JEREMY HOLDEN/Media Matters for America:
Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum rewrote economic history to blame President Obama for the recession that began in December 2007, arguing that the economy "got worse" in 2009.
The Commerce Department on Friday reported that the economy grew by 1.5 percent during the second quarter, a slower rate of growth than the first three months of the year. MacCallum, claiming to provide "a little context" to those figures, noted that the economy actually declined throughout 2008. She then put some deceptive Fox spin on the numbers:
It got worse in 2009. In fact, that's when we had our two quarters of consecutive loss and that's what put us into the actual official recessionary status.
Nothing about MacCallum's analysis is true.
The economy reached official recessionary status in December 2007 - not in 2009. It got worse in 2008. In fact, during the final quarter of that year, the economy shrunk by 8.9 percent. Nearly 2 million jobs were lost during that one quarter, which was the worst for economic growth in more than 50 years.
Contrary to MacCallum's claim, the economy did not get worse in 2009. While the economy continued to contract during the first half of 2009, it did so at a slower rate than during the last quarter of 2008 before turning to growth in the second half of that year. The recession officially ended in June 2009.
MacCallum's economic distortion furthers the conservative argument that President Obama made the economy worse.
Meanwhile, actual economists are noting that the economy is not growing quickly enough because of drastic cuts to government spending. Nobel prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called the current economic situation "a picture of an economy hobbled by premature austerity," led by severe cuts in spending by state and local governments. Government spending, which makes up part of the GDP figures released on Friday, has declined for 8 consecutive months.
And while the White House has pushed Congress to pass a jobs bill that would provide aid to states and local governments, Fox News has led a campaign to celebrate the very austerity measures that economists say are hampering economic growth.