Is Skepticism Un-American?

In a verbal tussle with Fox Business Network host Liz Claman January 24, Business & Media Institute Managing Editor Amy Menefee explained that conservatives are just looking for some balance from the media.

"You get upset when the media is skeptical about certain things and you say that that's un-American," Claman said. "Yet when we're not skeptical you're saying now, ‘Why aren't you skeptical?' Which is it?"

"Well from our perspective ... we just want to hear all the economic sides that are out there which means economists who are talking about, you know, other opportunities, other options," Menefee said about the media coverage of the economic stimulus package. "And there are plenty of economists out there right now who are saying this is not going to do much good."

Menefee also addressed the media coverage of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony to Congress January 17. "[T]hey said that he was embracing a stimulus package, that he was saying that Congress needed to do something quickly. What he actually said was if you wanted to have something like that, then here's what it would need to look like: it would need to be quick; it would need to be effective and those sorts of things," she said.

"But more importantly, even, he said the Fed was not forecasting a recession," Menefee added, "and we saw all kinds of reporting right after that where people said he was, qoute, ‘confirming recession fears' and that he was telling us we're headed toward a recession and that was completely twisting what he said."

"A three-quarter-point inter-meeting cut that's not scheduled is an indication of big fears that something's coming," Claman shot back. "And then you have Ed Lazear [and] Hank Paulson talking about worries about how we really need to push job creation and unemployment is historically low and we do tend to point that out but it just makes you wonder if they know something we don't. You know, I think that in that case that's something that the media needs to look at more closely."

Menefee acknowledged that fears exist, but added, "I think part of the reason that the frenzy has just grown to such a point is that we don't hear as much from those economists are saying, you know, this is not the best solution, that we need permanent tax relief and not just a rebate that we're going to have to repay later."