FOX News senior White House correspondent Jim Angle used a report on the Commerce Department's 0.1 percent upward revision in third quarter economic growth to advocate extending President Bush's tax cuts. After reporting that “economists say the latest report makes clear the economy is picking up speed,” Angle added that “many want to see an extension of the tax cuts” -- but quoted only a single conservative economist who supports extending the cuts. The report featured two sources who praised Bush's economic policy and one who praised the economy's general health; it did not present an opposing view.
On the December 22 edition of FOX News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Angle took for granted that tax cuts were the proper response to terrorism and an economic downturn. He quoted assistant treasury secretary Mark Warshawsky claiming that “you saw job growth pick up almost immediately in September 2003” following Bush's 2003 tax cuts. Angle initially noted that “the first round of cuts was passed in 2001, of course” -- apparently hinting that perhaps tax cuts don't deserve credit for stimulating job growth -- but proceeded to explain that the problem with the 2001 cuts was that they weren't big enough. He cited “outside economists” who believe the solution is to extend them:
WARSHAWSKY: Once the president's tax cuts were put in place in 2003 -- in June 2003, you saw job growth pick up almost immediately in September 2003. And since then we've created 2.4 million jobs.
ANGLE: The first round of cuts was passed in 2001, of course; but it wasn't enough to overcome a recession or terrorist attacks. But outside economists say they did help, and that's why many want to see an extension of the tax cuts.
Angle did not report that many other “outside economists” believe that it would be a mistake to extend the tax cuts. The only economist Angle quoted was Jeff Taylor, senior staff economist for the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, a trade association that lobbies for tax cuts and against federal regulation:
TAYLOR: They were very important, particularly to provide momentum and support for the economy. You know, and if they're renewed, that would help, too.
Finally, Angle echoed a Bush-Cheney '04 campaign ad in reviewing the “enormous obstacles” that the economy has overcome:
ANGLE: Looking back at the last four years, the economy, as well as the nation, has weathered some enormous obstacles: the ends of a stock market bubble, terrorist attacks that eliminated one million jobs, confidence-shaking corporate scandals and two wars.
The economists think in terms of headwinds the economy has to overcome. Over the last four years they've been at gale force from time to time, but now seem down to a breeze.
Here's the on-screen text from the Bush-Cheney '04 ad titled “Safer, Stronger.” The ad was not narrated:
January 2001: The challenge: An economy in recession. A stock market in decline. A dot-com boom ... gone bust. Then, a day of tragedy. A test for all Americans. Today, America is turning the corner. Rising to the challenge. Safer, stronger.