Fox News reported that the Cleveland Clinic was instituting "massive layoffs" due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but when asked about the reports, a Clinic spokesperson told Media Matters, "We're not."
On November 25, The Daily Caller published an article titled, "Top U.S. hospital laying off staff due to Obamacare." On Fox Business' Markets Now, host Connell McShane reported on the "massive layoffs." America's Newsroom host Bill Hemmer claimed that the Cleveland Clinic was going to "shed workers." Later, during the America's News HQ, Fox reporter Chris Stirewalt claimed that the layoffs "rocked the community there in northeastern Ohio."
But there's one problem: the Cleveland Clinic is not laying off any employees. Eileen Sheil, Cleveland Clinic's Executive Director of Corporate Communications, said in an e-mail to Media Matters, "There have been several mis-reports and they keep mentioning that we're laying off 3,000 employees. We're not." Sheil explained that Cleveland Clinic is offering voluntary retirement to 3,000 eligible employees and that the Clinic is also "working on many initiatives to lower costs, drive efficiencies, reduce duplication of services across our system and provide quality care to our patients." Sheil continued, "Many of these initiatives do not impact our employees."
Sheil told Media Matters that Fox had been notified of its error and that the Cleveland Clinic requested Fox's future reporting on the issue more accurately present the Clinic's plans. According to a Media Matters search, Fox had not corrected its mistake by the time of publication.
Despite Fox's reporting, Sheil reiterated the Clinic's support for the Affordable Care Act, stating:
We believe reform is necessary because the current state is unsustainable. The ACA is a step toward that change and we believe more changes will come/evolve as there are still many uncertainties. Hospitals must be responsible and do what we can to prepare and support the law.
Fox's continued focus on the Cleveland Clinic is due, presumably, to President Obama's frequent praise of the hospital. In September, host Greta Van Susteren acknowledged the network's flawed reporting on the Cleveland Clinic after it was cited by U.S. Sen. John Barasso (R-WY) on her program.
Fox Business anchor Connell McShane threw cold water on the "crazy" conspiracy theory promoted by former GE CEO Jack Welsh, and echoed by several Fox colleagues, that the Obama administration "change[d] the numbers" in the latest employment data.
"I mentioned silly season at the top. Check this tweet out from Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO. A lot of people talking about this," McShane said during FBN's Markets Now. "It's crazy stuff what he actually said on Twitter."
McShane hosted Fox News contributor Monica Crowley, who cast doubt on the number on Twitter, and said "right off the top" that the numbers are "not fudged. Because that's an important part of this discussion. When you start going down that road, I mean there's no data, no facts, nothing supports that."
Co-anchor Dagen McDowell replied: "I was just going to say, it's like bitching about polls. It's like bitching that the polls are wrong." In recent weeks, conservative media figures have embraced the conspiracy theory that pollsters and the media are skewing data to benefit Obama.
McShane also refuted the conspiracy theory on Twitter, writing: "Turning into a crazy day on twitter. We should be clear. There is ZERO evidence to support the theory that the jobs number is fudged. Zero."
McShane later claimed that while the data wasn't fudged, it is "not necessarily a great number by the way. It's 582,000 of the 873 is part-time workers. So, I mean, you don't have to say the number's fudged. It is not that great a number even on the surface of things."
From the November 10 edition of Fox Business' Dagen & Connell:
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From the June 4 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
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On August 18, several media figures -- including MSNBC host Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Fox Business Network host Connell McShane, and NBC correspondent Savannah Guthrie -- reported that 60,000 senior citizens have canceled their AARP membership since July 1 because of the organization's support for health care reform. But those media figures did not note that the Associated Press reported the previous day that, according to an AARP spokesman, the organization regularly loses 300,000 members a month and has gained 400,000 new members in the same period.