Fox News compares apples to rotten oranges to make it appear as if Barack Obama has presided over a near-doubling of the ranks of the unemployed.
Media Matters first spotted the inconsistency. Simply put, Fox & Friends juxtaposed unemployment in January 2009 — calculated to measure the number of unemployed people actively looking for work — with a different measure of unemployment in August 2012, calculated to include disaffected and marginally attached workers.
A direct comparison is less misleading, but also less eye-popping.
The standard measure of unemployment (U-3) when Obama took office was 7.9 percent. Now it’s 8.1 percent.
The broader measure of unemployment (U-6) when Obama took office was 14.2 percent. Now it’s 14.7 percent.
Here’s how Fox mixed and matched the figures:
Using January 2009 figures of any kind papers over the fact that the economy (and thus the unemployment rate) was in free fall when Obama took office. An email to a Fox spokesperson was not immediately returned.
UPDATE: Fox & Friends issued a correction Wednesday morning. Video below, via Mediaite:
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.