Fox News' Unbalanced Coverage Of Economic NewsDecember 21, 2012 9:46 AM EST ››› ALBERT KLEINE
In its recent economic coverage, Fox News consistently downplayed positive developments, while amplifying negative stories as part of an effort to discredit the Obama administration.
Faced with positive economic developments, such as falling jobless claims figures and encouraging unemployment reports, Fox News has consistently dismissed them as either unworthy of highlighting or downright illegitimate. Signs that show the economy is improving were either buried in teasers or used simply as a foil to bring up unrelated metrics, such as rising gas prices and the "real" unemployment rate.
Perhaps the greatest takeaway from Fox News' handling of positive economic news, however, is the now commonplace use of conspiracy theories to deny any signs of an improving economy. Leading up to the 2012 election, hosts and guests repeatedly touted the claim that drops in unemployment were suspicious, suggesting that the Obama administration somehow manipulated data to show numbers in its favor. The network even went so far as to preemptively offer a conspiracy theory prior to the release of the November unemployment rate, indicating that no positive news would be accepted, regardless of its legitimacy.
Negative news, however, was approached remarkably differently. Fox News treated any sign of economic malaise as an opportunity to discredit the efforts of the Obama administration, sometimes delighting in what it meant for his chances of reelection. Regardless of circumstances outside of Obama's control - such as Hurricane Sandy's effect on jobless claims and company scheduled layoffs - Fox News hosts and guests consistently took any negative economic news as an indication of the failure of the administration.
While the network has taken multiple approaches to covering economic news, one theme remains unchanged - Fox News has constructed an alternate reality where positive economic news is bad, and negative economic news is good, in an effort to discredit Obama.