CNN Fails to Refute Bogus Numbers Claiming 'Obama Spending Binge Never Happened'

CNN failed to correct bogus numbers claiming that the growth rate of spending under President Obama is the lowest since Eisenhower. Instead, host Erin Burnett reported the news as something positive for the White House.

While most anyone with common sense would label Obama a big spender, the MarketWatch report – re-circulated by the White House – absurdly claims Obama's "spending binge never happened." And CNN did not discount that argument although they twice reported on it.

Host Anderson Cooper, who runs critical "Keeping Them Honest" reports daily, missed the story entirely. Cooper said just the other night that the slogan "Keeping Them Honest" is "not just a catchphrase" but "our calling," but a take-down of the numbers was nowhere to be found on his Thursday night show.

Burnett, to her credit, provided some context in reporting that "spending under Obama as a percent of GDP is higher than most of the past 60 years" but still admitted that "one thing to take away from this is the President's story on this is much better than a lot of the American people give him credit for. I just don't understand why he wouldn't make more of a stink about it."

The report credits President Bush with the 2009 jump in federal spending, after which the growth rate slowed to a crawl under Obama. "Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower," the report says, noting that spending is rising at a 1.4 percent annual pace under Obama.

Although fact-checking outfit PolitiFact was asleep at the wheel, even the Washington Post gave the MarketWatch report three Pinocchios. "The data in the article are flawed," argues the Post's Glenn Kessler, "and the analysis lacks context — context that could easily could be found in the budget documents released by the White House."

And this Investor's Business Daily piece offers another smack-down of the numbers. The editorial argues that since TARP was a loan but was included in the budget outlays, and since much of the bailout money for Fannie and Freddie was spent in 2009, spending under Bush was "exaggerated" when the TARP money was loaned out and Obama's spending hikes were blurred when the loans were paid back and the bailouts subsided.

"[W]hen you fix Nutting's mistakes, it turns out that Obama jacked up spending 12 percent in 2010, IBD argues.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014