"America's Newsroom" on the Fox News Channel (9AM daily) is supposed to be that network's first non-biased straight forward news program of the day. "America's Newsroom" is one of the few programs of Fox News' programming that allegedly sticks to the "We report, you decide" motto.
This morning, during the very first line spoken in "America's Newsroom," host Martha MacCallum decided for her viewers that President Obama had made set a "bold benchmark for the nation's economy" during his interview on 60 minutes.
MacCallum: Setting a bold benchmark for the nation's economy. President Obama saying unemployment could be around 8% by the time Americans cast their votes in the fall. Here he is on 60 minutes, on CBS check this out.(soundbite from 60 mins)Kroft: Do you see some hope? Do you think that things are gonna get better? Well, do you think that you might have the unemployment rate down to eight percent by the time the election rolls around?Obama: I think it's possible. But, you know, I'm not in the job of prognosticating on the economy. I'm in the job of putting in place the tools that allow the economy to thrive and Americans to succeed. And, you know, keep in mind that when I came into office eight million jobs were gone. And things were cratering. Six months later, the economy was growing again.(back to Fox Newsroom)MacCallum: Hm. Alright, but will it grow enough is the big question, and will the President's policy's work?
There are several things wrong with the way "straight news" anchor MacCallum portrays what the President said. Her "bold benchmark" is the president telling Steve Kroft that the unemployment rate might dip to 8% by next November.
There is absolutely nothing bold about the President's remarks. He does anything but boldly state that there will be 8% unemployment a year from now. She calls the president set a "bold benchmark" as if he were Joe Namath predicting a win over the Colts in 1969. "Will you beat the Colts in Super Bowl 3?" "It's possible, but I'm no good at predicting these things".
The benchmark itself is not even that significant. Think about it: the number right now is 8.6%, that's .6% away from MacCallum's "bold benchmark." If unemployment dips .3 or .4 the president would have cut unemployment almost two full points off its high of 10.1% in October of 2009, and that's in SPITE of record obstruction and sabotage from the Republican party. And if unemployment dipped to 8.2% in a year, don't you think fair-minded Americans would round down and give the President credit for an 8?
What MacCallum and Fox News want you to believe is that the president is doubling down on the rightie talking point that Obama promised the stimulus would cap unemployment at 8% (a claim called mostly false multiple times by Politifact).
What's even more insidious, as Media Matters for America BRILLIANTLY points out, is the dishonest graphic Fox News used to show the long term chart of the unemployment rate in 2011.
We make our fair share of graphic errors ourselves on the Big Eddie show, but after hearing MacCallum's set-up, it's not hard to imagine the "America's Newsroom" producer fudging the trend-line to make it look like we're still flat-lining.