Fox News Claims the Economy is Great in Order to Bash President Obama

andrea fox news

Today on Fox News, the right’s new “it girl” Andrea Tantaros was describing all of the super scary things about this liberal government, in response to the fact that the stock market is “at an all time high”. In detailing the list of “scary” things, she blamed food stamp usage rising on Obama and claimed that there is no reason for it because “the recession ended four years ago” — which is right about when President Obama took office.

Yes, Fox is now having to claim that the economy is great in order to bash the President.

From the March 30 edition of Fox News’ Cavuto on Business, via Media Matters:

According to Andrea Tantaros, the poor are super comfy, but Obama wants them on food stamps to grow the government. She can prove this because the recession ended four years ago and unemployment is falling, yet people are still on food stamps!

Yes, unemployment is falling, but the recession is not over and won’t be over for a while yet. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that “the primary reason for the increase in the number of participants was the deep recession…and subsequent slow recovery; there were no significant legislative expansions of eligibility.” (Congressional Budget Office, “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” April 2012.)

A quick reality check the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that the recent growth in SNAP (aka; food stamps) is “temporary”:

The recent growth in SNAP spending is temporary. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts that SNAP spending will fall as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in coming years as the economy recovers and the Recovery Act provisions end. SNAP is expected to return to 1995 levels as a share of GDP by 2019. Over the long term, SNAP is not growing faster than the overall economy and thus is not contributing to the nation’s long-term fiscal problems.

Next in crazy town, Charles Payne claimed that the poor are just too “comfortable” being impoverished. No word on when this Fox panel is going to give living on food stamps a try for the sheer comfort of it all. (Payne is also the guy who predicted that the Dow would hit 16,000 in 2008 and said on Fox News in 2007 that the “worst was over”.)

The “food stamp President” is an old Republican goody they keep handy for when they run out of other slurs:

We last waded into this racist cesspool when Newt Gingrich insisted on calling President Obama the food stamp president. The fact is that 70% of all food stamp recipients are white. Many of them probably watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh. 2010 Census data revealed that 49% of food stamp recipients were white. Twenty six percent were black. A 2009 New York Times map revealed that the top ten counties in food stamp usage were all located in red states.

Right as one panelist gleefully announced that our economy is not improving, Fox News producers put this in the lower third: “Personal income up 1.1% in February.” Come on, Fox. You used to be so good at using the lower third to send tricky propaganda messages. What gives?

Ben Stein, who also claimed that the worries of 2007/2008 were overblown and said in 2007 that stocks would be a heck of a lot higher next year (oops), expressed his confusion as to how the war on hunger can exist while there is a war on obesity, so clearly there is no hunger because there is obesity.

Lost. These people are lost.

Things are so bad in crazy town that even Fox News panelists can’t get on the same page. The Fox panel couldn’t agree on the specifics of whether the economy is good or bad, but they did conclude that “President Obama-enomics doesn’t work”, so at least that talking point survived the blood bath.

For years, Republicans have been claiming that we are in a terrible recession because of Obama, even though economists were warning of economic retraction in 2007. During the actual beginning of the recession, Republicans vehemently denied the existence of the recession (2008: “The fundamentals of our economy are strong”), but since Obama took office, they’ve pretended that the recession began in 2009. Now they’re pretending it ended when he took office, which implies that it existed under Bush — but they denied this fact at the time. Dizzying.

Mixed messages do not an effective propaganda campaign make.

Sarah Jones

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