Pipe Dreams: Fox's Straight News Division Responds To Delay Of Keystone XL With Lies About Jobs

Fox's supposedly “straight news” division has used the decision by the State Department to delay consideration of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline to join its opinion division in grossly exaggerating the number of jobs the project might create.

The proposed pipeline project has led to massive protests by activist who fear the pipeline could eventually lead to climate change, oil spills, and groundwater contamination. (Of course Fox almost completely failed to cover these protests.) Before the decision, Fox personalities had claimed the pipeline would create somewhere between 50,000 and a million jobs.

Fox based their numbers on a flawed industry-funded study done by the Texas-based Perryman Group. But TransCanada itself said the pipeline would directly create around 13,000 “new jobs for American Workers.” TransCanada later admitted that the 13,000 figure did not mean actual jobs, but was a figure describing jobs for “one person, one year.” The Washington Post reported that, based on TransCanada's figures, the number of jobs created would be closer to 6,500 new jobs.

The TransCanada-funded study also said that 118,000 jobs would be created by the pipeline in a variety of other industries, including the tobacco and apparel industries and that the resulting changes in oil supplies could create 250,000 - 553,235 new jobs. However, an independent study found that the project's “job creation potential is relatively small, and could be completely outweighed by the project's potential to destroy jobs through rising fuel costs, spill damage and clean up operations, air pollution and increased GHG emissions.”

This did not stop Fox's “straight news” division from jumping all over the recent delay as an opportunity to push the same misleading jobs numbers. Fox News' America's Newsroom, Happening Now, and America Live all suggested the president's decision not to react would cost Americans 20,000 new jobs.

For instance, here's Happening Now co-anchor Jon Scott saying that President Obama has pushed Congress to pass his plan to create jobs, “but now, he's holding up a project that could put 20,000 people to work in this country right away”:

But Fox's opinion division was not done with the distortions either. Today on Fox & Friends, Fox Business correspondent Nicole Petallides said that the Keystone project would create “20,000 immediate jobs and possibly 500,000 other jobs.”