Fox's Bill O'Reilly found it "hard to believe" that most voters in three swing states believe that President Obama's policies have helped the economy more than they've hurt it; yet, while O'Reilly insinuated that these voters are ill-informed, experts agree: Obama's economic policies have helped the economy.
During his Fox News show, O'Reilly was discussing a recent poll conducted by Fox News in swing states Florida, Ohio and Virginia that shows that "more voters believe the Obama administration's policies have helped rather than hurt the economy."
O'Reilly said the poll contained some "surprising data," saying it was "simply stunning" that voters in the swing states "apparently believe the economic policies of Barack Obama have helped more than hurt the economy." Elaborating on a theory he first shared with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham last night, O'Reilly speculated as to why this might be true:
O'REILLY: We all know that the internet now dominates the lives of many Americans. Millions of us are addicted to texting, entertainment websites, gaming -- pretty much blocking out the world whenever we want to. It's now possible to live in an alternate universe that is operated out of your home or in your hand. You never have to deal with reality. There's always some fantasy you can create.
Economic issues are boring and complicated. There's spin flying all over the place. Very hard to know what the truth is -- unless you're out of work. Then you know. But to understand what's actually happening in the marketplace, you have to pay attention. You have to read. Listen to news reports.
Almost every person I know has a handheld internet device. American children and adults spend hours surfing the net. So you can see how our society has been dramatically impacted by high tech. In my opinion, that's why this presidential election is so close.
O'Reilly suggested that the technological advancement of having a smartphone explains "why this election is so close": because most Americans can "go on [a] computer" and "lose [themselves] in a fantasy world."
But O'Reilly failed to address another possible explanation for the poll: that experts agree the president's economic policies have, in fact, helped the economy. Obama signed the stimulus act, which helped raise the GDP and employment; he oversaw the auto bailout, which saved between 2.5 and 3 million jobs; and he signed into law multiple tax breaks for small businesses, which were designed to spur economic growth and job creation.
It's especially ironic that O'Reilly worries that "spin flying all over the place" is making it "very hard to know what the truth is, as his own network has frequently misinformed viewers about the president's economic policies. O'Reilly himself has encouraged Mitt Romney to falsely blame Obama for rising gas prices, falsely claimed that the stimulus didn't create jobs, and has dedicated entire segments of his Fox program to making misleading or false claims about the president's economic record.