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Fox News "Business Block" Panel Fear Mongers About White House Flexible Work Initiative

Reported by Ellen - April 5, 2010 -

Co-authored by Brian

Saturday's (4/3/10) Cashin' In featured a discussion of the Obama administration’s initiative to promote flexible work policies. As is the norm on the entire “business block” of shows on Fox News, there was absolutely no reporting by the “we report, you decide” network on the topic under discussion, in this case about what steps, exactly, the government plans to take and how they will go about them. Instead, the unbalanced panel spent most of their time fear-mongering about imaginary costs to both taxpayers and businesses. With video.

In her introduction, host Cheryl Casone made no mention of the program costing money. Neither did an article about it in the Christian Science Monitor, hardly a liberal publication. The Monitor merely says the White House forum “is considering possible steps to take, such as federal pilot programs or training for private firms.” A post on the White House blog similarly indicates nothing more than an analysis of the economic benefits of flexible work and the announcement of a pilot program to incorporate flexibility in the government. It does mention that the President’s budget for fiscal year ending 2011 includes funds “to build the knowledge base about work-family policies.” I’ll bet we’re not talking big bucks here.

John Layfield wasted no time using the subject to attack the Obama administration, always the subtext of any “business” discussion on Fox. Layfield said, "This does absolutely zero for jobs. Look, this is something that was created by a bunch of naive ideologues who on Capitol Hill have never had to run a business. Therefore, they don't understand that the flexible work schedule has been in existence since the first caveman hired the next caveman... This is another waste of government money.”

Christian Dorsey, of the Economic Policy Institute and a News Hounds Top Dog, was the lone Obama supporter on the six-person panel. He said, "We have a work force that’s built on an idea that's from the 1940's, where you have a man going to work and a woman managing the home. Now, we have women make up half of the workforce. Many families are two-earner families. You also have single parents, they have real home responsibilities that get neglected. And when they can't take care of home, they’re really not fully present when they're at work. So if you promote flex schedules, you make employees happy, you make them more productive, and that's better for the bottom line of American businesses."

Host Cheryl Casone acknowledged it might be good for morale but questioned, “Is it good for business?” Rather than trying to find out, she went on to quote the president of the National Treasury Employees Union. "The government doesn't have a good record when it comes to flexible work situations. So why do we need to listen to the government?” She added, “Why not just let private businesses do what they need to do?"

Panelist Tracy Byrnes also fear mongered, this time that the initiative signaled some kind of government take over of private business practices. "The government doesn't have a good record when it comes to just about anything these days, Cheryl, and the last thing we need the government doing is telling us how to run our businesses."

Casone added her own bit of fear mongering. "This could be bad for the economy down the line." How? She never said.

Jonas Max Ferris sneered, "I wanted to do this show from home from a webcam, but because the government doesn't mandate that… Why would the government know how to get more work out of a worker than a company?"

Jonathan Hoenig said sarcastically, "The President is an expert in everything… One day it's banking, the next day it's the environment, then it's education, now it's human resources?"

Byrnes, who never seems to make it through a segment without whining, changed the subject in order to whine about the stimulus program. “You’ve got to see how this has failed miserably in the past… We spent all this stimulus money on these supposed shovel-ready projects. We get a whopping 17,000 construction jobs out of it… And you know what, it’s not working… The spending has got to stop.” As if that has anything to do with flexible work policies.

Layfield scoffed, “Why don’t we spend a billion dollars on the feasibility and the development of the wheel?”

Just another "fair and balanced" discussion of a business proposal where a viewer learns next to nothing about the proposal other than the fact that five out of six guests, plus the host, think it's a scary idea from a government you should not trust.