Fox News Needs To Show Its Work

Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

On cue, Fox News is carrying water for GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, claiming to have proved the former Bain Capital executive's unsubstantiated claim that he helped create 100,000 jobs by restructuring struggling companies.

Discussing the 2012 campaign during an interview on Fox & Friends, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said that Democrats were willing to "stack up President Obama's job creation record versus Mitt Romney, who was a specialist at Bain Capital in dismantling companies and cutting jobs and forcing corporate businesses into bankruptcy."

Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson responded by claiming that Fox's "research also shows that Mitt Romney created 150,000 jobs when he was in that position."

After Wasserman-Schultz interjected that neither Romney's campaign nor anybody else has been able to validate that claim with "actual facts," Carlson insisted: "We did."

Talk about burying the lede. One day earlier, Greg Sargent issued a challenge to the media, calling on them to press Mitt Romney to provide evidence supporting his claim that he created 100,000 jobs during his tenure at Bain:

These claims are absolutely central to Romney's entire rationale for runing for president. Is it too much to expect reporters and news outlets to scrutinize them or to ask him to substantiate them?


It's obviously too much to expect Fox to challenge these claims. But Romney has made this assertion about 100,000 new jobs in variousother settings, too. As Steve Benen noted, his Super PAC is also making a very similar claim in ads. And as far as I can tell, only two lonely fact checking operations -- one at the Post, the other -- have scrutinized it. They have found that the assertion is at best unsubstantiated and that there may have been more layoffs than jobs created by Bain; there's no way to tell for sure. When will reporters push Romney on this?

Now the crack researchers at Fox & Friends are not only claiming to have proved Romney's controversial statement correct -- they've padded it by an additional 50,000 jobs.

Fox is going to have to show its work on this one.

After all, Fox News' "research" often mirrors GOP press releases (including the typos) and frequently comes straight from fringe right-wing blogs.

And lo and behold, the Romney campaign itself has put forth a specious defense of the claim. According to Glenn Kessler of the Post, Romney's campaign is pointing to job creation at only three firms from his time at Bain to justify the figure. Sargent explained the problem:

Romney is only counting jobs gained at companies restructured at Bain during and after his years there -- and is notfactoring in jobs lost -- in claiming he created over 100,000 jobs.

Until Fox News shows how it got that figure, this number remains highly suspicious.

Posted In
Economy, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment
2012 Elections
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