Fox News falsely claimed that an analysis by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) showing declining wages criticized President Obama's policies. In fact, the analysis made no mention of the president or his policies, and NELP's executive director said the Fox segment was a "total distortion" of the organization's work.
On July 17, Fox & Friends highlighted an analysis by NELP which found that median wages had declined since 2009, declining more for lower and mid-wage occupations. Co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced the segment by stating that NELP was "criticizing President Obama." Fox Business host Stuart Varney claimed the NELP analysis showed that Obama's policies are not helping:
VARNEY: It is clear that the president's policy of tax the rich and redistribute, regulate Wall Street, regulate the banks, regulate the health care system, regulate energy -- it has simply not worked. Key constituencies are worse off.
Fox also aired the following graphics, which claim that NELP and Jared Bernstein, an economist and former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden who is on NELP's board of directors, were criticizing the president:
But the NELP analysis made no mention of President Obama or any of his policies. When reached for comment about Fox's portrayal of its analysis, National Employment Law Project executive director Christine Owens said:
The Fox News segment is a total distortion of NELP's study documenting the real wage declines faced by low-wage workers. In typical fashion, Fox News has put a shamelessly partisan and completely inaccurate spin on economic facts, and in so doing, obscures the actual reasons why workers' real wages have fallen. The real story is that the recent decline in real wages is part of a 30-year trend that we attribute to factors such as the declining real value of the minimum wage and the erosion of union representation in public and private workplaces. In fact, the Obama administration has pursued policies to reverse this trend. But you wouldn't know that from Fox News's warped version of reality.
As for Fox News dragging economist and NELP board member Jared Bernstein's name into this -- Jared had no more to do with our study than a board member of Fox News's parent company had to do with this misleading segment.
Indeed, the NELP press release announcing the analysis cited the declining value of the minimum wage and tax policies "that reward companies for shipping profits and jobs abroad" as among the reasons for the growing income inequality noted in the analysis. And President Obama has attempted to address these problems -- only to be stopped by Republicans in Congress, while Fox News personalities criticized the Obama administration for working on these issues.