FOX News is lying to its viewers

Stephanie England is an English senior and Mustang Daily political columnist.

Stephanie England is an English senior and Mustang Daily political columnist.

Last week, there was one legitimate criticism of my column. Just one. I should have included lies and conservative commentary made by FOX News’ straight news anchors as well as lies made by their pundits. I thought I’d go ahead and correct that mistake this week, using facts I found on the Media Matters Web site.
We’ll start with the morning news program: “FOX & Friends.” On Oct. 22, this straight news program used a Republican National Committee (RNC) press release about the job losses in September, with the large heading “$787B=2 mil less jobs.” Underneath that heading read “Stimulus generates unemployment.”

Gretchen Carlson, an anchor on this so-called straight news program spoke about the RNC document comparing the Obama administration’s numbers with the job losses as if it were fact.

“This is a startling table, to actually look at it in its entirety and realize that that many states have not gained jobs,” she said. “The promise from the Obama administration from the first stimulus plan was that 3.5 million jobs would be created. And, in fact, the United States has lost 2.7 million since the stimulus plan.”

According to Media Matters, the RNC press release states “while President Obama claimed the result of his stimulus bill would be the creation of 3.5 million jobs, the Nation has already lost a total of 2.7 million — a difference of 6.2 million jobs.”

However, the January administration report referenced by the RNC press release states that “Because it takes time to carry out new spending programs authorized by legislation, we expect the jobs created by spending on infrastructure, education, health, and energy to be concentrated in 2010 or 2011.”

So the RNC press release made a negative declaration about the stimulus package that simply can’t be substantiated by their source document. And FOX News’ straight news program, “FOX & Friends,” used the information without fact checking it.

As a straight news organization, there’s also a significant ethical violation in the fact that they’re using an RNC document — which is bound to be biased — as a source for facts, instead of questioning the RNC about the document as a straight news program normally would.

Another issue discussed by both Glenn Beck and Chris Wallace recently is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tom Donahue’s plans to release ads reminding the American public about how America was built through free-market capitalism.

According to Media Matters, Glenn Beck said that “Obama and his cronies don’t like the free-market system.” Beck also added that the Obama administration is attacking the Chamber of Commerce, which he repeatedly said “represents 3 million businesses.”

Straight news anchor Chris Wallace repeated Beck’s claim days later saying that the White House is attacking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and also that the Chamber of Commerce represents 3 million businesses.

That statistic is false, according to Mother Jones’ Josh Hartkinson. He wrote in his article, “The Chamber’s Numbers Game,” that the Chamber has “probably closer to 200,000” dues-paying members. They are loosely affiliated with around 3 million businesses, but they do not represent 3 million businesses.

And the huge negative impact of FOX misconstruing facts can be seen clearly when you look at the opinions of their viewers. According to an August NBC poll, 75 percent of FOX News watchers believed that the public option would lead to the government dictating care for the elderly, even though it has been clearly stated that the public option will not lead to these so-called death panels. Only 45 percent of all people polled believed that public option will lead to death panels.

That 30 percent difference is why I believe that FOX should be discredited as a news organization. Facts and truth are too important for our representative democracy for us to allow this issue to fizzle out of public consciousness.

Stephanie England is an English senior and Mustang Daily political columnist.

  • erh

    1. Though correlation does not infer causation, news agencies are in their place to report correlations. And in this case the correlation between the initiation of the stimulus plans and the loss of jobs seems to infer that the plan has not been effective thus far.

    2. What was the point of mentioning the part of the quote in which Glenn Beck said, \"Obama and his cronies don\’t like the free-market system.\" Does higher government regulation (which Obama is for) coincide with the principles of free market capitalism? No.

    3. And NBC Poll on FOX news viewers, seems reasonable.

    Great article keep up the great up the great work. You seem to know what America is all about!

    • Nick delMas

      #1. No, Stephanie points out in her article that the stimulus plan was NOT SUPPOSED to have a large effect on the economy yet according to the very document that was referenced by the RNC document. You are holding it to a non-existent standard.

      #2. The point was Glenn Beck said something politically charged (as usual and with every right to do so) and then Fox News (the fair and balanced news program part) parroted this stance without any thought.

      #3. Glad you agree

  • Nick delMas

    This is the article I wanted to read last week. Thank you for clearing things up.

  • John Bailey

    You use the liberal website Media Matters to defend your liberal argument. Try using an unbiased source when you try and support your weak argument again next week. If though the best defense you can find is the fact that the stimulus bill has not created new jobs then this is a pathetic argument. The stimulus bill has been a bust. Americans have lost more jobs since it’s incorporation and only a small fraction of jobs have been created. Obama himself said that these jobs would be created by 2010 and if my math is correct he has only little more than 2 months to prove Fox News wrong.

    • erh

      It is certainly obvious that the argument here is weak, and will continue to be because most of the views submitted here by liberals are subjective, non-substantial, and especially non-factual.

      I would have to say the way the author presents the argument is very hypocritical as it is just a composite of liberal views that are paraphrased and cherry picked from other sources to create some type of content to submit to MustangDaily.

  • William

    Using an NBC poll on FOX? Media Matters? Weren’t you just lambasting FOX for using bias sources? Way to fail at getting your point across.

    And what of CNN and MSNBC reporting those racists statements supposedly made by Rush Limbaugh as fact when they were discredited as being false (There citation was a Pittsburgh Steeler and Jack Huberman who used WIKIPEDIA as a source)? Should they be discredited as news too?

  • Stephanie England

    John Bailey:

    Media Matters also criticizes MSNBC\’s Chris Matthews (http://mediamatters.org/search/tag/chris_matthews), ABC\’s George Stephanopolous (http://mediamatters.org/research/200908020011), and Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric (http://mediamatters.org/research/200905210002), among others. They attack every news organization when they make false assertions. So it’s not a “liberal website.” Yes, they attack FOX News, but that does not mean they’re liberal. It means they’re on top of things. Just because a group attacks a conservative organization does not mean that the group is liberal.

  • Jason

    Media Matters has proven Glen Beck a liar with his accusations of Democrats. Media Matters has proven Bill O’Reily a liar with his accusations of Democrats. In fact it has proven all Fox hot shots liars with their accusations of Democrats. But Republicans prove Maddow or Olbermann liars regarding their accustations of Republicans. I double dog dare you. We’ll go toe to toe and see who can point out the most lies without being debunked.

    • Nick delMas

      This isn’t about Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reily the ‘commentators’. It’s also not about one specific example. The following link provides 10 of the most egregious examples of Fox News errors (the news program not the commentators) and has links to many more. Yes, counter examples do exist, but I don’t think they are either as plentiful or as harmful as the ones made by Fox, especially recently. It is becoming increasingly questionable what Fox’s motives are and the result is articles like this.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/20/the-ten-most-egregious-fo_n_327140.html

      • John Bailey

        The Huffington Post? Really? You are complaining about Fox News being biased and you cite the Huffington Post as your source of information. Again I repeat myself, “Liberals are hypocrytical babies”.

      • Rob

        Since Biased sources are ok here are 10 lies that Olby has spouted. (READ THE WHOLE THING)

        http://www.olbermannwatch.com/archives/2007/12/keith_olbermann_71.php

  • Luke Durkin

    Doesn’t this woman have anything better to write about, like actual politics?!? this is here second article about this. There is so much she could be talking about. And if you wanted to be serious and talk about this issue you should discuss The Obama administrations handling/creation of this topic and whether or not this is constitutional under the first amendment or you could compare the handling of it to communism, is it the same.

    Why dont you try and Defend Obama, how is this not another step towards socialism, or how is this not an idicator that obama is looking to make us a socialist nation, or this that too hard a fight, you can’t win that. Or maybe you want us to be a socialist nation, is that it? You’re a commy

    • Nick delMas

      This IS politics as you yourself point out later in your own post the Obama admin has made this a political topic. There is no free speech issue here. None.

      In response to your claims of this moving America toward Communism (really?), Fox News can be seen in the same light as moving us toward Fascism.

      • dumb

        dumb, dumb dummy dumb.

      • Luke Durkin

        Now see, here is where you lose, you dont even know what the first amendment is, and high school freshmen could tell you what it says.

        Amendment I

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

        right after freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the first amend is not just free speech, like you clearly believe.

        and for you lack of knowledge of the bill of rights, you fail.

        my source is archive.gov
        you probably dont know this either, but the national archives hold the decrelation of indep, constitution, bill of rights and thousands of other pieces of american history, and american government

  • Kevin Cumblidge

    “Last week, there was one legitimate criticism of my column.\"

    Just because you cannot come up with a rational response, doesn\’t make the criticism illegitimate. Ending debate by declaring that there is no “legitimate\" arguments–is that what their teaching at Poly these days?

    • Kevin Cumblidge

      Make that “is that what they’re teaching at Poly these days?” I’m rightfully chastised.

    • Nick delMas

      If your response is not rational I really don’t see how it can be legitimate because it cannot be supported by reason. So your legitimate argument is unreasonable? Can I hear it?

      • William

        Do you like to troll, Nick?

  • eb

    I think many conservatives consider any source that doesn’t inherently support a conservative agenda to be “liberally biased” – and they include all of mainstream media (network news, NY Times, LA Times, etc.). The relevant question ought to be whether a news organization is getting its facts straight or not, and I think that’s Stephanie’s real point. Even the Wall St. Journal (“Not exactly a bastion of anti-capitalist sentiment,” as Lowell Bergman says in “The Insider”) stated that the president was dead right in his assessment of Fox News. The WS Journal is biased to the right, but they get their facts straight. MSNBC is biased to the left, but they get their facts straight. Fox News? Well, I play this fun little game with them: Every so often, I tune in randomly just to see how long it takes for something vitriolic to be said about the president. Most of the time, I don’t have to wait five seconds. The last two times? 1) There was a picture of President Obama up on the screen next to a picture of Mao and the gist of the commentary was that the two leaders share the exact same philosophy. 2) Sean Hannity practically screaming, “The president wants to tear down everything America stands for!!!” Uhhh… okay, Sean – I’m sure that’s it. Look: there’s a difference between honest, factual bias, and propaganda. Fox News is propaganda. Period.

  • eb

    Here’s the link to the WSJ column to which I referred. It’s titled, “Obama is right about Fox News, but the criticism was clumsy”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703574604574499671746743510.html

    • Nick delMas

      I encourage people to actually read this WSJ article before replying.

  • William

    MSNBC isn\’t propaganda? Have you actually watch the network? It is filled with hateful smears against the right.

    Like when they were talking about the Open carry people at the tea parties and claimed they were hateful racists. Then showed a video of the man carrying the AR 15 but EDITED OUT the fact that the man who was carrying was BLACK. Just because they dislike open carry advocates and gun owners.
    http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-19823-Progressive-Examiner~y2009m8d20-MSNBC-lies-edits-out-black-gun-owner-says-white-people-showing-up-with-guns-threaten-Obama

  • JL

    Nice try Ms. England but I have to correct you on several points. I have to recommend that you watch Fox News from time to time if you’re going to slam the organization. If not, then how can you believe a (in your words) “biased” left wing website such as media matters. your asking us not to believe the RNC document because it is “bound to be biased.” The truth is that the stimulus bill was touted by Democrats as a (paraphrasing) “Bill that must be passed as soon as possible to give the country immediate relief.” I heard it straight from them (Obama, Pelosi, Reid) their words, not the words of Glen Beck or Chris Wallace (Neither one of whom are news anchors by the way). That is what they used to sell the plan. I do watch Fox News and Fox and Friends is not a straight news program. It’s a morning entertainment show similar to the Today show, nothing more. Most of their news (non commentary) programming is during the daytime. Please get your facts straight.

  • JE

    It would be nice if we were simply able to access straight news, free from the bias and arrogance continually exhibited by contemporary news agencies like CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, et. al.

    The recent focus on Fox News, however, seems overly left-handed and frankly hypocritical. Where Fox clearly leans right, there are many others that lean equally to the left. Neither reports the “truth” entirely, as each has an agenda that must be met. Sad.

    Thus, a more appropriate article or op-ed who proclaim that contemporary news media has failed in its role to provide news and serve the public as a watch dog over governmental affairs.

  • Jim

    Its usually the other way around, but self righteous are blind

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