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Fox Asks White House: Are "We Getting [Your] Message Out?"

Reported by Melanie - April 7, 2006

The highly esteemed British journalist, Robert Fisk of the London Independent, recently wrote that the U.S. media is so quick to report "news" based solely on what "U.S. officials say," that it should simply call itself, "U.S. Officials Say."

It's one thing that our media is so unreserved about quoting "U.S. officials" or "American officials," or "White House officials," or "a Bush administration official," but it's another when one of its members sends a reporter to the White House begging to know if it is "getting the [White House] message out," or "telling the whole [White House] story." Yet that is precisely what Fox News did today (April 7, 2006).

This morning George Bush said:

To keep our economy creating jobs and opportunity, Congress needs to show its trust in the American people and make the tax relief permanent.

Bush also said the lower tax rates have helped create 5.1 million new jobs since August 2003:

The facts have proven the critics wrong 5.1 million times over.

This afternoon, nine minutes into Fox's "business news" show, Your World w/Neil Cavuto, substitute host David Asman headed to a break with this:

Well, more than two million jobs created [Bush said 5.1 million - which is it?], unemployment just at 4.7%, that at historic levels. Stocks are hitting multiple year highs and the housing market is still hot, so why do some think Treasury Secretary Snow, with that record, should resign?

Returning from the break, Asman introduced Fox's Stuart Varney, live, at the White House, with this:

Lots of rumors that U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow would soon be out of a job, even though the economy still remains strong.

To Varney and Snow, standing on the White House lawn. Varney:

You have just had a meeting with the President of the United States. Did he take you to the woodshed about getting the good news out about the economy?

Snow babbled on about how this morning's employment numbers were "extraordinarily good news."


The economic news is very strong. The President's standing in the polls is very weak. Are we getting the message out? Are we telling the whole story and if not, why not?

Snow said, "There is a well-performing economy in the United States today."


Do you think the administration is getting the credit for this well-performing economy?

Snow said news "always lags" but the economy is on the right course. He said, "people's income are rising" and "they've got more money in their pocket."

Varney: "What's your plan from here on out to get the word out?" And, "Is the economy booming? Would you say that?"

Snow said the economy is "just about where it should be."


It sometimes seems that the Republicans have lost the economic debate, lost the debate on tax cuts to stimulate the economy.

Snow: "No, I don't think so."

And that was the end of that segment.

Several minutes later, Fox showed a graphic advertising tomorrow's "Forbes on Fox." The featured topic will be, "Disaster if Congress Lets the Tax Cuts Expire?" (Ignore the question mark. Fox puts a question mark at the end of all its pronouncements.)

Next came the second segment with Varney interviewing Nicolle Wallace, the White House Communications Director.


Ah, Ms. Wallace, it's clear that the economy is doing very well. It is strong indeed. I put it to you though, you are losing the political debate because the lower 25% of the population is not sharing in the economic good news.

Wallace, "begged to differ" said, "what people are keeping after they pay taxes is up 8%."


Is it evenly spread? Is it spread throughout the population or is it concentrated in a group in the population?

Wallace claimed there is a "perceived wage gap," but that we have to "tackle that with education" and make it so everyone can "compete and succeed in this economy."

Comment: Varney's leading questions obviously gave the Bush people an opportunity to spin their yarn. If there's anything more Fax can do to lend a hand at spreading the bull, I'm sure the White House will call, and I'm also sure Fox will oblige.

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