Fox News pulled out all the stops in its desperate attempt to frame a solid October 2016 jobs report in a negative light just days ahead of Election Day. The studio crews of Fox & Friends and Fox Business’ Mornings with Maria joined forces to misleadingly label the latest jobs report as “underwhelming” and a potential boon for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
On November 4, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its employment report for October, the last major government data release of the general election. The report showed the economy added 161,000 jobs last month -- a 73-month streak of monthly job creation -- as the unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent. The report also showed considerable positive revisions to jobs estimates for prior months, with the economy adding 44,000 more jobs in August and September than previously thought.
The New York Times heralded the report as showing “a healthy outlook” and quoted one economist who compared the report to a golf shot “right down the middle of the fairway." CNNMoney noted that the report showed wage growth “accelerating” at the fastest monthly pace since June 2009. Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed, tweeted that the October report “set 3 pre-recession records” in major economic indicators, concluding, “Wow.” Kolko also noted that the gap between the official unemployment rate (U-3) and a broader measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers (U-6), often referred to by conservative media critics as the “real” unemployment rate, is the “narrowest” it has been since the midst of the Great Recession:
The headline unemployment number (U-3) doesn't tell the whole story, but the gap between U-6 and U-3 is at its narrowest since the crisis. pic.twitter.com/I4EukFpUFU
— Jed Kolko (@JedKolko) November 4, 2016
In general, news outlets and economic experts see the October 2016 jobs report as good news for the economy. MarketWatch even argued that the positive economic indicators might be enough to convince the Federal Reserve to tighten the money supply to prevent the economy from overheating.
At Fox News, the story was different.
Fox & Friends broke into its regular programming to simulcast a discussion with Fox Business hosts Maria Bartiromo and Trish Regan, where they framed the report exclusively as “underwhelming,” “below expectations,” and “weaker than expected.” Bartiromo claimed that “people were expecting a pretty good number ahead of the election” before Fox co-host Brian Kilmeade interjected that President Obama benefited from “good numbers” in the October 2012 report. (Fox News actually spread a conspiracy theory in 2012 that the Obama administration was forging BLS jobs data to help the president win re-election.)
When co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked if the October report would “make a difference, come Tuesday,” Bartiromo misleadingly claimed that “this could have impact” because “people were expecting a lot better.” Regan concluded the segment by falsely claiming the economy is “in a weak environment” and not “adding enough jobs to actually start to stimulate the economy in a meaningful way.”
Watch the full segment from Fox & Friends here: