Fox News Gets Its Downgrade

Fox News Gets Its Downgrade


During debate over raising the debt ceiling, Fox News personalities regularly downplayed the consequences of -- and even advocated for -- a U.S. default on some of its debt and a downgrade of the creditworthiness of the country's debt. With Standard and Poor's downgrade of U.S. debt from AAA to AA+, Fox News got what it was asking for.

"I Say Let Them Default": Fox Encouraged Default, Downgrade

Bolling: "I Say Let Them Default." As a guest co-host on Fox & Friends, Eric Bolling told Fox Business host Stuart Varney, "I say let them default. ... What's going to happen?" Varney replied, "Armageddon is going to happen." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/13/11, via Media Matters]

Cavuto: U.S. Among Countries That "At Face Value Don't Deserve" AAA Rating. Fox News host and senior vice president of business news Neil Cavuto listed the United States as among several countries that "at face value don't deserve" a AAA credit rating, adding that a downgrade is "feared and sort of like the great financial Godot people have been waiting for ... but it's gonna come." Cavuto also said: "I think the better part of valor is actually go ahead and downgrade. We don't deserve a AAA rating." [Fox News, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 4/18/11, via Media Matters]

Cavuto: "I Would Welcome A Downgrade. ... I Think It Would Be The Pain From Which We Have A Gain." On Your World, Cavuto said: "I would welcome a downgrade, I really would. I think it would be the pain from which we have a gain." [Fox News, Your World, 7/27/11, via Media Matters]

Fox's Napolitano Argues U.S. Doesn't "Deserve" Top Rating Because "We Don't Pay Our Debts From Our Wealth, We Borrow Money." On his Fox Business show, Andrew Napolitano asked a guest: "Don't we deserve ... a bond rating lesser than AAA? I mean, we don't pay our money back from our wealth, we don't pay our debts from our wealth, we borrow money in order to pay our debts. How could any bond raters give us a good bond rating when that's been the habit and practice since World War II?" [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 7/27/11, via Media Matters]

Varney "Absolutely" Agrees With Napolitano That U.S. Doesn't Deserve AAA Rating. When Napolitano asked Varney if they could agree that "the government of the United States of America does not deserve and ought not to enjoy a AAA rating and shall lose it shortly," Varney responded, "Absolutely. ... We have spent ourselves into an extraordinary deficit situation. We do not deserve a AAA reputation." [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 7/29/11, via Media Matters]

Fox Dismissed Default Worries, Complained Of "Fearmongering" Over Consequences

Hannity: "I Would Not Vote To Raise The Debt Ceiling." During a panel discussion on the April 12 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity said, "If I was in Congress, I would not vote to raise the debt ceiling." [Fox News, Hannity, 4/12/11, accessed via Nexis]

Hannity: "I Just Don't Have The Great Fear" That Potential Default "Is Going To Be A Calamity." Hannity said, "You know, is it worse that we default now and get our budget balanced or that America keeps continually taking on trillion in debts? It's a very dangerous scenario, as evidenced by the S&P this week. And I just don't have the great fear that others do that this is going to be a calamity." [Fox News, Hannity, 4/21/11, via Media Matters]

MacCallum: If U.S. Doesn't Raise Debt Ceiling, "Our Creditors Will Look Upon That Favorably." Anchor Martha MacCallum said during a discussion of the debt ceiling crisis, "I think that the more people learn about this issue, the more they're on the side of not raising the debt ceiling," adding: "My gut feeling and my, you know, background in studying the markets tell me that if we refuse to raise the debt ceiling, our creditors will look upon that favorably." [Fox News, America Live, 5/13/11, via Media Matters]

Napolitano Promotes Efforts To Dismiss Concerns About Default As "Bogus ... Fearmongering." Napolitano portrayed claims by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner "that if we don't raise the debt ceiling, we will default on our debt and that will crush the economy" as "bogus, it's fearmongering, and it's not true." [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 5/23/11, via Media Matters]

Krauthammer: Default Concerns Are "A Classic Example Of Democratic Scare Tactics." On Special Report, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said that former President Clinton was "absolutely right" when he said if the U.S. "defaulted on the debt once for a few days, it might not be calamitous," adding that warnings about the dangers of default was "a classic example of Democratic scare tactics." [Fox News, Special Report, 5/27/11, via Media Matters]

Fox's Kristol Dismisses Default Concerns As "Partly Phony." On Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, Fox News contributor Bill Kristol claimed that Republican negotiators will "get in a room with the president, you get bludgeoned by the Treasury secretary with partly phony threats about how we're about to default and everything, and then you cut a deal." [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 6/19/11, via Media Matters]

Dobbs: Debt Limit Deadline Is "Pure Fiction." Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs downplayed the looming default crisis, calling the August 2 deadline for raising the debt limit a "false date" and "pure fiction." [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 7/11/11, via Media Matters]

Carlson: "Some Republicans" Are Asking Whether Debt Ceiling Deadline Is A "Democratic Ploy." On the July 12 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed that "some Republicans are saying that August 2 deadline, as I alluded to at the top of the show -- is that a Democratic ploy, or is that a hard and fast date now? Remember, back in April, that was the first deadline date, and everyone kind of pooh-poohed it, and before you knew it, in the middle of that horrible earthquake-tsunami in Japan, the Treasury secretary moved it." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/12/11, via Media Matters]

After Doing "A Little Math," Fox's Jarrett Dismisses Default Concern As "Scaremongering." On the July 12 edition of Happening Now, anchor Gregg Jarrett said he "did a little math," from which he determined that "there's plenty of money to make the debt payments if the ceiling is not raised." Jarrett then asked his guest, "So, is all of this just scaremongering about a default?" [Fox News, Happening Now, 7/12/11, via Media Matters]

Fox Contributor Moore Downplays Default Concerns. Responding to a question about whether investors will be "spooked" by downgrade warnings, Fox News contributor Stephen Moore said: "Even as Moody's and S&P have said they're going to downgrade the debt, if that was going to happen, Bill [Hemmer], and investors were worried about that, you'd expect for the interest rate on those bonds to go up, but in the last few weeks, they've actually gone down." Moore added that "the only reason we would ever default on the debt is if Tim Geithner allowed that to happen." [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 7/18/11, via Media Matters]

Doocy Claims White House Is Trying To "Gin ... Up" Default Crisis "As If It's The End Of The World." Commenting on a poll saying that some respondents said it was "not essential" to meet the August 2 deadline, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy said that the White House is "trying to gin ... up" the debt ceiling crisis "as if it's the end of the world, we'll go off the cliff Thelma & Louise style." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/19/11, via Media Matters]

Bozell Downplays Reagan's Warning Against Risking Default. Appearing on Fox & Friends, Media Research Center president Brent Bozell dismissed President Reagan's 1987 warning that Congress should avoid using the debt ceiling for "brinkmanship" that would threaten default and harm the economy by calling Democrats' promotion of the remarks as "despicable" and "typical of the far left today, of the Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi machine." Bozell pointed instead to comments Reagan made in the same speech opposing tax increases. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/22/11, via Media Matters]

Gasparino: It's "An Outrageous ... Overstatement" To Say "We Could Default On Our Debt If We Don't Raise The Debt Ceiling." Fox Business senior correspondent Charlie Gasparino said it was "really irresponsible" for Obama to use "the 'default' word" in saying that "we could default on our debt if we don't raise the debt ceiling," calling it "an outrageous sort of overstatement" and claiming Obama's words "could spook the market." [Fox News, Budget Brawl: Taking It To The Limit, 7/23/11, via Media Matters]

Cavuto Downplays Concern Over Default As "Demagoguing." Neil Cavuto complained about the "demagoguing this whole issue of the debt limit and the horrendous things that happen in the event we don't increase it." [Fox News, Budget Brawl: Taking It To The Limit, 7/23/11, via Media Matters]

Bolling Dismisses Consequences Of Government's Inability To Pay All Its Bills In Event Of Default. After noting that U.S. has adequate revenue to pay interest on the federal debt, Bolling said, "That downgrade and default thing that they keep throwing out there and scaring the bejeezus out of people, it won't matter because Moody's and S&P, they downgrade based on whether or not the country, the government is paying the debt. They don't care if they're paying the Postal Service or not; they care about the debt." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/28/11, via Media Matters]

Moore Downplays Shutting Down Part Of The Government If Budget Deal Not Reached. Stephen Moore said that lack of a deal on the debt ceiling "might mean that the Department of Education and the Department of Energy and the Department of Labor might have to shut down for a while. I don't think most Americans would think that would be a great tragedy." [Fox News, Happening Now, 7/29/11, via Media Matters]

Posted In
Economy, Budget
Fox News Channel, Fox Business
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