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April 1, 2009
1:25 PM

CONTACT: Media Matters for America

Jessica Levin (202) 772-8162

Americans Not Falling for Media's Misleading Coverage of Economy

Poll shows majority of country rejects media narrative blaming Obama for economic crisis

WASHINGTON - April 1 - In response to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showing that only 26 percent of the public blames the Obama administration for the country's economic situation, Media Matters for America released the following statement:

"This poll shows that despite what they are hearing from the media, the public overwhelmingly blames banks, business, and the Bush administration, not President Obama," said Erikka Knuti, a spokeswoman for Media Matters. "The media have repeatedly attached Obama's name to the economic crisis and all but erased the role of the previous administration from their coverage. The American people aren't falling for it."

The Washington Post/ABC News poll, released on March 31, asked respondents who they thought "deserve[d]" the most "blame" for "the country's economic situation." Results for who deserved a "great deal" or "good amount" of blame are as follows:

  • 80 percent said banks and other financial institutions
  • 80 percent said large business corporations
  • 72 percent said consumers
  • 70 percent said the Bush administration
  • 26 percent said the Obama administration

Media Matters has documented how media figures, in their reporting of economic issues, have blamed Obama for the economic recession by disappearing the Bush administration's role and repeatedly referring to the "Obama recession."


As Media Matters has documented, beginning in early November 2008, conservative media figures such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dick Morris, and Hugh Hewitt have asserted that Obama is to blame for the decline of the stock market since the election and have promoted the myth of an "Obama recession." In fact, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession began in December 2007.


Media Matters has documented numerous media outlets declaring the existence of an "Obama bear market." In addition, MSNBC, in numerous reports, used misleading charts to suggest that the Dow only began dropping after Obama's election or inauguration, despite the fact that the Dow was on a downward trajectory h">months before the election, dropping 3,738 points from May 2, 2008, to November 3, 2008.


The "Obama bear market" is just one example of a pattern -- documented by Media Matters -- of the media leaving out relevant information about the role of Bush-era policies in discussing the current state of the economy. For example, in a March 8 Associated Press "analysis," Tom Raum suggested that Obama is to blame for job losses since he took office and even before he did so -- an argument rejected even by conservative CNBC host and National Review Online economics editor Larry Kudlow.

For more information on the media's coverage of the economic crisis, visit


Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

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