The Washington Post

‘Fox & Friends’ to correct themselves

Mediaite is reporting that “Fox & Friends” will issue a correction tomorrow on the show for having bungled a comparison of unemployment rates at the beginning of President Obama’s term and the present time. As first explained by Media Matters:

During a segment criticizing the Obama administration for its messaging on the economy, a Fox & Friends graphic claimed that the “real unemployment rate” had increased from 7.8% in 2009 to 14.7% now. . . . But in order to make the claim that unemployment had increased from 7.8% to 14.7% during Obama’s time in office, Fox had to conflate two different statistics and completely distort Obama’s jobs record.

To add a girder or two to that point, Fox News cherry-picked different measures of unemployment to persuade its viewers that worklessness had nearly doubled under Obama’s watch. Behold the degree of conviction of “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy when he said on air, “When the president took office, the unemployment rate — the real unemployment rate — was less than 8 percent. Now it stands at 14.7. ” Italics and bold added to transcript to highlight the emphasis in Doocy’s unflinching and factually bankrupt delivery, even though he and his mates have been covering unemployment for some time like only “Fox & Friends” can.

As a special service to the “Fox & Friends” crowd, the Erik Wemple Blog hereby delivers this prediction as to how the correction will be worded. Doocy:

Now, moving on to a bit of housekeeping, yesterday, in a segment on unemployment, we mixed up a couple of numbers on national unemployment rates and trends over recent years. We just wanted to clear that up.

Mistakes in journalism so often result from the very best of intentions: A reporter trying to get the story straight misses a detail or mixes up a couple of quotes or just fails to notice an important consideration. None of this appears to help us understand what went down at “Fox & Friends,” simply because of which political actor ended up sustaining the sting of this error. Check out the tweet below from smart-as-a-tack media reporter David Folkenflik of NPR:

@erikwemple when in recent memory have F&F made an error of fact or judgment that cut the other way?

— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) September 11, 2012
Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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