Couric Uses Bad News to Tout How 'Stimulus' Bill 'Is Creating' Jobs

CBS anchor Katie Couric on Friday night used the jump in the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent to cheerlead for how the “stimulus” bill is “creating” jobs, an impact her newscast illustrated with two full stories after reporter Anthony Mason declared: “It's the government that's going to have to pull us out of this recession.” (On ABC's World News, Betsy Stark similarly saw salvation in the stimulus spending. Citing predictions of even higher unemployment, she contended: “That's why the stimulus plan is so important. If it's successful, those huge job losses should slow down.”)

Couric teased the CBS Evening News: “The recession has now cost nearly four-and-a-half million Americans their jobs. We'll show you the new jobs his stimulus plan is creating.” She then led by promising: “In a moment we'll be telling you about all the jobs the stimulus plan is creating, but first, why those jobs are so desperately needed.”

Following Mason's story on the rise in the unemployment rate, Couric championed how the government spending is coming to the rescue: “Some of the $787 billion in stimulus money designed to create new jobs is already flowing through the pipe line. At the other end of it, millions of people are waiting hopefully for work. We have two reports tonight...”

Jeff Glor highlighted 5,000 Philadelphia transit system jobs generated by $191 million in stimulus bill funding and concluded : “For blue collar workers, the checks can't come quickly enough.”

Next, Ben Tracy checked in from a medical clinic in Los Angeles, where he trumpeted:
The money here will help treat the growing number of working poor needing subsidized health care. These overwhelmed doctors have already seen 5,000 more patients in just the past year. The stimulus money will give them what they need most -- more co-workers. All white collar.
Tracy ended with how “approximately 1.1 million traditionally white collar jobs are expected to be created by the stimulus package, everything from financial services to education and health care.”

ABC's Betsy Stark wrapped up her World News piece on unemployment:
One economist calculated today that if Americans continue to lose jobs at the pace we've been seeing over the last six months, the unemployment rate will top ten percent by June and over 12 percent by the end of the year. That's why the stimulus plan is so important. If it's successful, those huge job losses should slow down.
Highlights from the Friday, March 6 CBS Evening News:

Katie Couric's tease:
Tonight, the President calls it “astounding.” The recession has now cost nearly four-and-a-half million Americans their jobs. We'll show you the new jobs his stimulus plan is creating...
Couric opened the program:
And good evening, everyone. In a moment, we'll be telling you about all the jobs the stimulus plan is creating, but first, why those jobs are so desperately needed. The government reported today that the unemployment rate has jumped another half point to 8.1 percent. Now that's the highest rate in more than a quarter century. Another 651,000 jobs vanished in February, which means that since the recession began, we have now lost 4.4 million jobs. The President calls that astounding. Anthony Mason begins our coverage tonight...
Following Mason's report, viewers heard this exchange:
COURIC: I know the government is going to be creating jobs as we mentioned through the stimulus package and health care, as you just told us, is another promising sector. Are there any other jobs to be had, any other areas that are programming?

MASON: In the private sector, Katie, right now it's really only health care and education. It's the government that's going to have to pull us out of this recession, but we have an opportunity here to reconsider what kind of new jobs we need to create in this new economy as we go forward. We've been hearing from companies for years there aren't enough scientists, there aren't enough engineers, there aren't enough mathematicians. So we can look in that direction. Of course, if you've been working on an assembly line, that's not going to help you right now.
Couric soon set up her promised look at all the jobs the federal spending is creating:
Some of the $787 billion in stimulus money designed to create new jobs is already flowing through the pipe line. At the other end of it, millions of people are waiting hopefully for work. We have two reports tonight...
After Glor on blue collar jobs, Ben Tracy showcased the benefits to a Los Angeles medical clinic:
The money here will help treat the growing number of working poor needing subsidized health care. These overwhelmed doctors have already seen 5,000 more patients in just the past year. The stimulus money will give them what they need most-- more co-workers. All white collar. Just three weeks ago, this clinic laid off 20 people. Now with the stimulus money, they're hoping to rehire ten, everything from doctors to technicians to the medical assistants working the front desk.

...

[A]pproximately 1.1 million traditionally white collar jobs are expected to be created by the stimulus package, everything from financial services to education and health care. But right now, any job is a big boost for a community, no matter the color of the collar.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center