Fox News ignored economic history to forward the absurd claim that former President George W. Bush exercised "fiscal discipline."
On the April 25 edition of Fox & Friends, former Bush White House Chief of Staff Andy Card claimed that President Bush "probably has the best track record of any modern president in terms of fiscal discipline," a statement that went unchallenged by the Fox & Friends co-hosts:
But facts undermine Card's claim. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the drivers of current and future public debt are policies from the Bush presidency:
A recent study from Harvard researcher Linda J. Bilmes found that the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will ultimately cost taxpayers between $4 trillion and $6 trillion, that the Bush-era tax cuts added $2.6 trillion to public debt from 2001-2010, and as Foxnews.com noted in September 2011, the Bush-era Medicare drug benefit came with unfunded costs of $7 trillion.
Furthermore, according to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Office of Management and Budget data, the Bush era saw the second largest annualized growth in federal spending since the Eisenhower presidency:
According to former President Reagan adviser Bruce Bartlett, when Bush took office, the CBO projected a $3.5 trillion surplus through 2008. Instead, Bush delivered a $5.5 trillion deficit over his two terms.
Today, Fox's America Live aired a segment in which a panel discussed whether the media is giving president Obama "a pass on certain issues." The segment began with a discussion of Obama's recent comments to Dmitri Medvedev, in which he told the Russian president that he would have "more flexibility" to negotiate on the issue of missile defense after the November election. The panelists were Dana Perino, a Fox News host and former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush; Andy Card, former White House chief of staff under Bush; and Ed Gillespie, former Republican National Committee chair and counselor to Bush. America Live host Megyn Kelly moderated the panel.
Put another way: the discussion consisted of Kelly, who regularly pushes conservative positions, came to Fox "believing there was a left bias in the news," and has been criticized for showing "hints of her political outlook" from the anchor desk, along with three senior aides to Bush.
Near the beginning of the almost 11-minute segment, Kelly said to Perino: "It's been like fingernails on chalkboard for you to watch how the media reacts to President Obama making, you know -- having his open mic comment when President Bush got very different treatment after he had -- and let's just play it -- the following open mic comment with Russia." After Kelly played the clip of Bush, Perino said that Bush "was talking about getting Hezbollah -- Syria to help us get Hezbollah to stop attacking innocent people. To me that is very different than whispering sweet nothings into the ear of Dmitri Medvedev on an open mic right after a press session."
Gillespie and Card jumped in with criticism of Obama and praise for Bush on a variety of subjects. Since there were no progressives on for balance, there was no one to point out that Obama's comments were not all that controversial since, according to Obama, he was referring to the fact that anything he could do on missile defense would require bipartisan buy-in, which is not very likely during an election year.
The nearly 11-minute segment concluded with Perino, herself a Fox News host, saying: "It was great to be with friends."
Straight news, indeed.