This morning, Fox & Friends built a segment around U.S. Chamber of Commerce talking points and press releases with guests Andy Card and Evan Bayh. At one point, co-host Steve Doocy asked Card to respond to a Chamber press release. Yet Fox News didn't disclose that both Bayh - who also works as a Fox News contributor - and Card are employed by the Chamber of Commerce to promote its deregulation campaign.
As Media Matters previously noted, a June 2 memo from Chamber President Tom Donohue reported that "the Chamber has recently enlisted former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card and former Senator Evan Bayh who will carry a bipartisan message on regulatory reform out around the country through a 'road show' of speeches, events, and media appearances at various local venues."
Instead of disclosing their ties to the Chamber, Fox & Friends introduced the two as a bipartisan team - just as the Chamber has:
DOOCY: So how can we cut down on government over-regulation? Two guys who have been around Washington a long time have an answer.
CARSLON: Former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh and former White House chief of staff Andy Card are joining forces to raise awareness. Andy has recently taken a new position as well, with the Bush Center at Southern Methodist University. Good morning to both of you gentlemen.
BAYH: Good morning.
CARD: I'm actually at Texas A&M, in the Bush School for the first President Bush.
CARLSON: Thank you for the clarification. My apologies for that mistake. Let's get to what appears to be a bipartisan effort by the two of you, which is coming together to stop some of this over-regulation.
At the conclusion of the segment, Doocy said, "Alright, I know you two guys are taking this show on the road, trying to convince people of your case. Andy Card, got a new job at George Herbert Walker Bush Library at Texas A&M, and Evan Bayh, former senator, we thank you very much for joining us live."
Fox & Friends built the segment out of information promoted by the Chamber. For instance:
$1.75 trillion. Fox News ran a graphic stating that the Small Business Administration put the "cost of over-regulation" at $1.75 trillion a year.
The Chamber has repeatedly used this statistic in its public press materials. For example:
- "According to the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, the total cost of federal regulations is estimated at $1.75 trillion." [US Chamber of Commerce Press Release, 11/16/10]
- "Donohue cited statistics from the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy estimating the total cost of federal regulations at $1.75 trillion." [US Chamber of Commerce Press Release, 10/7/10]
- "The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates that the overall cost of regulations to the United States is as high as $1.75 trillion annually." [Statement by Chamber To The House Committee On Energy And Commerce, Subcommittee On Oversight And Investigations, 6/3/11]
Bayh and Card also included this number in an op-ed that appeared in the Washington Times.
While the Chamber and conservative commentators have quoted the $1.75 trillion figure, the Congressional Research Service and the Economic Policy Institute have found that the number is inaccurate. White House official Cass Sunstein, meanwhile, has criticized the study as "deeply flawed" and said the study has "become a bit of an urban legend."
"I Was Reading A Release From The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce..." During the segment, Doocy read a press release from the Chamber of Commerce.
DOOCY: And Andy, I was reading a release from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They say that since this president has taken office, regulations have been implemented at a rate of about 50 percent higher than his predecessor, who was the guy you worked for as well. But, you know, I've heard him talk about, the president talk about, how important it is to get regulation under control. Is this an administration that might talk the talk, but doesn't walk the walk?
"500+ New Laws Since Obama Has Been President." Fox & Friends ran a chyron stating, "Regulations Ruining Recovery? 500+ New Laws Since Obama Has Been President."
A June 22 press release from the Chamber previewing Bayh and Card's "bipartisan regulatory 'road show'" made a similar claim:
"Unaccountable agencies are currently implementing more than 500 required or suggested rulemakings in Dodd-Frank and the 159 new agencies, commissions, panels and other bodies in the health care law through a system that operates without accountability or effective checks and balances," said Bruce Josten, the Chamber's executive vice president for Government Affairs. "We're going to tell the story to the American people about the massive costs of procedural defects and excessive regulations not just on job creation but also on their personal and economic freedom."
In an article noting Bayh's hiring, the Indianapolis Star reported that "Bruce Josten, who heads government relations for the U.S. Chamber, said regulations have spiked under the Obama administration, in part because of overhauls of the health-care and financial regulatory systems passed last year. The latter is responsible for more than 500 required or suggested new rules, he said. A White House spokesman disputed the Chamber's claim that regulations have increased. Matt Lehrich said the total cost of rules fell in the first two fiscal years of the Obama administration and there has not been an increase in rules."
"Red Tape Rising: Obama's Torrent of New Regulation." Fox & Friends also ran on-screen text that read, "Red Tape Rising: Obama's Torrent of New Regulation." The text is directly lifted from an October 2010 paper by the Heritage Foundation, headlined, "Red Tape Rising: Obama's Torrent of New Regulation." Fox & Friends ran a chart from that Heritage report and asked Card and Bayh to discuss the numbers. The Chamber promoted the paper in its "Regulatory News."
This isn't the first time Fox News hasn't disclosed a guest or contributor's ties to the Chamber.
On October 15, Fox News contributor Doug Schoen criticized the Democrats' strategy of making a campaign issue out of U.S Chamber of Commerce's funding sources. And on October 6, Fox News contributor Frank Luntz applauded an ad by the Chamber and said the group has "done some of the best advertising across the country." At no point did Fox News mention that Schoen and Luntz have doing polling work for -- and presumably are paid by -- the Chamber.
The Washington Times similarly did not disclose Bayh and Card's ties when they ran an op-ed from the two promoting the Chamber's agenda.
Watch the segment: