Credo Action

Demand corrections from FOX affiliates for Social Security propaganda

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Petition to: News directors at local Fox affiliates

Issue an on-air correction to your recent report saying that Social Security benefit cuts are imminent. Instead of scaremongering that Social Security will go broke in 2022, you should report the truth: Social Security has a $2.9 trillion surplus, can pay out 100 percent of benefits owed for the next 17 years and approximately 80 percent of benefits owed after that. In fact, we could afford to not only protect benefits well into the future, but expand Social Security, simply by asking the wealthy to pay the same rate into Social Security as everyone else.

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    Demand corrections from FOX affiliates for Social Security propaganda

    More than 60 Fox affiliates just launched a coordinated assault on Social Security.

    They aired similar versions of a news report claiming that Social Security is in crisis and benefit cuts are imminent. The truth – that the program can pay out full benefits for almost two decades and we can protect and expand benefits by making the wealthy pay their fair share – was nowhere to be found.1

    This was a synchronized propaganda push intended to spread fears about Social Security in local markets across the country, and we need to demand immediate, on-air corrections.

    Demand corrections from Fox affiliates for Social Security propaganda. 

    Local news is where right-wing, corporate interests like Fox and Sinclair are at their most insidious: pushing propaganda and outright lies on overworked, underfunded local stations and an unaware public.

    The progressive media accountability organization Media Matters caught more than 60 Fox affiliates airing a misleading doomsday report about Social Security with only minor variations. Across the country, local viewers heard that Social Security was in an imminent crisis that would inevitably result in benefit cuts as soon as 2022.2

    But these reports deliberately refused to tell the truth:3

    • Social Security trustees have long anticipated any shortfall due to baby boomer retirements
    • The nearly $3 trillion trust fund built up for exactly that reason will protect benefits until 2034 – not 2022
    • Asking the wealthy to pay their fair share by removing the cap that exempts income over $128,400 from being taxed would allow us to protect and even expand Social Security.

    Fox affiliates engaged in dangerous fear-mongering at best and outright right-wing propaganda at worst. That's why we're joining our friends at Social Security Works to show these local stations, dependent on viewers and sensitive to public pressure, that we won't let them get away with it.

    Demand corrections from FOX affiliates for Social Security propaganda. 

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. Zachary Pleat, "Dozens of local Fox affiliates run misleading segments pushing Social Security benefit cuts," Media Matters for America, May 30, 2018.
    2. Ibid.
    3. Ibid.