Economists, Reporters Slam Fox's Neil Cavuto For Implying The Financial Crisis Happened On Obama's Watch

Economists and veteran journalists slammed Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network anchor and senior vice president Neil Cavuto for framing a question in the January 14 Republican presidential debate in a way that implied President Obama was to blame for the financial crisis he inherited from the Bush administration. American financial markets peaked on October 9-10, 2007 before steadily declining as the economy slipped into recession, more than 16 months before President Obama's inauguration.

Fox Debate Moderator Shifts Blame For Financial Crisis Onto President Obama

Fox's Neil Cavuto Suggests Obama, Not Bush, Responsible For 2008 Financial Crisis. During the January 14 Fox Business Republican Presidential Debate, co-moderator Neil Cavuto asked Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) how he would handle recent stock market fluctuations should he become president. Cavuto framed his question by wondering what needs to happen if American stock market declines continue to escalate “like it did back when Barack Obama first assumed the presidency,” failing to mention that the Obama administration actually inherited a recession and financial crisis from President George W. Bush:

NEIL CAVUTO (MODERATOR): Gov. Kasich, we are not even two weeks into this stock-trading year but think about it: Investors have already lost $1.6 trillion in market value. That makes it the worst start to a new year ever. Many worry that things could get even worse, and that banks and financial stocks are particularly vulnerable. And, if this escalates like it did back when Barack Obama first assumed the presidency, what actions would you take, if the same thing happens all over again just as in this example you are taking over the presidency? [Fox Business, Republican Presidential Debate, 1/14/16]

Economists, Journalists Slam Fox For Ignoring Stock Market Resurgence Under President Obama

Talking Points Memo: Cavuto “Has A Curious Way Of Glossing Over” The Facts. On January 14, Talking Points Memo reporter Tierney Sneed posted a rebuttal to Cavuto's framing of the question within minutes. Sneed demonstrated that Cavuto is “glossing over the fact that the 2008 financial crisis came under President George W. Bush,” and pointed out that University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfer had taken to Twitter to show “the stock market has more than doubled since President Obama came into office”:


The Washington Post: “A Doctorate In Recent History Isn't Necessary” To See Cavuto's Bias. On January 14, The Washington Post's Erik Wemple reported that the “tilt and bias” in Cavuto's question was obvious, noting that “the roots of the financial crisis extend back years before 'Barack Obama first assumed the presidency'”:

A doctorate in recent history isn't necessary to discern the tilt and bias in this question from Fox Business host Neil Cavuto in tonight's Republican presidential debate


Take it from USA Today or from CNBC or from The Economist or from your own memory: The roots of the financial crisis extend back years before “Barack Obama first assumed the presidency.” In a debate question before a national audience, the proper way to contextualize President Obama and the financial crisis is to say that he inherited it. [The Washington Post, 1/14/16]

The New Republic: Cavuto Suggested That Obama “Was Responsible For Exacerbating” The Financial Crisis. On January 14, The New Republic's Suzy Khimm argued that “Cavuto took out the knives” during the Fox Business debate by “suggesting that another financial crisis could be just around the corner”:

The Fox Business Network moderators started out Tuesday's Republican debate by asking Ted Cruz to respond to President Obama's sunny assessment of the economy. The senator from Texas was more than happy to bring on the doom and gloom, pointing to the stagnant wages and low labor force participation during his presidency. But then Cavuto took out the knives himself, suggesting that another financial crisis could be just around the corner--and that Obama himself was responsible for exacerbating it. [The New Republic, 1/14/16]

Paul Krugman: Cavuto's Selective Memory “Part Of A Larger Pattern” Of Misinformation. In a January 15 blog post for The New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman informed readers that Cavuto “seemed to imply that the financial crisis happened on Obama's watch without saying anything explicitly false,” but this kind of “selective reporting” is “part of a larger pattern” among right-wing outlets. Krugman argued that the financial crisis distortion fits the same pattern right-wing media used against Obamacare when “every suggestion of bad news gets highlighted... but when it turns out that the news wasn't really that bad, these sources just move on”:

Right-Wing Media's Selective Memory

It would be interesting to poll Republicans about what happened to the stock market under Obama; my bet is that many, perhaps a majority, believe that it went down, thanks to this technique of only reporting the bad news. [The New York Times, The Conscience of a Liberal, 1/15/16]