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  • Fox Blames Obamacare For Fictional Layoffs At Cleveland Clinic

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER HANSEN

    Cleveland Clinic

    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. 

  • Media Conservatives Redefine Middle Class To Shield Wealthy Taxpayers From Slightly Higher Rates

    Blog ››› ››› ALBERT KLEINE

    Fox Business

    Conservative media outlets have falsely suggested that President Obama's tax plan will negatively affect a broad range of taxpayers, while ignoring Obama's own statements that clearly indicate otherwise. In reality, only a small portion of earners would be affected by his proposed tax increases.

    Fox Business host Gerri Willis reacted to President Obama's November 9 remarks on the economy by claiming that he plans to raise taxes on "lots and lots" of middle-income people. From Fox Business' Markets Now:

    The speculation that Obama's tax plans will affect a large proportion of earners was also put forth in a National Review Online article, claiming that he "seemed especially intractable on tax hikes for the 'wealthy,' a rather broadly defined term."

    However, Obama's statements do not suggest that a large number of earners would be affected by his tax plan. Here's what Obama actually said in his November 9 speech about asking the wealthiest Americans to pay slightly higher taxes on some of their income: 

    OBAMA: I am not going to ask students and seniors and middle class families to pay down the entire deficit, while people like me making over $250,000 aren't asked to pay a dime more in taxes.

    According to most recent Census data, median household income in the U.S. is $50,054, well below the $250,000 threshold suggested by Obama, and only 2 percent of households earn more than $250,000 a year, leaving the vast majority of Americans unaffected by the proposed tax increases. Furthermore, Obama's tax aspirations have a negligible effect on the economy. According to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, allowing upper-income tax cuts to expire would have a modest effect on growth.

  • Fox Business Anchor McShane Rebuts "Crazy" Unemployment Number Conspiracy

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    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. 

    Several Fox personalities, including Fox Business personalities Stuart Varney and Charles Payne, have echoed Welch in suggesting that the jobs numbers are fishy.

    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."

  • "The Romney Rally": Fox Credits Debate Success For Rising Stocks

    Blog ››› ››› ALBERT KLEINE

    Fox Business anchors repeatedly suggested that today's stock market gains are due to perception of a Romney victory at last night's presidential debate, overlooking other crucial drivers of stock performance.

    Throughout Markets Now, anchors and guests consistently credited rising stocks to a "Romney rally." From Markets Now:

     

    The "Romney rally" talk continued throughout Fox Business' afternoon programming, emerging as the primary explanation of today's stock growth. Meanwhile, other important determinants of the stock market were rarely discussed, if at all.

    According to a Bloomberg Businessweek article, today's rally could be attributed to a number of explanations unrelated to last night's debate, including better than expected economic figures and bullish stock market betting. From the article:

    U.S. stocks rose as Labor Department figures showed applications for jobless benefits increased 4,000 to 367,000 in the week ended Sept. 29. Economists forecast 370,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Orders placed with U.S. factories fell 5.2 percent in August, the Commerce Department said. The median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for a decline of 5.9 percent.

    [...]

    Some traders pointed to a bullish bet on the S&P 500 in the options market as helping to fuel today's rally. One investor bought 11,000 calls expiring tomorrow to buy the index at 1,465, 1 percent above yesterday's closing level, Chris Rich, head options strategist at JonesTrading Institutional Services LLC in Chicago, said in an interview. (Bloomberg Businessweek, 10/4/2012)