Fox News put up a graphic on the US economy that could be one of the most misleading in the network’s history. The graphic portrayed the American workforce at the “Trump peak” of December 2019 on one side and Biden in October 2021 on the other side. Under the Trump column, the number was 164,579,000 and under the Biden column, 161,458,000. Underneath, there was a large red downward arrow that read “3,121,000 fewer under Biden.” This graphic is deceptive for a number of reasons: For one, Fox cherrypicked Trump’s best month because the job force has actually grown overall in America since Biden has taken office. Next, they left out the X factor that is the COVID pandemic. Both presidents had to serve in the era of COVID, but only one had that reflected in the on-screen statistic. The labor force participation rate is also not a great indictor of the overall economy. It does not take into account people who are working for low wages and people who would like to retire but need to keep working because they don’t have enough savings. Finally, both the total number of people working and the total number of people not working tend to grow over time, as the population of the United States is growing. With this graphic, Fox could teach a course on how to lie with statistics, but unfortunately most of its viewers will be unable or unwilling to see through it.
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