Friday, May 3, 2013

Fox News Spin Zone: Decisions, Decisions

I guess you have to have some sympathy for Fox News today. Faced with a surprisingly good monthly jobs report, indicating not just better-than-expected April numbers but also upward revisions of 114,000 jobs in February/March, it must have been difficult to decide to focus on "anemic growth" while avoiding the temptation to blame the good numbers on the sequester. But there could very well be be an insidious reason for Fox's behavior today.

We all remember Karl Rove's meltdown this past Election Day, when Megyn Kelly walked back to the brains in the building who had called Ohio for Romney... That rare piece of actual journalism, including as it did a deference to the science of statistics, was a glaring example of what many of us have known for years: Fox's bias isn't necessarily kneejerk so much as it is deliberate. Overruling Rove's petulant antics, the network stood by their analysts: Obama had clinched the electoral vote, Romney was finished, and four more enjoyable years of shitting on our now-two-term socialist Muslim President stretched out before Fox.

Let's think about this for a minute. As we saw on election night, Fox does occasionally employ (and listen to) educated analysts who look at real data and conclude that x is indeed equal to x. For them, there is no question; the data have spoken.

How many times do the analysts announce a conclusion which is simply ignored by that network? How many times do they perform the same analysis on a bunch of data, presenting their conclusions to an editorial staff which ignores them? Clearly, Fox is capable of drawing (and more importantly airing) rational, data-driven conclusions from rational, data-driven science. Climate change, anyone?

The fact that they intentionally mislead their viewers on a daily basis is nothing new, obviously. But now that we've seen multiple examples of them reporting exactly the opposite of what is evidently true, we can be quit certain that this is by design. Is there any reason to believe their analysts are temp workers, only brought in during the full moon?

Blinded by ideology they frequently are (anything which even SOUNDS 'socialist' is evil), but the destructive nature of their reporting--deliberately withholding truth from their viewers over the conclusions of their OWN analysts--seems to me to confirm the truly insidious nature of their operation.

Getting back to my original point: How does this relate to today's jobs data? Simple... The sequester didn't start until March 1st. Blaming job growth on a policy which, even today, has only just begun to take effect, would be a really stupid thing to do. That's what their analysts told the Fox editorial staff at 8:35AM this morning.

Agreed. Best to stay on the "anemic growth" tangent as long as the numbers are moderately OK. If the numbers turn south, the sequester wasn't NEARLY enough, and it's still Obama's fault. If the numbers get much better, then it's the triumph of the sequester, and we CLEARLY need more austerity. Duh.

See? Fox can't lose. Ever.