The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

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


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

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 misleadingcharts 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 months
before the election
, dropping 3,738 points from May 2, 2008, to November 3,


"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

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.