During Fox Business' November 10 Republican presidential debate, moderator Sandra Smith asked GOP hopeful former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) if he disagreed enough with Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen to "change leadership at the Fed," an action that is explicitly illegal.
Huckabee, a former Fox News employee and two-time presidential candidate, opened his response with an arguably sexist joke before asserting that he would "absolutely" support Smith's proposed change of leadership, joining other GOP aspirants -- Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) -- in attacking the nation's central bank. Huckabee confusingly blamed the Federal Reserve for wage stagnation that has been observed across four decades of fluctuating interest rate policy, and suggested that the United States return to policies like the outdated gold standard, which Washington Post Wonkblog economic reporter Matthew O'Brien once called "the world's worst economic idea."
Janet Yellen, a decorated economist appointed by President Obama in 2014, serves as the head of an independent government agency in a four-year term ending February 3, 2018. A future president may choose not to re-appoint Yellen as chairwoman, but a member of the Fed's Board of Governors cannot be removed from their post because of policy disagreements:
Once appointed, Governors may not be removed from office for their policy views. The lengthy terms and staggered appointments are intended to contribute to the insulation of the Board--and the Federal Reserve System as a whole--from day-to-day political pressures to which it might otherwise be subject.
Does Fox Business not understand that it is illegal to remove Federal Reserve officials simply because a particular politician or president disagrees with them?
In 2013, Fox Business host Stuart Varney claimed that Yellen was a "shoo-in" to be the next Fed chair because she is a woman, ignoring her qualifications and broad support for her from other economists. Now, Fox Business moderator Sandra Smith is asking whether or not the next president will fire one of the most influential people in the world, despite the fact that doing so would be illegal.
Watch the full exchange between Smith and Huckabee below:
SANDRA SMITH (MODERATOR): Governor Huckabee, both Senator Santorum and Governor Christie were both critical of the Federal Reserve. Also, many have questioned whether Janet Yellen is the right person to be running the Fed. If elected president, would you keep Janet Yellen?
MIKE HUCKABEE: Look, I think the Fed's in a big trouble [sic] because they haven't addressed the number one issue that's hurting Americans, and that's the fact that wages for the bottom 90 percent of the economy have been stagnant for 40 years. In the 25 years after World War II, up to 1971, wages grew by 85 percent in this country. People were moving up in the middle class. There was a middle class. That's not happening anymore. And, in large measure, the Fed has manipulated the dollar so it doesn't have a standard.
SMITH: So, would you change leadership at the Fed?
HUCKABEE: Absolutely. Absolutely, because what we need to do is to make sure that they tie the monetary standard to something that makes sense, rather than to their own whims.
Fox Business opened the early round of the fourth Republican presidential debate by highlighting a long-debunked myth about the supposedly staggering levels of unemployment in the United States.
During Fox Business' November 10 Republican presidential debate, moderator Trish Regan misleadingly claimed that "[m]ore than 90 million Americans are unemployed or they are not in the workforce altogether" as part of a question directed at presidential hopeful Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ).
Media Matters has repeatedly debunked the claim that almost 90 million Americans are either "unemployed" or not engaged in the labor force, pointing out that the majority of those 90 million individuals are teenage children and retirees. In 2013, PolitiFact rated the exaggerated unemployment figure as "mostly false" and FactCheck.org chided former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) for citing the "grossly misleading statistics" after it gained traction in the media:
For instance, the 92.6 million figure includes 36 million Americans of retirement age -- 65 and older -- 17 million of whom were 75 and older. It also includes 11 million teenagers -- age 16 to 19 -- many of whom aren't looking for jobs. It includes 6.8 million 20- to 24-year-olds, some of whom are in college. Those not in the labor force would also include millions of stay-at-home parents, early retirees and anyone else who didn't need or want to work.
Despite its lack of credibility, the claim that 90 million Americans aren't working has become a favorite talking point of right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh. In August, current Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump claimed that 93 million Americans were "out of work," only to be mockingly corrected by The Wall Street Journal's "Real Time Economics" blog and given a "false" rating by PolitiFact. Even James Pethokoukis of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute criticized the bloated unemployment claim, which he called "non-factual."
See the full exchange between Regan and Christie below:
TRISH REGAN (MODERATOR): Governor, economically, our country is struggling with some of the most anemic growth we've seen on record. More than 90 million Americans are unemployed or they are not in the workforce altogether. The number of people now willing, able, and wanting to go to work is at a level that has fallen to a level that we have not seen since the 1970s. For those that are working, wages aren't budging while other things -- costs -- like housing, remain high.
Fox & Friends co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Steve Doocy stumbled through a segment on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) job creation estimate for October 2015, which showed the largest monthly jobs gain of 2015, attempting to minimize the significance of a strong monthly report that beat most analyst expectations.
On November 6, the BLS released its monthly jobs report for October showing that the U.S. added 271,000 jobs last month, easily beating analyst expectations en route to the largest monthly jobs gain of 2015. Within minutes of the release, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy portrayed the news in an uneventful light while co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck lamented that the economy created "only 271,000 jobs."
Contrary to Fox's clumsy framing, on CNN the jobs report was introduced as "frankly, a 'wow,'" by New Day co-host John Berman, and correspondent Christine Romans described net new job creation for October as "much stronger than expected." Fox & Friends has a history of disparaging positive jobs reports, with Hasselbeck once glossing over strong job creation in February 2015 to focus on a slight increase in the unemployment rate. Watch the full segment below:
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): You know the music, we are back with a Fox Business Alert right now. The October jobless report for hourly workers, just released 90 seconds ago. The unemployment rate is, as you can see right there, 5 percent. I believe that could be, actually, a little lower than in August and in September as well.
ELISABETH HASSELBECK (CO-HOST): That's right, Steve. Only 271,000 new jobs were added last month. That is up from September as well. Analysts were expecting more than 180,000 jobs for October.
Right-wing media outlets are stoking fears that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is on the verge of collapse; arguing that health insurance co-op failures threaten to shutter President Obama's signature health care legislation. But experts argue that ACA continues to control health care costs and expand insurance, and explain that the co-op failures are due to underfunding by Congress.
During the October 28 Republican presidential debate hosted by CNBC, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) contested moderator John Harwood's statement that Rubio's tax reform plan disproportionately favors the rich over the middle class. Conservative news outlets rushed to defend Rubio, despite the fact that Harwood was correct.
Fox News promoted a misleading and debunked claim forwarded by GOP presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina in a Wall Street Journal op-ed suggesting that women suffered disproportionate job losses during President Obama's first term.
In an October 26 Wall Street Journal op-ed riddled with misleading, outdated, and debunked claims, Carly Fiorina suggested that Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and President Obama were responsible for the economic distress of millions of women during Obama's first term in office:
While Mrs. Clinton touts her gender to bolster her campaign, 92% of the jobs lost during Mr. Obama's first term -- when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state -- belonged to women, according to the BLS. The National Women's Law Center reports that the poverty rate among women is 16.1% -- the highest level in 20 years -- and the extreme poverty rate among women the highest ever recorded.
On the October 28 edition of Fox News' The Real Story, Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry cited Fiorina's op-ed as an example of legitimate "Republican pushback on the claim that the economy does better under Democrats," ignoring that the op-ed is replete with glaring factual errors. The specific job-loss claim was widely debunked when then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney first forwarded it in April 2012. PolitiFact rated his claim as "mostly false." The Washington Post's FactChecker labeled the claim "True but False" noting that it was based on cherry-picked data, and as The Post's Wonkblog correctly pointed out, "[t]he reality is that the recession has been easier on women than men." Even the right-wing Daily Caller called out the Romney campaign for its misleading claim.
As for conservatives questioning Clinton's suggestion that the economy improves when a Democrat occupies the White House, according to a July 2014 report by Princeton University economists Alan Blinder and Mark Watson, "There is a systematic and large gap between the US economy's macroeconomic performance when a Democrat is President of the United States versus when a Republican is." The authors attributed the differences in economic performance under the two parties to "mostly 'good luck,' with perhaps a touch of 'good policy,'" but still witnessed a "stunningly large partisan gap" in economic growth rates under Democratic and Republican administrations.
Watch the full clip from Fox News below:
HILLARY CLINTON (VIDEO): Though my Republican friends don't like it when I say it, you are four times more likely to end up in a recession under a Republican president.
ED HENRY: Well, Carly Fiorina, one of the Republican candidates of course, is not buying that at all -- that the economy is better under Democrats. She has a Wall Street Journal op-ed saying in part, "While Mrs. Clinton touts her gender to bolster her campaign, 92 percent of the jobs lost during Mr. Obama's first term... belonged to women." So, you see the Republican push back on this claim that the economy does better under Democrats, Gretchen.
In anticipation of CNBC's presentation of the third GOP debate, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina attacked the economic policy priorities of Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and the Democratic Party in a recent op-ed for The Wall Street Journal that was filled with inaccurate and misleading information. It was more of the same of what she did during the second GOP debate hosted by CNN, when the network's moderators let her use the stage to make baseless allegations about Planned Parenthood, which provides vital, affordable health care to millions of Americans. Will CNBC moderators let her be just as careless with economic policy facts?
One of the moderators of CNBC's October 28 Republican debate, John Harwood, called out several members of the GOP presidential candidate field in a New York Times article that debunked their attempts to frame major tax cuts for the wealthy as "populist" tax reform proposals. Will Harwood hold the candidates to the same standard during the live, televised debate?
Forbes contributor Carrie Sheffield claimed public sector unions hurt upward mobility for private sector workers, but ignored the effects the decline of private sector union membership have had on stagnating wages and reducing ladders of opportunity for American workers.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump unveiled a tax reform plan that he claimed will "cost [him] a fortune" and that right-wing media touted as "populist." In fact, like many of his Republican rivals, Trump has offered a tax plan that amounts to a victory for the rich.