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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters for America.

Today marked the release of the final monthly jobs report during President Obama’s time in office, and Fox News wasted no time in spinning the document, which showed consistent job gains, new workforce entries, and sizable year-to-year wage increases, by claiming that it’s “not a great picture of the employment situation.” The network has exploited the monthly jobs report to attack the president since he took office in January 2009, but its campaign of misinformation will likely come to a screeching halt next month.

On the first Friday of every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases its monthly employment situation summary detailing key indicators of the national labor market from the previous month. The report for December 2016 showed another month of consistent performance from the American economy, with 156,000 new jobs created, a 2.9 percent increase in hourly wages over the previous year, and the unemployment rate remaining “little changed” at 4.7 percent. The December jobs figure came in below some economic forecasts, but the miss was offset by major upward revisions to jobs estimates in October and November. Meanwhile, the slight 0.1-point increase in the unemployment rate was driven mostly by an influx of job seekers entering the labor market last month. According to The Wall Street Journal, December marked the 75th consecutive month of job growth — the longest streak on record.

On CNN’s New Day, chief business correspondent Christine Romans outlined the details of what she called “a solid finish to the year.” Romans said the economy created roughly 2.2 million jobs in 2016 and stressed that “altogether for the Obama presidency, it’s a net 11 million new jobs” even though he inherited the Great Recession and took office in a year when “5 million jobs just disappeared”:

Investment analyst and Bloomberg View columnist Conor Sen argued that the December report “is about as strong of a jobs print as we can get at this point in the cycle.” University of Michigan economist and New York Times columnist Justin Wolfers compared the economy to “the little engine that could,” arguing that after accounting for prevailing economic trends, the December report was “good news.” New York Times senior economic correspondent Neil Irwin noted that the 2.9 percent average hourly wage increase “is the highest of this expansion,” concluding, “Boom.” Economist Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute wrote in a January 6 blog post, “All told, it’s clear that the next president is inheriting an economy much stronger than it was at the start of the previous administration,” a sentiment echoed by MSNBC’s Steve Benen, who said the report stands as yet more evidence that “the president is handing off a healthy economy to his successor (who spent 2016 telling voters the economy is terrible).”

The generally positive outlook on the economy portrayed by these journalists, economists, and other experts was once again absent at Fox News, which painted the report as another example of the president’s failing policies.

Fox Business host Stuart Varney slammed the report all morning on Varney & Co., and he invited several guests to claim that the report was proof of a sputtering and “sick” economy. Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade lamented the report as “not a great picture of the employment situation in the country,” ignoring all its positive indicators, while guest and Trump apologist Jeanine Pirro slammed the Obama administration for its supposed failure to advance the economic interests of African-Americans. (Many observers had noted that the December report actually showed the unemployment rate for African-Americans falling to its lowest point since August 2007.) From the January 6 edition of Fox & Friends:

4 Responses to Fox News Retools Misleading Jobs Report Spin One Last Time

  1. Fox “Business” shifted gears so radically on 1/20/09 that I thought they were mocking themselves.

    Come 1/20/17 you can expect the exact change in the opposite direction. You will be amazed how great the economy gets in only a day or so. Watch as the terms “deficit” or “debt” get removed from the Fox lexicon.

    Fox is nothing more than the propaganda arm of the Republican Party. Anyone expecting real news is going to be disappointed.

  2. I’m not sure which is worse:
    Doocy and Kilmeade who are literally too stupid to understand that what they are fed to talk about are lies.
    or
    Varney, Pirro and O’Reilly who know exactly what they are doing, and lie deliberately for the money and influence it gives them at Fox.

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  4. It will be interesting to see how Fox reports massive job gains under Trump’s leadership [sic] as more and more American jobs get offshored to low-wage countries. How will people who voted for Trump, expecting to suddenly get their low-skilled jobs back, reconcile their continued unemployment with the glowing numbers (millions of new jobs in the weeks following Jan. 20) reported by Fox News. Oh, and forget about ever again hearing about the labor participation rate, the figure that Republicans have been using for eight years to question the decreasing unemployment rate and criticize President Obama’s success in job creation. And we won’t hear anything about the massive increase in government jobs under Trump after eight years of downsizing federal government jobs by the Obama administration. And the defecit and national debt? If we hear anything about it at all (maybe when it hits 30 trillion in a couple of years), Trump and the GOP will be blaming it all on President Obama and, somehow, Hillary Clinton.

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