, increasingly affordable, and has the potential to significantly reduce pollution and U.S. reliance on fossil fuels.
Not content to shame food stamps recipients and bully them into silence, Fox News is now targeting efforts to raise awareness of poverty and food insecurity.
The latest front in the Fox News war on anti-poverty measures takes aim at chef Mario Batali as he highlights the difficulties of living on food stamps -- problems that are routinely dismissed on Fox while the network pushes for drastic cuts to nutritional aid and other anti-poverty measures. Batali, who sits on the board at the New York City food pantry, is trying to live on a $31 food budget for a week in order to illustrate the struggles families face trying to survive on a food stamp budget, even as the right looks to cut funding for the program:
For one week, the acclaimed chef Mario Batali is challenging Americans to "walk in someone else's shoes" by eating only what they would be able to buy with food stamps.
Batali, the star of ABC's "The Chew," partnered with the New York City Food Bank to raise awareness about potential cuts to the food stamp program, which helps feed 46 million Americans.
Discussing Batali's role in the food stamp challenge, Red Eye host Greg Gutfeld asked, "Does this make you want to slap him around?"
Gutfeld's dismissive mocking of Batali's efforts comes amid an exhaustive campaign by Fox to demonize those who receive food stamps while simultaneously minimizing their struggles. Fox's Charles Payne once castigated the poor for not being sufficiently ashamed of their poverty. Fox host Stuart Varney dismissed "the image we have of poor people as starving and living in squalor," opining, "many of them have things -- what they lack is the richness of spirit."
The campaign of dismissive scorn reached its Marie Antoinette moment when Fox's Sean Hannity urged folks struggling with food insecurity to make large pots of beans and rice "for relatively negligible amounts of money."
Which raises a question: When will Hannity, Varney, and Gutfeld take the food stamp challenge and show how much food they can buy with the richness of spirit and the appropriate helping of shame?
From the May 7 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
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The Fox show America Live introduced an April 30 segment on May Day protests planned by Occupy Wall Street by playing black-and-white newsreel footage of a military parade in Moscow in the days of the Soviet Union in celebration of the holiday. Subtle.
America Live host Megyn Kelly continued this narrative, saying: "Six decades ago, the first of May was best known as a day of celebration in Moscow and Havana, as workers in the Communist Party marked what they called their accomplishments."
Fox contributor Charles Payne echoed this red-baiting smear later that day on Your World, said that May Day "dovetails into a big, giant communist holiday":
But Fox is obscuring the origin of this holiday, which began in 19th-century America.
A report released this month by research group IBISWorld lists "solar panel manufacturing" and "green and sustainable building construction" as being among the top 10 fastest-growing industries in the country. The report joins the body of research showing that the green energy industry is a growing force in both the domestic and global economies.
As the IBISWorld report explains, solar panel manufacturing had "average annual revenue growth of 32.3% from 2002 to 2012," thanks to both "substantial subsidies" from the government and "falling silicon prices":
Over the past decade, the dramatic rise in energy costs and an increasingly vocal, environmentally conscious public have led to the growth of green industries. The Solar Panel Manufacturing industry has been at the forefront of the green industrial movement with average annual revenue growth of 32.3% from 2002 to 2012, including expected growth of 9.4% in 2012. As the federal government looks to reduce the United States' dependency on fossil and other non-renewable fuels, green energy firms have reaped the benefit of substantial subsidies. Without assistance, solar power generation firms would have little chance against entrenched, traditional fuel sources. Moreover, falling silicon prices have allowed US firms to compete with low-cost manufacturers abroad.
The report also notes that the "Green and Sustainable Building Construction industry" has experienced "annualized growth of 28.9%" since 2002.
IBISWorld researchers predicted that both industries will continue to grow over the next five years, projecting that solar panel manufacturing will "continue expanding at an average rate of 8.2% per year" and that green and sustainable construction will grow at an "average annual rate of 22.8%."