Despite nationwide protests around the country and grassroots support for an increase in the minimum wage, Fox News host Neil Cavuto regularly invites wealthy CEOs and executives on his show to push the myth that minimum wage increases will kill American jobs. Economists have repeatedly found minimum wage increases have no effect on jobs.
Media fact-checkers dismantled Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) claim during the fourth Republican presidential debate that "welders earn more money than philosophers" while conservative media championed the false assertion as part of Rubio's so-called mixture of "substance with soaring rhetoric."
From the November 11 edition of Fox News' Fox and Friends:
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From the November 10 edition of Fox Business' Republican Presidential Candidates Debate:
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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.
From the November 10 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:
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From the November 10 edition of CNN's New Day:
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On the November 10 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, host George Stephanopoulos allowed GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to greatly exaggerate the nation's unemployment rate when he falsely claimed that "unemployment is probably close to 20 percent." Trump has a history of trumpeting debunked right-wing media myths as campaign talking points. He previously claimed that the unemployment rate "might very well be" 40 percent or more, echoing Rush Limbaugh. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, October's unemployment rate stood at just five percent, the lowest rate since April 2008.
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Fox Business host John Stossel invited economist Ben Powell to debunk the widely held right-wing media myth that immigration takes jobs away from American workers. Powell explained that immigration actually creates jobs and better opportunities for Americans.
For years, conservative media have claimed that immigrants hurt the economy by stealing jobs from American workers. Powell explained that immigration actually helps the economy and "frees up American labor to do the things we're better suited to do, and that creates jobs."
From the November 9 edition of Fox Business' Stossel:
JOHN STOSSEL: The people who say they take jobs. It's logical. They do take some jobs. So what's your answer to that?
BEN POWELL: That on net they don't take jobs. Immigrants both take jobs and create jobs.
STOSSEL: The seen versus the unseen. Explain that.
POWELL: You can take this camera that I'm looking at right now and you can stick on somebody who used to do, say, landscaping, and you can say, "I used to do this job and look, there's an immigrant doing that job right now." That's the displace -- but also, it frees up American labor to do the things we're better suited to do, and that creates jobs. But those jobs are statistical because jobs are created because of technological changes, changes in resource costs, all sorts of things. So it's hard to stick a camera on the person who got the job, but it's certainly real. Just think about what's happened to the size of the labor force since the end of World War II. We've had massive entry of women, baby boomers, and after 1965, immigrants into the work force. We've roughly tripled the size of the civilian labor force, but we've seen no long-term increase in unemployment. As we've almost tripled the number of workers, we've almost tripled the number of jobs. We have a limitless desire for goods and services. As we get more workers, we put them to work doing those things.
Even the low-skilled ones [immigrants] who don't create businesses that create jobs perform tasks that their labor is better suited to than the American labor. The case for more immigration into the United States as an economic gain to us is the exact same as for international trade in goods and services. It's not about net number of jobs, it's about changing the mix of jobs so that the native-born citizens do the things we're better suited to do. When the brain surgeon hires an immigrant to mow his lawn, that frees him up to do more brain surgeries, making us more productive.
Right-wing media outlets hyped the misleading research conclusions of the conservative Empire Center for Public Policy, which claimed the $15 minimum wage bill proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) would kill half a million jobs in the state and would hurt workers.
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.
From the November 2 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:
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Newly-elected Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) came under fire for accepting the position under the condition that he be able to spend time with his family, while also opposing a federal paid family leave policy. When he appeared on CBS' Face The Nation and ABC's This Week, both interviewers neglected to ask Ryan about his opposition to paid family leave policies, which benefit employees, employers, and the economy.
On October 20, Paul Ryan announced that he would run for Speaker of the House as long as a number of conditions were met, one being that he would not "give up [his] family" for traditional requirements of the job, such as "spending hundreds of days on the road raising money for Republican candidates." After Ryan's announcement, Politico noted that "when it comes to federal policies on family leave, Ryan has opposed virtually every measure proposed over the past several years."
Since announcing his candidacy for Speaker of the House, Ryan has been widely criticized for his hypocrisy on family leave. EMILY's List asserted that Ryan is "totally in favor of family-friendly workplace policies for Speakers of the House named Paul Ryan." Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work, issued a statement criticizing Ryan for having "refused to sign on to two bills that would provide Americans time to care for a loved one during a routine or even a serious illness, namely, the Healthy Families Act and the FAMILY Act. When Rep. Ryan had the opportunity to vote for paid time for federal employees to bond with a new child, he voted no - twice." Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project told Politico "Paul Ryan is rightly concerned about his job's impact on his spouse and children ... yet [he] isn't willing to guarantee that all workers ... have the necessary tools to balance their work and family obligations."
Ryan made the rounds on the November 1 Sunday talk shows the week after the Speaker election. Meet the Press, Fox News Sunday, and State of the Union asked Ryan about his opposition to federal paid family leave legislation, noting his condition that he not give up his own family time. However, ABC's Martha Raddatz and CBS' John Dickerson of This Week and Face the Nation, respectively, neglected to question Ryan's hypocrisy, even as Raddatz mentioned his family as part of his hesitation to take on the job, and Dickerson asked Ryan what he told his children about the new position.
Paid family leave was brought up earlier this year in President Obama's State of the Union address. Economists have found that increasing paid parental leave could incentivize more women to join and remain in the labor force, boost the economy, increase wages, and keep families out of poverty and reduce their reliance on public assistance.
From the November 1 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:
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If the GOP presidential candidates' talking points at last night's CNBC debate sounded familiar, there's a reason why.
During the debate -- the third of the Republican primary season -- the GOP's 2016 presidential candidates peddled repeatedly discredited talking points and debunked myths that have consistently been amplified by Fox News. Fox has a long history of guiding the Republican party on policy positions and influencing the GOP primary process, and several of the candidates' debate remarks were conspicuously similar to narratives that have originated on or been promoted by the Fox News Channel.
For example, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) spontaneously interjected during the debate that "police officers are afraid to get out of their cars ... they're afraid to enforce the law" because President Obama "[doesn't] support police officers [and doesn't] stand up for law enforcement." Christie went on to blame the so-called "Ferguson Effect" -- a right-wing media myth that uses flawed or cherry-picked data to link supposed increases in crime rates to increased public scrutiny of police after incidents involving police brutality -- on what he called President Obama's lack of "moral authority."
Gov. Christie's allegations are not the first time President Obama has been reviled for his alleged inaction on behalf of law enforcement. Fox figures have obsessively promoted a myth that Obama has not spoken out about violence against police, and right-wing media has consequently gone so far as to claim that his silence has contributed to violence against cops.
Fox News' -- and Gov. Christie's -- claims are demonstrably false. President Obama has repeatedly addressed and denounced violence against police, and no link exists to suggest rising crime is associated with President Obama's presidency.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) parroted another lie produced in the Fox News echo chamber: that Hillary Clinton intentionally misled the public about the Benghazi attacks, knowingly telling the public that an inflammatory video spontaneously inspired the violence while privately acknowledging it was pre-planned. Sen. Rubio ultimately claimed that Clinton was "exposed."
Following Clinton's October 22 appearance before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Fox News aggressively pushed this false claim as "smoking gun" evidence of Clinton's intentional misinformation on the cause of the attacks. Fox even doubled down on Rubio's debate remarks the next day to continue pushing this falsehood.
Clear evidence vindicates Clinton, however, and underscores that Fox News' relationship with the GOP is unrestrained by facts. Clinton has explained that the State Department's understanding of and explanation for the attacks changed as "piecemeal" and "conflicting" early intelligence reports were replaced by more reliable information. For extra measure, media outlets also roundly dismantled Fox's and Rubio's claims.
Another striking debate moment occurred when Carly Fiorina argued that the federal minimum wage was unconstitutional. "There is no Constitutional role for the federal government to be setting minimum wages," she said.
Fox has long shared a similar disdain for anything resembling a living wage, and has led a lengthy, conspicuous, and misguided campaign against raising the minimum wage. Fox figures have distorted facts on the minimum wage and downplayed its importance, contributing to a false narrative that the minimum wage supposedly leads to job losses, is bad policy, and is already high enough.
Fox's minimum wage talking points, however, are also false.