iOS app Android app More

Karl Frisch

Karl Frisch

Posted February 9, 2009 | 10:52 AM (EST)

Right-Washing the New Deal


It's probably a good thing that cable news generally doesn't draw much of an audience from the 18- to 24-year-old demographic. Otherwise, history professors across the nation could very well be witnessing the undoing of their work to educate students about the dire economic climate the United States faced for much of the 1930s.

Those who have been watching cable news lately have undoubtedly noticed the litany of conservative media figures attempting to rewrite history by denigrating the tremendous successes of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal policies in what amounts to an orchestrated effort to derail the economic recovery plans of President Obama.

Fox News Washington managing editor Brit Hume recently called Roosevelt's policies "a jihad against private enterprise," just after claiming that "everybody agrees, I think, on both sides of the spectrum now, that the New Deal failed." That may be accurate if by "both sides of the spectrum" Hume is referring to the right and far-right over at Fox News.

Hume's own jihad against the facts, however, represents only a small portion of the historical misrepresentations passed off as reasoned debate about the New Deal.

Witness the day-break machinations of the crew over at MSNBC's Morning Joe. During a recent broadcast, Joe Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski kicked off a string of attacks against the president's recovery plan, using the New Deal as their dubious weapon du jour. Mika said of Obama's plan, "I think we're going to have the same unemployment in three or four years, just like the New Deal." That just isn't true -- unemployment fell every year from 1933 through 1937.

CONTINUE READING...

Karl Frisch is a Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog, research, and information center based in Washington, DC. Frisch also contributes to County Fair, a media blog featuring links to progressive media criticism from around the web as well as original commentary. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook or sign-up to receive his columns by email.

A shorter version of this column first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News.