Fox repeatedly pushed for a government shutdown if all Republican demands regarding the budget were not met. But after a budget deal was struck between the White House and congressional leaders to avert a shutdown, Fox immediately shifted its talking points to praise House Speaker John Boehner and congressional Republicans for negotiating a deal.
Fox Praises Republicans For Negotiating A Budget Deal
Johnson: Boehner Is "Leading The Greatest Intervention In American History." On the April 11 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. stated:
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): The president plans to outline a more aggressive approach now to reducing the national debt this week, but is he serious about spending cuts or is it just all talk for re-election? Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. is here to weigh in. Alright, so are Americans supposed to believe that he's actually changed philosophically?
PETER JOHNSON JR.: He's serious about getting re-elected. That's what he's serious about. And I think what he witnessed is John Boehner leading the greatest intervention in American history. An intervention for a debt and spending addicted Congress and White House. And now our president's saying, "God, I better respond. I'm never going to win the Tea Party over, but if I give the veneer of accepting some of the things that they say, then I've got a greater chance to recapture a lot of the independent voters that I lost that I had in 2008." It's incredible the other night the president said, "Well this is the largest spending cut in our history," and said it as if it was an accomplishment, and said it as if it were his accomplishment. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/11/11]
Hume: "Boehner And The Republicans Have Won A Significant Victory." From the April 10 edition of Fox Broadcasting's Fox News Sunday:
BRIT HUME (Fox News senior political analyst): It's been an interesting sequence of events here. First on the budget just agreed to for the balance of this year. The president, as you pointed out in the interview with David Plouffe -- and he didn't dispute this -- originally proposed to cut zero. And now, as in that sound bite, you have the president bragging, or not bragging, but saluting the fact that this is the largest spending cut in history. Now you can see the direction this is going.
The president proposes a budget with no real Medicare/Medicaid/entitlement reform -- none whatever. The Republicans then produce a budget with a huge dose of that. A truly ambitious budget in that department. And now, following that, the president is expecting to come out with his own plan to do the same thing. So whether he'll do as much remains to be seen. I have my doubts, I think it will probably be much, much less, but you can see who's driving the debate and who so far is winning. And I think Mr. Boehner and the Republicans have won a significant victory albeit in dollar terms relatively small this week. There may be more victories to come. [Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Sunday, 4/10/11]
Camerota: Budget Deal "Is Certainly, In Terms Of Money, A Victory On The Republican Side." From the April 9 edition of Fox & Friends Saturday:
STEVE DOOCY: Plus, and this is something else that the Republicans had wanted, it's going to deny additional funding to the IRS. That is a good thing. Of course, the president wanted more IRS agents to enforce and make sure that people follow the letter of the law when it comes to the new health care reform. However, that's not going to help. Also, the Republicans had pushed for something on NPR or the EPA. No votes will happen on that so the Democrats did win on those two issues.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Right. Those are those riders that became so critical during the past week because the president didn't want all of these additional "ideological issues" as he termed them to be put in. Also, this bill stops Gitmo detainees from coming to the U.S. That, of course, has also been a very controversial issue, so that was included. So there is a lot to cover in terms of who scored big and who didn't, but the point is, is that from where the Democrats began with what they wanted for spending cuts, which I think was $4 billion.
DOOCY: It was zero. Harry Reid wanted zero.
CAMEROTA: They started at zero and then their first offer was $4 billion. Now it went all the way up to $38 and a half billion. That is certainly, in terms of money, a victory on the Republican side. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Saturday, 4/9/11]
Rove: "The Winner Tonight Is John Boehner," Who "Has Won Dramatic Spending Cuts Over The [Democratic] Opposition." On the April 8 edition of Fox News' On the Record With Greta Van Susteren, Fox News contributor Karl Rove said: "The winner tonight is John Boehner. John Boehner has shown incredible leadership in keeping what could have been potentially a fractious caucus united and together. He has put at the front and center of the national debate spending cuts. And he has won dramatic spending cuts over the opposition of the Democrat leader in the House, the majority leader in the Senate, and the President of the United States." [Fox News,On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 4/8/11]
Stirewalt: "I Don't Want To Call It A Rout, But It's Like Boehner Ran [Democrats] Off The Field." From Fox News' special coverage of the budget deal:
BRET BAIER: Chris, you know, there was a lot of talk all day long about the Planned Parenthood provision to defund Planned Parenthood title X. Here's the details according to the House GOP as they see them. The list. $38 and a half billion in spending cuts. Now this is the largest in American history. Both sides concede that. A guarantee that the Senate, the Democratic Senate, will vote on a repeal of health care. That's a big concession for Democrats to give that.
New tools in the fight to repeal health care. These are audits and essentially mandates that they have to look at certain elements of the health care law. Denies additional funding to the IRS. The administration had sought to increase federal funding to hire more agents to enforce the health care law. Guarantees a Senate vote on defunding Planned Parenthood. Bans taxpayer funding of abortion in the District of Columbia, also talked about all day today. And mandatory audits of the new bureaucracy set up under the Financial Protection Bureau -- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It seems like they got a lot. I mean, this is the House GOP look at it, but it seems like Democrats gave a lot.
CHRIS STIREWALT (Fox News Digital Politics Editor): I honestly cannot figure how they got all of that stuff. I mean, I don't want to call it a rout, but it's like Boehner ran them off the field. And this is not where I expected this to go, this is not what I thought I would see at the end of today. I thought it would be a grinding, small scale stuff.
STIREWALT: I think Boehner's great success here was the window opened this week for troop funding and he said, "Let's put the troop funding bill out there and let's set the Senate up so that they're in a tough spot." And the pressure was on them and in the end I think he rolled them. [Fox News' special coverage of budget deal, 4/9/11]
But Fox Previously Campaigned For A Government Shutdown
Hannity On Shutdown: "I Don't Think This Is Something They Should Compromise On." On the April 5 edition of his show, Sean Hannity stated:
HANNITY: All right, last question. We -- this Friday at midnight, this government is scheduled to shut down. Things did not go well when John Boehner and others were summoned to the White House earlier today. My question is: I believe that the Republicans need to stand by their promise. They promised that they would stand for this. I don't think this is something they should compromise on because if they can get the Republicans to back off here, then when they're dealing with your real cuts, $6.2 trillion, I think the Democrats will try and hold Republicans hostage. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/5/11]
Hannity: It's "Time For A Fight" So "Shut It Down." On his Fox News show, Hannity stated: "Shut it down. Time for a fight. Shut it down. We've got to stand up now for our kids' future." [Fox News, Hannity, 3/31/11]
Hannity: "Shut The Government Down" "Until We Cut A Trillion Dollars From The Budget." From the March 8 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
HANNITY: He also was willing to take on entitlements and it didn't go anywhere in Congress. Here, look, if this is what they're going to deal with 61 billion, which only touches the surface, 'cause they're dealing with last year's budget, why don't they go for -- why don't they just shut the government down, all nonessential services. Pay the military, pay Homeland Security, all necessary personnel, everything else, until we cut a trillion dollars from the budget and spending. Why not?
STUART VARNEY (Fox Business host): The answer is politics. Who gets the blame if you shut the government down? That's what's it all about.
HANNITY: But we're not talking about all the government. We're talking about all essentials -- every person on Social Security gets their check.
VARNEY: But would it be a repeat of 1995 --
HANNITY: I don't think so.
VARNEY: -- when Newt Gingrich got the blame for shutting down the government.
DANA PERINO (Fox News contributor): I don't think so.
VARNEY: I agree with you, Sean. I think these are different times. I think government workers are in a completely different position, vis-a-vis the average voter.[Fox News,Hannity, 3/8/11]
Dick Morris Tells Republicans To "Shut Down Or Shut Up." Appearing on Hannity, Morris stated:
HANNITY: Republicans want $60 billion in cuts, which by the way is 1.6 percent of overall spending, 4.7 percent of discretionary spending. Now, on top of this -- this is a $3.7 trillion budget. This is really just a drop in the bucket. You know, it's -- after the Obama administration increased nondiscretionary spending we're literally talking about -- they raised it 25 percent. If you add the stimulus they raised it 85 percent. You're talking about a miniscule amount, and all Democrats could offer this weekend, at a maximum, is that all they think they can find is $10 billion. So isn't this the showdown for 2012? It's those that want big government, those that want to balance the budget, and it's going to be a head-to-head battle?
MORRIS: It is, and the Republicans have to either shut down or shut up, because at some point, the Democrats are going to stop agreeing to cuts and then the Republicans will still have a long way to go toward their 61 billion or pro-rated deductions. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/7/11]
O'Reilly Endorses Shutdown As Alternative To Democrats' Spending Proposals: "Good. These Pinheads Need Some Time Off." On his Fox News show, Bill O'Reilly stated:
O'REILLY: If the feds don't pass a new spending bill, the government might shut down in a few days, and I say good. These pinheads need some time off. The Wall Street Journal says this is the worst Congress in modern history, and the folks seem to agree. New Gallup poll says 13 percent of Americans believe the current Congress is doing a good job -- 13 percent.
And now our pal Harry Reid, along with Appropriations Chairman Senator Daniel Inouye [D-HI], have dumped a trillion-dollar-plus spending bill on the Senate floor a few days before Christmas. Of course, the bill is loaded with pork. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 12/16/10]
Steve Moore: Government Shutdown "Wouldn't Be The End Of The World." On Fox News' Happening Now, Fox News contributor and Wall Street Journal senior economics writer Steve Moore argued that the possible government shutdown "wouldn't be the end of the world." From the show:
JENNA LEE (co-host): And Jess wants to know, well, is a shutdown -- because a shutdown is certain -- maybe the thing that the government and the economy needs right now?
MOORE: Well, I don't want to see a shutdown, but it may come to that. And I really believe this three-week extension that just was approved in the House yesterday -- this is the last temporary extension. I think, you know -- let's talk about this three weeks from now, because I think that's when you get the stare down between the president and the Republicans in Congress, and it may come to a shutdown. I lived through this in 1995 when I worked with Dick Armey. Remember we had that government shutdown then?
MOORE: It's important for people to realize essential government services like the air traffic control system and the police and the court system -- they will still operate. It's just the nonessential activities. And by the way, there's a lot of what government does, Jenna, that's nonessential, right? So it wouldn't be the end of the world. [Fox News,Happening Now, 3/16/11]
Gretchen Carlson: "The Public Needs To Be Let In On A Little Secret: We Can Survive" A Government Shutdown." On the March 2 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson cited services that would be affected by a government shutdown and stated: "They've done a study to show that the public needs to be let in on a little secret: We can survive when the government shuts down for a short period of time." She continued: "And that, I think, would raise a lot of other questions about whether or not there's bloating in the federal government." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/2/11]
Steve Doocy: Shutdown Could Make Americans Realize "They Don't Really Need That Gigantic Mechanism." Later on the March 2 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) that "some Democrats worry that if there was a shutdown that barely affected the everyday lives of a lot of people, that would reinforce your argument on the conservative side that a lot of government is wasteful, and they don't really need that gigantic a mechanism." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/2/11]
Varney, Crowley Insist Voters Would Love A Government Shutdown. From Fox Business' Varney & Co.:
VARNEY: The conventional wisdom is that if you shut the government down like Newt Gingrich did back in the '90s, you lose politically. I'm saying that's nonsense. I think you could shut the government down right now and voters would love you.
MONICA CROWLEY (Fox News contributor): I think the American people would like to see the government shut down at least temporarily. And you know my evidence for this? November's election. November's election came around, voters gave Republicans control of the House, bigger numbers in the U.S. Senate. Why? They want gridlock; they want our politicians to stop "helping us." Stop doing things. Stop spending. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 2/17/11]
Andrew Napolitano Praises "Brave Politicians Who Are Willing To Shut Down The Government." Guest-hosting Glenn Beck's Fox News show, Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano stated:
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Too many politicians on both sides of the aisle have simply lost touch with reality when it comes to government spending. A $4.7 billion cut in the face of a $1.6 trillion deficit is akin to doing nothing when it comes to solving this problem. It's as if an alcoholic stood on a podium addressing his fellow drinkers and proudly proclaimed that that night at the bar, he would only have 10 shots of Jameson's instead of his customary 11.
Yes, America, all but a few of our politicians are as delusional about spending as an alcoholic is about drinking. But there's always hope when you have brave politicians who are willing to shut down the government if it won't act responsibly. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/8/11]
Asman: "We Have To Shrink The Government, And If That Means Shutting Down The Government, Then So Be It." On Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, host David Asman railed against a proposed omnibus spending bill, claiming that it "shows a complete disregard for any kind of fiscal responsibility." He then added: "We have to shrink the government, and if that means shutting down the government then so be it." From America's Nightly Scoreboard:
ASMAN: Would shutting the place down really be such a bad idea? Well, they certainly need some kind of wakeup call for all the craziness going on there, because the Beltway bandits are rolling us once again. Nancy Pelosi and her outgoing Congress are sticking it to every single taxpayer out there in this final spending bill. The omnibus spending bill being read right now in the Senate, or just about to be, shows a complete disregard for any kind of fiscal responsibility. That and the pork-filled tax bill are insults to every American who's been cutting back to get by in these tough times. And every American who cares about our future.
Now, today happens to be the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. It is a perfect time to focus back on principles -- founding principles. The principles that led to the last election. Principles that led to our revolution to begin with. We have to shrink the government, and if that means shutting down the government, then so be it. They can't continue to slap us in the face and get away with it. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 12/16/10]
John Stossel Dreams Of Government Under Lock And Key. On the April 7 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co., the following image of Fox Business host John Stossel appeared on-air:
[Fox Business, Varney & Co., 4/7/11]
John Stossel: People Affected By Government Shutdown "Shouldn't Be Getting Those Handouts Anyway." From the April 6 edition of Fox News' Your World:
NEIL CAVUTO (Fox Business host): [The government] runs out of money unless Congress can agree on a new budget deal. Let's say it cannot, and let's say the government does indeed shutdown. Essential workers will still have to go to work, but nonessential workers like the people who work at the Smithsonian, for example, well, apparently they stay home. Will most Americans notice the difference? With me now, John Stossel. He is the host of the very essential program Stossel on Fox Business. Well that's going to be when everything hits the road, right?
STOSSEL: Well, how much hits the road? Will we notice? Will most of us notice? I don't think so. I don't know that we need a Department of Labor, a Department of Commerce, or a Department of Agriculture. And if they went away, most Americans wouldn't notice and those who would notice shouldn't be getting those handouts anyway. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 4/6/11]
Cavuto To Politicians Worried About A Government Shutdown: "Shut Up" And "Quit Whining." On the April 7 edition of Fox News' Your World, Cavuto said:
CAVUTO: Amazing, just amazing. Now that we're finally on the brink, now the big stink, now all the politicians worried about our government shutting down. Me, I'm not worried about our government shutting down. It might happen. I'm more worried about our fiscal sanity shutting down because it already has happened. I'm worried more about our comprehension of basic math shutting down.
I'm worried more about the declining list of countries willing to bail us out shutting down. I'm worried about what got us into this mess, not the laughable result of this mess. I'm worried more about the disasters government creates when it is open, not when it is closed. I'm worried about the spending that got us here, not what happens after the lights are turned out here.
I'm worried not about who gets the blame but what the hell has happened to our credit? Because I'm far more worried about our credit rating going down than our government shutting down, because the ratings, folks, have been threatening that, saying that the way we do business has long been a problem as long as we've been open for business.
So forgive my callous response to those who get so emotional on shutdowns. Shut up. And save the feigned outrage for someone who's interested. I'm not. Just like I'm not impressed with those warning of financial Armageddon if we shut down, but didn't say boo when we were piling all this debt up.
So quit whining about a shutdown, and, for God's sake, just man up about your spending that has us spent, and your newfound concern for fiscal responsibility that has us at a loss. You say there is hell to pay if we close the government? Look around. The way I see it, there's been a lot more hell to pay if we don't. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 4/7/11]
Cavuto Promotes "Fiscal Upside" To A Government Shutdown. From the April 6 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
CAVUTO: White House today sounding the danger alarm over a possible shutdown. The president saying that everything from home loans to vacations could be held up and that will impact the economy's momentum. Here's what you're not hearing though. The fiscal upside to a shutdown. It's true. Congressional watcher J.P. Freire says it actually save us money, maybe a lot of money. Explain J.P.
J.P. FREIRE: Well, frankly, if you look at what happened in 1995, D.C. saved about $1.2 million and I don't think that that's inflation adjusted a day, per day on buildings that weren't even in use. Then you also look at 20 percent of federal grants wound up not, you know, being adversely affected. And that adds up to over $100 billion inflation adjusted. So there are ways in which taxpayers make out pretty well insofar as not all their money is getting spent and wasted.
CAVUTO: But it eventually catches up, just like furloughed government workers, when they do come back to work, assuming they come back to work, they're paid retroactively for the time that they were out. So whatever savings are realized are then unrealized. Isn't that the concern?
FREIRE: Well what's interesting here -- that's very true and a good point, Neil. What's important here is that it gives Congress an opportunity to look at how these agencies operated under such conditions and sort of test, you know, what they can do with the budget in the future. It's like, well, if you guys were able to get by on this or if you guys were able to, you know, play with your budget in such a way that you were able to work on this maybe we're going to have you do that in the future because you were able to really save some money there. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 4/6/11]
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- Fox News Channel, FOX Broadcasting Company, Fox Business
- Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Brit Hume, Neil Cavuto, John Stossel, David Asman, Stephen Moore, Monica Crowley, Stuart Varney, Gretchen Carlson, Alisyn Camerota, Karl Rove, Peter Johnson Jr., Chris Stirewalt
- The O'Reilly Factor, FOX News Sunday, FOX & Friends, On The Record with Greta Van Susteren, Your World w/ Neil Cavuto, Hannity, America's Nightly Scoreboard, Varney & Co.