Fox finds new way to blame Obama for Bush-era policies

Stating that President Obama's policies have “clearly failed,” Fox Business stocks editor Elizabeth MacDonald falsely suggested that Obama has been in office for three years. This follows a pattern of Fox hosts and guests blaming President Obama for Bush-era policies such as TARP, the AIG bailout, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts, and the beginning of the recession.

Fox Business falsely suggests Obama has been in office for three years

Fox Business' MacDonald: “The president's policies have clearly failed. For three years, we've been living with these policies.” While guest-hosting Fox Business' Bulls & Bears, MacDonald suggested that Obama's policies have “clearly failed” because we've been living with them for three years and we are still “seeing job losses.” However, as guest Erica Payne, founder and president of The Agenda Project, pointed out, Obama has only been in office for about a year and a half.

From the August 9 edition of Fox Business' Bulls & Bears:

PAYNE: The fact of the matter is the real unemployment rate is about 20 percent, you know, depending on who you talk to. These numbers are incorrect.

MacDONALD: But Erica, look, these --

PAYNE: These numbers are incorrect. So there are five people applying for every one job that there is.

MacDONALD: I'm sorry. The president's policies have clearly failed. For three years, we've been living with these policies. They've clearly failed. The Reagan tax cuts are cheaper than the president's spending plan.

PAYNE: OK. We haven't --

MacDONALD: The Reagan tax cuts -- we had --

PAYNE: First of all --

MacDONALD: Hang on. The Reagan tax cuts -- we saw job growth up 6 percent. We're seeing economic growth of 3 percent. We're seeing job losses. So, are -- should we -- why are we going down the same road? Do you -- don't you think that they've failed so far?

PAYNE: OK, so first of all, I don't know where the three years is, because he's been in office for about 18 months, number one. Number two, when he went into office, there were 750,000 jobs lost the month that he went into office. OK, and then last month --

MacDONALD: All right, you're right to correct me on the three years, but when I say the three years --

PAYNE: -- and last month that we gained 71,000 jobs --

MacDONALD: All right. When I say -- you're right.

PAYNE: -- and let's be clear. Since 1999, during the entire tenure of George Bush's presidency -- and I looked this up three times, because when I first read it, I didn't believe it -- during the entire tenure of George Bush's presidency, guess how many net jobs were created? How many net private sector jobs were created --

MacDONALD: Well, what is your number do you think it is?

PAYNE: -- during the eight years of George Bush?

MacDONALD: What do you think it was?

PAYNE: Zero. Zero.

MacDONALD: I don't know where you get that stat, but let's stay on point. Let's not go -- let's not do the blame Bush --

PAYNE: Well, you're trying to say --

MacDONALD: Hang on, Erica. Let's not do the Bush thing again, all right? Let's stay in the here and now. And I hear what you're saying.


MacDONALD: What I meant was that three years of policy, because we started spending under Bush, and now we're spending ourselves into oblivion -- no jobs created.

Fox continually blames Obama for policies that preceded his tenure

Varney claimed Bush “fixed the financial panic” but "[t]he economy fell off a cliff on President Obama's watch." On the July 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox Business host Stuart Varney addressed Vice President Joe Biden's statement that “8 million jobs [were] lost in the Bush recession” by stating: “He says it's Bush's recession, harking back two years ago. I think that's inaccurate. President Bush fixed the financial panic. The economy fell off a cliff on President Obama's watch, and President Obama's policies have not fixed that ongoing recession.” In fact, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced on December 1, 2008, that based on “economy-wide measures of economic activity,” including domestic production and employment, the recession began in December 2007.

Fox repeatedly falsely blamed Obama for TARP and bailouts. Fox hosts and contributors repeatedly advanced the falsehood that Obama was responsible for TARP, the AIG bailout, and the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts. In fact, Bush proposed TARP and signed the TARP legislation. Furthermore, each of these bailouts all occurred while Bush was in office.

  • Bolling blamed Obama for bailouts initiated under Bush. Fox Business' Eric Bolling attributed TARP spending, the AIG bailout, and the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts to Obama when in fact spending for all of these programs was initiated under Bush.
  • Palin trashed the Obama WH over Bush administration-initiated bailouts. Fox News contributor Sarah Palin stated that a “fundamental difference” between “what's coming from the White House” and “a lot of conservatives” is the “belief that government is not the answer. The bailouts, the takeovers of the private sector -- that's not the answer.” She went on to laud “free enterprise” and say: “I don't think that is what we're seeing coming out of the White House. It's quite fundamental, the difference there.”
  • Fox Business' Smith claimed the Obama administration decided which banks would receive TARP funds. Reporting on certain banks that had repaid TARP funds, Fox Business' Sandra Smith falsely claimed “the government, the Obama administration, deemed these banks necessary to receive these funds.” In fact, the banks Smith mentioned reportedly obtained the funds under the Bush administration in December 2008.

Hannity referred to an “Obama recession” before Obama had even taken office. In November 2008, Hannity repeatedly blamed the recession on then-President-elect Obama, attributing the market decline to the public's anticipation of Obama's policies. On November 11, 2008, Hannity asked (accessed via Nexis), “Is this an Obama recession?” Hannity later explained: “He promises a trillion dollars in new spending. Promises to raise the capital gains tax. Promises to tax business further and are a lot of people looking at the marketplace saying, you know what? I'm getting out while the tax rates are this level not the higher rates. So, in other words, is he causing activity in the market to go down?” According to Nexis, Hannity also referred to the “Obama recession” on November 14 and 20, 2008, and February 10, 2009 (less than a month after Obama's inauguration)."

Fox repeatedly blamed Obama for deficit spending that occurred because of Bush policies. Fox News personalities including Bernie Goldberg, Karl Rove, Hannity, Brian Kilmeade, and Dick Morris all pushed the falsehood that Obama was responsible for a record-setting deficit of more than $1 trillion in Fiscal Year 2009. In fact, in January 2009, prior to Obama's inauguration, the Congressional Budget Office projected that, including spending authorized under the Bush administration for the TARP and government takeovers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the deficit would total $1.2 trillion in Fiscal Year 2009, which ran from October 1, 2008, to September 30, 2009.