Fox News Baselessly Blames Calls For Minimum Wage Increase For Drop In McDonald's Profits

McDonald's CEO Attributes Drop To Image Problems, Trend Toward Healthy Eating

Fox News misleadingly attributed a drop in McDonald's quarterly profits to widespread calls for a minimum wage increase, even though the company itself pointed to image problems as the major factor in the loss, not the minimum wage.

Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo appeared on the October 22 edition of Fox & Friends to discuss a 30 percent drop in McDonald's quarterly profits. Bartiromo and the hosts agreed that calls for a minimum wage increase caused profits to drop and forced McDonald's to turn to automation:

STEVE DOOCY: Meanwhile, McDonald's, the Golden Arches, reporting a 30 percent drop in corporate profits.

BRIAN KILMEADE: Why? Well, it turns out workers' wages might be to blame.

[...]

BARTIROMO: Well, the issue really is, this is the implication of raising the minimum wage for certain companies. I mean, something's got to give. The money comes from somewhere. At some point, a company will say,  “OK, we have a higher expense rate because we are raising the minimum wage we've got to do something somewhere else.”  In this case, they are going to automation. They are changing certain jobs to computers.

[...]

AINSLEY EARHARDT: So it's really biting them in the tail. They were complaining, saying  “we want more money,”  and as a result, McDonald's saying,"Hey, we're going to lose some of you guys, and we're going to replace you with machines.

Fox & Friends offered no evidence to connect calls for a minimum wage increase and the profit loss. In fact, McDonald's CEO Don Thompson “owned up to some corporate image problems” as an explanation for the drop in profits, according to Reuters. The AP also detailed the fast-food company's image problems:

One of its biggest challenges in the U.S. is long-held perceptions around the freshness and quality of its ingredients. The chain has been fighting to boost sales as people gravitate toward foods they feel are more wholesome. As a result, people have been gravitating to places like Chipotle, which markets its ingredients as being of superior quality.

The Fox hosts also left out another important detail -- earlier this year, Thompson announced McDonald's would  “support legislation that moves forward” on a minimum wage increase:

McDonald's Chief Executive Don Thompson told students at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management that it could handle a theoretical bump in the minimum wage to, say, $10.10 an hour, the figure supported by President Barack Obama and others.

“McDonald's will be fine,” Thompson said in the May 12 discussion. “We'll manage through whatever the additional cost implications are.”