Fox Obscures Key Details While Hyping Perry's Jobs Record

Fox hosts have recently hopped on the Rick Perry bandwagon, hyping the Texas governor as a potential GOP presidential candidate. Fox has specifically touted Perry's jobs record a key selling point for a potential Perry White House run.

For example, last week, Fox & Friends hyped the claim that “213,700 jobs [have been] created in two years” in Texas, with co-host Gretchen Carlson suggesting that “it's all about lowering taxes and regulations.” And this morning, Brian Kilmeade stated that Perry “was a Democrat for a while and, you know, on the positive side, he added 200,000 jobs in this past year, second to no one in this country.”


But Fox is leaving out some key details behind those jobs numbers.

First off, as Time's Massimo Calabresi has reported, Perry has established several controversial taxpayer-funded subsidies aimed at luring businesses from other states to Texas. As Calabresi noted, “Various investigations have shown that these funds have moved millions of dollars to Perry donors and to companies associated with individuals nominated by Perry to run the funds. At the same time, the companies subsidized by the funds have shown only modest success in creating jobs.” Even fellow Republicans, including GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, have been critical of these funds, as Calabresi noted:

The largest fund, the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF), was created in 2003 and has awarded some $412 million in subsidies to companies nominally to create jobs. A Dec. 2010 analysis by the Texas Comptroller found that $119 million of that money went to companies that didn't deliver on the jobs they promised. The governor's office only took back $21 million, often choosing instead to define down the job-creation requirements.

Fellow Republicans have been critical. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a GOP Senator from Texas, called for an independent audit of the TEF and said of the investigations into its performance, “Texans have been offered a disturbing glance into the activities of the Texas Enterprise Fund. For the first time, we have learned of taxpayer-funded contracts being canceled, changed to redefine 'success' and actually sending our money overseas to create jobs. This is unacceptable.”

The second major fund under Perry's control, the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) has also proven controversial since it was created in 2005. It has spent some $320 million on tax credits and other subsidies for high tech companies willing to move to Texas. An October 2010 investigation by the Dallas Morning News found that $16 million of that money was awarded to companies with investors or officers who are large campaign donors.

Aside from the controversy surrounding Perry's tax credit programs, it's also important to look at the kinds of jobs that are on the rise in Texas. As The American Independent noted on June 15, “While employment in Texas has been slightly more plentiful than in other states during the recession, the number of the lowest-paying jobs has also risen sharply in Texas.” The Independent went on to note: “From 2007 to 2010, the number of minimum wage workers in Texas rose from 221,000 to 550,000, an increase of nearly 150 percent.”

That's certainly not the rosy picture of Perry's jobs record that Fox News has painted.

It also might shock Fox viewers to know that, as Bloomberg has reported, "[t]he Massachusetts labor market deteriorated less than in Texas from 2008 to 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg":

The Massachusetts labor market deteriorated less than in Texas from 2008 to 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Massachusetts was the fourth most-friendly state for employment in the period, the data show. Texas, where Republican Governor Rick Perry has touted his state's title as Chief Executive magazine's best for business, was sixth.

Moreover, as the Austin American-Statesman reported on June 14, “jobs grew at about the same rate during Democrat Ann Richards' four years as governor” :

Perry often talks about the robust growth of jobs during his tenure. But jobs grew at about the same rate during Democrat Ann Richards' four years as governor. And they grew at a much faster rate during Republican George W. Bush's six years in the office than they have in Perry's 10. Even before the national recession hit in 2008, jobs grew at a slower rate in Texas under Perry than under Bush.

It seems likely that Fox will continue to hype Perry's jobs record as buzz builds around a Perry presidential run. Unfortunately, it seems just as likely that Fox will continue to hide the details behind Perry's record.