After years of downplaying the magnitude of the economic crisis President Obama inherited, Fox News is amplifying dishonest criticism that Obama forgot the recession, putting a sinister spin on recent comments the president made warning that “people forget the magnitude” of the financial crisis and recession and his acknowledgement that "[s]ometimes, I forget."
This criticism serves to deflect attention from Obama's actual economic record -- which includes rescuing the auto industry, pushing for a recovery plan that economists say added millions of jobs, and overseeing an economy that has added private sector jobs every month for more than 2 years.
The manufactured outrage is in response to a speech in Seattle during which Obama said:
OBAMA: It was a house of cards, and it collapsed in the most destructive worst crisis that we've seen since the Great Depression. And sometimes, people forget the magnitude of it, you know? And you saw some of that I think in the video that was shown. Sometimes, I forget.
In the last six months of 2008, while we were campaigning, nearly 3 million of our neighbors lost their jobs. Eight hundred thousand lost their jobs in the month that I took office. And it was tough. But the American people proved they were tougher.
To discuss those comments, Fox News turned to Karl Rove, a key Bush adviser with more than a passing interest in reassigning blame for the historic economic crisis brought about during the Bush administration.
Rove proceeded to accuse Obama of forgetting about the recession.
As Greg Sargent pointed out, what Obama actually said was “that sometimes he forgets about the magnitude of the crisis that hit before he took office and continued into the early months of his term.”
The magnitude of that crisis was not fully understood at the time Obama took office. At that time, the Commerce Department estimated that the economy contracted by 3.8 percent. It was not until August 2011 that that figure was revised to show that the economy inherited by Obama was actually shrinking much more rapidly -- by a historic 8.9 percent.
Few entities have done more to obscure the magnitude of the economic crisis Obama inherited than Fox News. These efforts are perfectly captured by comments Fox host Gretchen Carlson made in June 2011 suggesting that it was somehow inaccurate for Obama to claim he inherited a recession:
CARLSON: How long can you continue to say that the hard hit recession of 2007 moving into 2008 is something that they inherited?
The Fox News campaign against the Obama administration is based on the false premise that the economy is not better today than it was four years ago. But the economy is objectively and quantifiably better than it was four years ago.
The only way Fox can wage its campaign against Obama is by distorting the record and make sure voters forget where we were four years ago.