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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 02:24 PM ET, 09/11/2012

‘Fox & Friends’ botches unemployment comparison

Here we go again, as Media Matters for America (MMfA) attacks the Fox News morning program “Fox & Friends.” This time the problem is a graphic that appeared on this morning’s edition:


Media Matters makes the case “Fox & Friends” comparison of “real”* unemployment rates — shorthand for a more comprehensive measurement than the traditionally cited official unemployment rate---is off the mark. The change from 2009 to 2012, it notes, isn’t 7.8% to 14.7%, as indicated in the on-air graphic. It is 14.2% to 14.7%.

The rap against “Fox & Friends” here is that it used a smaller rate for the 2009 figure — that is, the official unemployment rate — and compared it against the 2012 “real” unemployment rate, with the result that the Obama administration looks as if it has presided over a doubling of worklessness in the country. Implicit in Media Matters’ critique is an expectation that “Fox & Friends” compare apples to apples in the interest of fairness and intelligent dialogue. Which is asking way too much of these people.


*Here’s an explanation of this “real” rate, in the words of this site:

The U6 unemployment rate counts not only people without work seeking full-time employment ..., but also counts “marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons.” Note that some of these part-time workers counted as employed by [the official unemployment rate] could be working as little as an hour a week. And the “marginally attached workers” include those who have gotten discouraged and stopped looking, but still want to work. The age considered for this calculation is 16 years and over.

By  |  02:24 PM ET, 09/11/2012

 
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