Network reduces Obama's bank bailout savings by 99 percent


You probably think we're talking about last week's flub.

But no -- another day, another Fox News reporting "mistake" that conveniently supports the news network's editorial bias.

The nation's most-watched 24-hour news channel has made no less than two politically-loaded math errors in the past several days. First, the network reported that a vast majority of Americans -- 94 percent -- believe that climate scientists have falsified research into global warming (see picture below). The only problem is, according to Fox's poll graphic, the total number of participants in the poll adds up to 120 percent.

The network had been reporting on a Rasmussen poll that shows considerably different numbers. It appears Fox added the number of people who said data falsification was "very likely" (35 percent) to the number of people who thought it was "somewhat likely" (24 percent) and then presented that sum -- 59 percent -- as the number of people who said it was "somewhat likely."

Any independent observer will certainly note the coincidence that the fudged number makes it look like a disproportionately large part of the US population is opposed to climate change legislation, a favorite whipping boy of Fox news hosts.

"It's impossible to tell what motivated Fox to distort Rasmussen's data this way," writes Simon Maloy at media watchdog MediaMatters. "The network as a whole has quite obviously sided with the 'skeptics' and regularly plays host to a whole roster of petroleum industry-funded climate change deniers. Then again, it very well may be that the graphics department simply got confused once they started adding percentages together and didn't catch the mistake before it went on the air."

An innocent mistake? Perhaps. But given that Fox presented the numbers broken down the same way as the Rasmussen poll, why would they have even bothered adding those numbers up in the first place?

Fox producer Lauren Petterson, executive producer of Fox & Friends, said in an interview Tuesday that graphic wasn't erroneous.

“We were just talking about three interesting pieces of information from Rasmussen,” Petterson said. “We didn’t put on the screen that it added up to 100 percent.”

Then, on Tuesday, as the network broadcast a speech by President Barack Obama in which the president announced that the US will spend $200 billion less on bank bailouts than previously estimated, the chyron at the bottom of the Fox News screen announced that the president's bailout savings would amount to ... $2 billion.

Raw Story has confirmed that, as of press time, Fox News hasn't corrected the error on air. But they certainly must know what the actual figure is, as the online version of the story correctly cited the $200-billion figure. (That bit of good news for taxpayers is buried way at the bottom of Fox's story.)

Fox's factual errors -- which somehow always seem to lean towards the network's conservative bias, rather than against it -- are quickly becoming the stuff of legend.

This past summer, the network was broadly criticized after MediaMatters uncovered footage of a Fox producer stage-managing a crowd at the 9/12 Tea Party rally.

Then in November the network made a similar sort of "mistake" when it showed footage from that 9/12 rally when covering a much smaller protest organized by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). A week later, the network went for the hat trick and used footage from a 2008 presidential campaign rally to depict a Sarah Palin book-signing.

The following video was broadcast on Fox News, December 8, 2009, and uploaded to the Web by DailyKosTV.

-- David Edwards contributed to this report