Fox 31 aired Bush attack on Democrats over economic policy, but no Democratic response

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

In a segment reporting on President Bush discussing the economy at an August 8 press conference, KDVR Fox 31's News at Nine O'Clock broadcast of the same day aired the president's criticism of "Democrats in Congress" wanting to "increase taxes" but provided no remarks from Democrats. Additionally, Fox 31 reported that Bush said "the economy is now thriving because Americans are keeping more of their own money," but did not substantiate his assertions.

On the August 8 broadcast of KDVR Fox 31's News at Nine O'Clock, co-anchor Deborah Takahara reported President Bush's criticism of "Democrats in Congress" who "want to increase taxes and turn them into additional government programs," without including a Democratic response. Fox 31 also reported that "[t]he president says the economy is now thriving because Americans are keeping more of their own money. He says if the economy continues at its current pace, the national deficit will be eliminated in five years," but did not provide substantiation for Bush's assertions.

Fox 31 was reporting on an August 8 press conference Bush held after meeting with his economic advisers.

From the August 8 broadcast of KDVR Fox 31's News at Nine O'Clock:

TAKAHARA: President Bush tackling the economy today. He met with the Treasury Department and his economic advisers. The president highlighted some economic gains and said taxes must be kept low.

BUSH [video clip]: Democrats in Congress want to increase taxes and turn them into additional government programs, and I strongly oppose that approach.

TAKAHARA: The president says the economy is now thriving because Americans are keeping more of their own money. He says if the economy continues at its current pace, the national deficit will be eliminated in five years.

Fox 31 did not provide a Democratic response to the president's remarks. In contrast, an August 8 Reuters article about the press conference noted concerns about the stability of the U.S. economy and quoted Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). It reported, "Top Democratic leaders fired back at Bush, saying higher health care, energy and college costs put the lie to his claim that average Americans were prospering":

The key message that Bush offered was that despite admitted problems with rising defaults in stressed housing markets, jobs were available and the U.S. and global economies were expanding.

"I would say that the underpinnings of our economy are strong ... strong employment numbers, low inflation, real wages are on the rise," he said. "There's a strong global economy, which means it's more likely somebody will buy our goods."

Top Democratic leaders fired back at Bush, saying higher health care, energy and college costs put the lie to his claim that average Americans were prospering.

"After six years of reckless spending in Washington, President Bush is the last person who should brag about fiscal responsibility," said House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California. [emphasis added]

Similarly, an August 9 New York Times article reported that "immediately after the president's comments, Democrats excoriated him for saying that the economy was in sound shape, and many called on the administration to encourage federal housing agencies to step in and make more money available, perhaps by buying up troubled mortgages to avoid foreclosures." The Times further reported:

The president's session with economic writers was unscheduled until Wednesday morning, when he was at the Treasury building for an annual meeting with his economic team. Their intent was to plan for issues like the budget, taxes and financial regulation coming up in the fall.

After that meeting, Mr. Bush sounded several familiar themes, accusing Democrats of wanting to raise taxes and embark on wasteful spending. He said he would veto legislation to expand the children's health insurance program, charging that it would raise taxes and "nationalize" the health sector, and reiterated his threat to veto other spending bills that went over his budget request.

The statement appeared to signal the White House's plan to go on the offensive in the fall to counter criticism and widespread economic anxiety by confronting Democrats on time-tested Republican themes like keeping taxes low and spending under control.

Colorado Media Matters has pointed out (here and here) other broadcasts in which Fox 31 has uncritically reported Bush's criticisms of Democrats without providing comments or responses from Democrats.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.