In First Year, Obama Presides Over 4.1 Million Jobs Lost, Most Since 1940

JobsUnemployment shot up in 2009 from 7.7 percent in January to 10.1 percent in October before settling at 10 percent in December. Behind those percentages were more than 4.1 million people who lost their jobs during the year. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that's the most job losses in a year since 1940. (BLS could only provide data from 1940-2009)

But don't expect journalists to label President Barack Obama the worst jobs president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945). The media spent 2009 trying to shield Obama from the troubling numbers.

ABC's Charles Gibson called the loss of 539,000 jobs in April a "marked improvement" May 8, 2009, because fewer jobs were lost than in March. In June 2009, Gibson was talking again about "hopeful" signs in the job numbers as more Americans were out of work.

Also in 2009, CBS's own economic "grim reaper," Anthony Mason said the "economy's showed signs of improving." While NBC also found "positive trends" to discuss - specifically mentioning "2,100 new reasons" to be "hopeful" in Georgia.

The Business & Media Institute compared 2009 unemployment rates in the first seven months of Obama's presidency to a similar period of rising unemployment under Pres. Ronald Reagan in 1982.

BMI found network mentions of the presidential administration were 13 times more negative under Reagan than Obama. The Reagan White House was connected to negative jobs data almost twice as often as Obama and identical unemployment rates (9.4 percent) were "good news" under Obama, but "all" bad for Reagan.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.