Fox News' Bill Hemmer dismissed the historic magnitude of the 2007 economic recession, suggesting instead that the Obama administration is attempting to “placate the left” by pointing out the president inherited the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Gearing up for this week's State of the Union address, White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfieffer appeared on Fox News Sunday on January 26 where he reminded the host how Obama “inherited the worst economic situation since the Great Depression, a financial crisis.”
America's Newsroom host Bill Hemmer challenged that description of the recession on the January 27 program. Speaking with Karl Rove, Hemmer said of Pfeiffer's statement, “I heard that and I -- I don't know if that is what they're saying to placate the left or whether that's something they truly believe.”
But the fact is that the recession underway when Obama took office was the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
The economy inherited by Obama was shrinking at historic rates -- In the last three months of 2008, the economy contracted by 8.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the fastest rate of decline in 50 years.
The severity of this contraction coupled with the length of the decline made the recession inherited by Obama the “worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” as the Economic Policy Institute explained.
According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the recession brought “unprecedented” job losses, as long-term unemployment rose to historic highs and “the largest share of the labor force unemployed for more than 26 weeks rose higher than at any point in the past six decades.”
While the recession, beginning in 2007, officially ended in June of 2009, its devastating effects are long lasting. As of 2013 more than 4 million Americans have still been searching for work for longer than six months -- according to Mother Jones' analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, "[n]ot since the Great Depression has the United States experienced such massive and persistent long-term unemployment."
Throughout Obama's presidency, Fox News has made of habit of obscuring the magnitude of the economic crisis the president inherited.