Fox News' reporting on a July Ernst & Young report critical of President Obama's tax policies repeatedly referred to the organization as “non-partisan,” even though the study was sponsored by industry groups opposed to Obama's policies - a fact that was not mentioned during Fox's reporting.
The Ernst & Young report, which was highlighted by Republican House Speaker John Boehner, claimed several policies that would result in higher marginal taxes paid by high-income earners would harm the economy. During his Special Report segment on the study, Fox's chief national correspondent Jim Angle touted Ernst & Young as an “independent research organization” and “a non-partisan group.”
Later during the program, host Bret Baier followed suit, describing the organization that prepared the report as an “independent research organization” that is “non-partisan.”
But what Angle and Baier never told their viewers is that the report was "[p]repared on behalf" of partisan, conservative-leaning industry organizations that have opposed Obama administration policies, including the Independent Community Bankers of America, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the United States Chamber of Commerce.
A look at the history of the study's sponsors shows just how partisan they are.
The National Federal of Independent Business (NFIB), which received millions in funding from Karl Rove-affiliated Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, was a lead plaintiff suing to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Salon.com's Alex Seitz-Weld reported that the NFIB spent at least $2.9 million in 2010 alone working to overturn the act.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was deemed a “very well-financed arm of the [Republican] party” by The New York Times. Noting that the group sponsors more political advertising than another other group, the Times went on to say of the Chamber's “highly partisan loyalties” :
It has always claimed that it is not a Republican or Democratic group, but simply one that supports the interests of American business. But the $33 million it spent in the 2010 elections on issue ads was almost entirely in support of Republicans and against Democrats, as will be the estimated $50 million it may spend this year.
According to OpenSecrets.org, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the top spender on lobbying in America, having spent more than $850 million on lobbying since 1998. The organization receives donations from the country's largest corporations, like Dow Chemical and Goldman Sachs, to aid their lobbying efforts against stricter regulations. Like the NFIB, the Chamber opposes the Affordable Care Act and favors repeal of several of the law's provisions. The Chamber announced in May it would launch an ad blitz against those congressmen who voted in favor of the act.
The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), an industry trade group, has been actively lobbying against banking regulations such as the Dodd-Frank law. In fact, the ICBA spent roughly $1.2 million in the first quarter of 2011 lobbying against such regulations. In the 2012 election cycle, the group's PAC donated nearly twice as much money to Republicans as it did to Democrats to date.
Not only are the sponsors of the Ernst & Young report highly partisan, but according to the National Economic Council's Jason Furman, the study is flawed and makes assumptions at odds with the president's policy proposals.