Fox: the Socialist News Network

No wonder why the Conservatives are screaming their  heads off about Socialism. Not to mention they don't even know the real definition!

Fox: the Socialist News Network

To watch Fox News on Tuesday, you'd think a new Berlin Wall was about to be erected along the banks of the Mississippi. With President Obama signing the stimulus, the word "socialism" was almost never far away from the lips of someone on the network.

A search of transcripts available on Lexis-Nexis -- a limited sample, unfortunately -- for Fox's programming from Tuesday shows that in the span of just six hours, the network managed to squeeze in five segments devoted to a discussion of impending socialism; the words "socialism," "socialist" and "social democracy" were used a total of 37 times. "Your World with Neil Cavuto," "The O'Reilly Factor" and "On the Record with Greta" all managed to stay socialism free, but "Special Report" and "Hannity" each had two segments about it, and "Glenn Beck" had one. No transcript for "FOX Report" was available, but I happened to see the show repeat one of the segments from "Special Report," for a total of six time slots on the subject between 4 p.m. ET and 11 p.m.

Admittedly, the channel wasn't nearly as socialism-heavy before Tuesday. A search of transcripts available for the weekday programming from last week, as well as this Monday, revealed only one additional segment, from "Hannity." There were 58 additional uses of the words "socialism," "socialist" and "social democracy," however. (It's also worth noting that none of these counts include the network's in-house advertising, which, from anecdotal observation Tuesday, seemed to be pushing Beck and Hannity's discussion of the issue pretty hard.)

We did the same search of CNN and MSNBC, over the same time period, and came up with only two occurrences of those key words -- both in the same night, from the mouth of Lou Dobbs, natch.

Considering all that, it might be nice if Fox actually appeared to know what socialism is. Unfortunately, the story from Tuesday's "Special Report" and "Fox Report," a news piece that anchor Bret Baier billed as a "fair and balanced look," gave no indication that reporter Shannon Bream had any idea what she was talking about.

The Library of Economics and Liberty's article on the subject, written by the late Robert Heilbroner, a longtime socialist who was the Norman Thomas Professor of Economics emeritus at the New School, defines socialism as "a centrally planned economy in which the government controls all means of production."

But Bream based her report on the share of the U.S. gross domestic product made up of government spending. That's a unique benchmark, to say the least -- indeed, it's so meaningless that by using it to examine a broad swath of countries worldwide, you could make a decent case that socialism won the Cold War. In Bream's defense, though, she appears to have lifted it almost straight from Jon Meacham and Evan Thomas' recent article in Newsweek, "We're All Socialists Now." But at least the Newsweek writers weren't disingenuous in their use of the statistic; Bream was. Meacham and Thomas wrote:

[T]he numbers clearly suggest that we are headed in a more European direction. A decade ago U.S. government spending was 34.3 percent of GDP, compared with 48.2 percent in the euro zone... In 2010 U.S. spending is expected to be 39.9 percent of GDP, compared with 47.1 percent in the euro zone... As entitlement spending rises over the next decade, we will become even more French...

The architect of this new era of big government? History has a sense of humor, for the man who laid the foundations for the world Obama now rules is George W. Bush, who moved to bail out the financial sector last autumn with $700 billion.

Bream used the same numbers, but her story focused entirely on Obama. In a special touch, before she recited those figures she brushed away the correct definition of "socialism" that had been offered by the Center for American Progress' Heather Bouchey with a curt "semantics aside..."

Moreover, if you look at a bigger picture of the same statistics from the same source,  the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, that 39.9 percent of GDP number doesn't seem quite so out of the ordinary. The figure from 1999 that Meacham and Thomas were the first to use -- government spending at 34.3 percent of GDP -- happens to be the second-lowest the U.S. has seen since at least 1981. The lowest was 34.2 percent, in 2000.

Government spending's share of the GDP has risen under each of the last three Republican presidents, while it fell fell under former President Clinton's watch. Under Ronald Reagan, it reached a high of 37.2 percent, in 1986. George H.W. Bush saw it top out at 38.5 percent in 1992 -- his son watched it climb to a peak of 38.6 percent last year. This year, the OECD projects, it will hit 39.8 percent. 

JojoWazoo JojoWazoo
46-50, F
10 Responses Feb 19, 2009

I am admittedly ultra-conservative, but I read your story, and it doesn't surprise me at all.<br />
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The Republicans are absolutely terrible, and they don't represent true conservatism well. True conservatives would not have spent billions (trillions?) of dollars on foreign wars and would not have conducted the bail-outs.<br />
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I don't believe Obama is far behind George W. Bush in his advance toward socialism; however, his advance is more excusable, as his party shares similar beliefs to socialism, and the Republicans claim to be against it, so it is more heinous for a Republican to advance this country toward socialism. Obama's stimulus and health care bills will cost more than 1 trillion dollars, and probably more, as CBO is notorious for highly underestimating the cost of government programs.<br />
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I wouldn't go as far as to call Fox News as socialist network, however. It is impossible to make a case that Republicans are more for federal spending and government takeovers than Democrats are. And the first point, about how "socialism" is mentioned on Fox News more than on CNN or NBC is a moot point. It doesn't show that socialism is supported by Fox News; all it shows is that it is discussed more on Fox News, a conservative network, for fear of our country's advance toward socialism, than on CNN or NBC, which would refrain from discussing it as it is taboo and their liberal agenda comes dangerously close to supporting socialism.

I get so angry sometimes about all the misinformation or lack of education out there these days. I was glad to hear jojowazoo talk some sense and I wish I could get it to all those idiots who keep e mailing me lies and wanting people to passi t on. I got so angry that I e mailed all the people listed that had forwarded this crap to me. Talk about internet spread of propoganda!!! <br />
I told this lady if she was so against "socialist" ideals, Give up your Social Security, and let your kid (under 10 yrs) work in the local factory while you buy groceries on credit from the factory store. That is, of course after you pay the factory for rent .

You know, I belive that Repulicans and the far right are scared witless. They are spouting the word "socialist' now. Is the word "communist far behind? They said Teddy Roosevelt was a socialist when he started the FDA, they also said the same about FDR when he got social security going. I guess caring about other's makes you a socialist, Guess I am one then.

It's been cross posted here <a href="" target="ep_blank"></a><br />
Check out the discussion.<br />

I fear Krypton is right, but you could try posting in the "Rreversible American Socialism the death of the USA" group. <br />
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Perhaps we could supply them with some cliff notes and a decoder ring?

HAHA. They will need to have socialism described in a bit more of base terms than what you provided above. Enjoyed the story and good luck with the firestorm.

way to go jojowazoo

Tell me where to post it to start up the firestorm!<br />

There's a handful of frightened conservatives on EP that should probably read this story so that they can at least have a grasp on what it is that they are so scared of.