The media said there was "good" but "not great" news on the unemployment front in September with 103,000 jobs added, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate remained 9.1 percent.
But even with that growth, Obama's jobs promises have fallen far short. His economic policies were supposed to create 4 million jobs by the end of 2010. Now, ten months later the economy is still dealing with net job losses of 2,229,000 since February 2009.
The Solyndra scandal is certainly an "embarrassment" for the White House, as some network news reports have called it. But somehow those same reports have still failed to criticize Obama's green jobs programs for fiscal waste, even the government loan program that gave Solyndra millions.
To their credit, all three broadcast networks aired stories in September about the California solar company that declared bankruptcy in August after getting a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government in September 2009. But out of 11 network stories on Solyndra this year (most in September), not a single one used the company's failure to criticize the loan program it used to get more than half a billion taxpayer dollars.
Just like in Groundhog Day when Bill Murray wakes up to the same day each and every morning, it appears Americans will feel a frustrating sense of déjà vu listening to President Obama's jobs speech on Sept. 8.
According to Bloomberg, Obama's not-so-new plan "follows the contours of his $830 billion 2009 economic stimulus package." This time around, Obama will call for $300 billion for tax breaks and infrastructure spending. Never mind that the first one didn't work as promised. Meanwhile, the network news media are treating the ideas from his speech like new solutions, instead of more of the same.
Ahead of the Sept. 2 release of the August jobs report, surveys had indicated the economy had added anywhere from 75,000 to 100,000 jobs that month. But those estimates turned out to be very wrong. Just minutes ahead of the release, CNBC’s Rick Santelli went out on a limb predicting that no jobs had been added in August.
Santelli was right about that number. As CNBC reported just minutes later, not a single job was added overall to the payroll numbers and the unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent. The previous two months were revised downward to show an additional 58,000 jobs lost.
While campaigning President Obama promised to create 5 million “green” jobs, and shortly into his term he announced a “task force” to do just that. His stimulus package included tax credits for renewable energy companies, allotted funds for weatherization and more. Now with the economy once again on shaky ground the President may pivot back to jobs in September, specifically of the “green” variety.
More than two years later after those initiatives began, the results are dismal. In fact a number of the very companies the Obama administration touted as future job creators have gone bankrupt or had to lay off employees instead. But you won’t hear about this from ABC, CBS and NBC very often.
The recent decision by Standard & Poor's to downgrade the U.S. credit rating to AA+ from AAA upset many on the left, especially those within the Obama administration. The White House lashed out at S&P and some in the news media did too. So Business & Media Institute decided to look back at six years of network (ABC,CBS and NBC) coverage of S&P.
BMI found out that bulk of network criticism of the ratings agency came AFTER the Obama administration went on the attack and that the networks relied on S&P experts three times more than they criticized them.
If you've been watching the news media react to the debt ceiling deal you might thing some drastic spending cuts were signed into law. After all, ABC made it sound like Congress took a "machete" to the budget and NBC's "Today" wondered if those spending cuts could harm the economy.
What has been completely missing from much of the network reporting was an admission that the deal "doesn't cut federal spending at all," according to a Cato scholar. The national debt is still projected to go up $12 trillion in 10 years under the plan.
That's right. Not one bit of cuts. Chris Edwards, Cato Institute's director of tax policy studies, explained that despite some media outlets view that the cuts were "sharp" and "severe" (He cited The Washington Post), the cuts aren't what Washington politicians and media made it sound like. They are really cuts to projected growth of spending and debt, something Investor's Business Daily exposed on July 22 in a front-page article.
As the debt ceiling “compromise” progressed on August 1, NPR revealed its slant against the bill in interviews with Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
But it was the phrasing of one particular question during Dreier’s interview that prompted more than 20 listener complaints that called it “hostile, “rude” and proof of “liberal bias,” according to the response by NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos. Schumacher-Matos described the question as “a virtual sucker punch.” (Listen to the interview here)
The “leading question” (by NPR’s own admission) Steve Inskeep had asked Dreier was, “Given that your speaker, in his words, said months ago that it would be a serious problem not to raise the debt ceiling, why did House Republicans spend this summer threatening to torpedo the economy by defaulting?”
The 2010 elections, which changed the balance of power in the House, were driven by popular opposition to government spending, debt and the threat of tax increases. Yet even with the federal debt limit already breached and only days left to prevent a national default, the media continue to ignore the public's wishes.
The theme of network reports on the debt ceiling battle is that some agreement MUST be reached so that the limit can be increased, but many Americans disagree with raising the debt limit and are more concerned about government spending. But that has barely been mentioned in stories.
Polls taken by Gallup, CBS and AP have all registered significant worry about federal debt and opposition to an increase in the debt ceiling. But ABC, CBS and NBC coverage of the debt limit battle being waged on Capitol Hill has not reflected that fact.
Out of 45 reports on the broadcast network's evening news programs between June 16 and July 12, only one mentioned a poll that showed public opposition to raising the debt ceiling. That's a mere 2 percent of reports. An additional two stories had some reference to what the public might think, but without polling data.
A senior political adviser to the Obama administration said on July 6 that in 2012, people won't be voting based on the unemployment rate, according to The Hill newspaper.
Of course, adviser David Plouffe said that two days before the June jobs report was released. Ahead of the jobs report, economists anticipated 100,000 or 125,000 jobs to have been added that month. Truth be told, on July 8, the jobs report showed only 18,000 jobs added and plenty of other "lousy" news.
The United States is in debt up to its eyeballs - or more realistically the Statue of Liberty's eyeballs. On May 16, America hit the debt ceiling. which is slightly less than $14.3 trillion. That works out to about $46,000 for every man, woman and child in the nation.
Despite those staggering numbers, the broadcast networks have relegated their coverage primarily to the politics involved, rather than the economics. Reporters have complained about the "partisan sniping" over spending cuts or tax hikes, but have barely included any economists in their coverage.
CNNMoney.com described the debt ceiling as "a cap set by Congress on the amount of debt the federal government can legally borrow." The Obama administration wanted a "clean" (read unconditional) vote on raising the debt limit and got its wish on May 31, when the House voted down such a debt limit increase with a large bipartisan majority (318 nays, 97 yeas).
It is no longer a secret that President Obama's administration is willing to allow electricity prices to "necessarily skyrocket," in order to accomplish his green energy agenda.
Although he has so far been unsuccessful at instituting cap-and-trade, Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hard at work running coal companies and consumers into the ground. Not that you'd know it from ABC, NBC and CBS news coverage.
According to Paul Bedard's June 8 Washington Whispers column in US News & World Report, "two new EPA pollution regulations will slam the coal industry so hard that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, and electric rates will skyrocket 11 percent to over 23 percent, according to a new study based on government data."
CNBC panelists and guests always make predictions in the minutes leading up to the Labor Department's release of the jobs report and June 3 was no exception.
While economists Diane Swonk and Mark Zandi and CNBC's own Steve Liesman all made predictions of job gains between 100,000 and 150,000 - Rick Santelli threw his own lower prediction in just seconds before the announcement: 55,000. (Video available here)
Frank dismissed questions about the “potential ethical conflict,” of regulating Fannie Mae while Herb Moses, whom Frank has called his “spouse,” worked there from 1991 through 1998.
The New York Times reporter Gretchen Morgensen was the first to report Frank’s role in helping Moses get the job at Fannie Mae, according to the Herald. The Boston paper also reported that in a May 24, radio interview on WBUR’s “Fresh Air,” Morgensen said Fannie Mae “rolled out the red carpet” for Moses to “curry favor with Frank and other members of the Financial Services Committee."
The cause for the end of the world has been imagined by screenwriters to include everything from giant insects and malevolent robots to asteroids the size of Texas. But five year ago in May 2006, Hollywood found a new menace: carbon dioxide. This scenario was different in another respect. It was supposedly true.
The documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" wasn't intended to be the blockbuster end-of-the-world tale that "Armageddon" was, but it was intended to frighten. The new film was full of disaster footage and catastrophic predictions about climate change. Its leading man: former vice president Al Gore.
The apocalyptic warning earned nearly $50 million worldwide and turned Gore into a "movie star," according to the fawning networks. Gore won accolades, including an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize. Reporters and anchors on ABC, CBS and NBC also made a hero of Apocalypse Al, embracing his views and bringing on guests with the same views including one who said Gore had been busy "saving the planet - literally."
Gore received almost entirely uncritical coverage from the network morning and evening shows over global warming, despite plenty of evidence - scientific evidence - that would have discredited him and his film. Since the movie's release, nearly 98 percent of those stories have excluded criticism of the so-called "science" of the film.
The April jobs report showed 244,000 job gains, “surprisingly strong” numbers according to the Kansas City Star. Many national news outlets reported that jobs number as well as the rise in unemployment rate back to 9 percent in their headlines immediately reacting to the news.
In another CNBC.com story they also said “the numbers suggested that a good portion of the boost came from McDonald’s, which moved to hire 50,000 workers last month.” While encouraging signs, don’t expect the news media to advertise that April was still the 27th month in which the unemployment rate was above 8 percent.
The average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline hit $3.86 on April 25, more than $1-a-gallon higher than a year earlier and less than 25 cents away from the record high price of gasoline set in July 2008.
In fact, per gallon prices are more than $2 higher than when Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009. Yet the president has been nearly exempt from criticism on the issue of rising prices, despite a six-month drilling moratorium and more regulatory hurdles for industry.
The Business & Media Institute found that out of the 280 oil price stories the network evening shows have aired since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, only 1 percent (3 stories) mentioned Obama’s drilling ban or other anti-oil actions in connection with gasoline prices.
On April 20, 2010, a horrific oil spill took place in the Gulf of Mexico on British Petroleum's (BP) Deepwater Horizon rig. Since that day, gas prices have risen nearly $1-a-gallon to $3.83 per gallon. President Barack Obama's anti-oil policies, including a drilling moratorium are at least part of the reason for that dramatic spike. But you will rarely hear that from the mainstream media.
It certainly isn't the story the network evening news shows have told their viewers since the oil spill. Out of 280 oil price stories since the disastrous pill, just 1 percent (3 out of 280) mentioned any connection between Obama's anti-oil efforts, such as the drilling moratorium, and rapidly rising gas prices.
If you think it has gotten pricey to fill up your car's gas tank, imagine having to fill the 50,000 gallon or larger tank on a 747. Jet fuel costs51.4 percent more than it did a year ago, according to IATA and that is taking a huge toll on the airlines.
But when the airlines raise prices or ad fees to make up for the increased cost of flying, the network news media respond with charges of gouging or "nickel and diming" passengers. Some reporters even go to extremes to find as many fees as possible, in order to stoke viewer anger against the industry, other ignore the many airline bankruptcies and billions in losses in the recent years.
The massive earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan on March 11 claimed many lives and knocked the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant offline reviving decades-old fears as well as liberal media bias about nuclear power.
The news media have promoted anti-nuclear positions since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, although that incident did not injure or kill anyone and no long-term health impacts have been proven. At that time though, the frightening network coverage was "eerily similar" to the fictional Hollywood account of a nuclear disaster in a film released just days earlier: "The China Syndrome."
Three Mile Island was no "China Syndrome," yet some press outlets specifically sent reporters who had seen the film to cover the Harrisburg, Pa. nuclear accident, according to a PBS program aired in 1999.
The unemployment rate finally dropped below 9 percent in February 2011, after 21 months at that rate or higher. The Labor Department reported March 4 that the rate had dropped 0.1 percent to 8.9 percent. The New York Times called it a “notable” improvement, but in 1983, the Times was downbeat about better jobs news.
“The economic waiting game may soon be over, as businesses signal that they are finally willing to resume widespread hiring,” the March 5, 2011, story by Catherine Rampell began.
In that report, Rampell also emphasized that the 192,000 jobs added that month were the most for job growth in almost a year. Her Times report suggested the rate “could rise temporarily in the next few months, as stronger job growth lures some discouraged workers to look for jobs again.”
The last time the unemployment rate dropped below 9 percent after a long period above that marker was in 1983 under President Reagan. Back then the Times was much less encouraged by the jobs report, despite a monthly drop that was five times the size of this year’s.
As gas prices rose in 2008, network reporters mentioned President Bush in 15 times as many stories than they brought up President Obama in a similar period in 2011.
Bush drew gallons of coverage in 2008. Comparing a 20-day span of rising gas prices in 2008 to 24 days of rising prices in February 2011, the Business & Media Institute found the networks did more than 2 ½ times as many stories during the Bush years versus Obama.
Reporters also portrayed this as a national union issue, but mostly failed to point out the national problem of pension underfunding.
Actually, the battle is the result of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's attempts to balance the state budget by asking roughly 300,000 state employees to contribute more to their pension funds and health insurance and give up the ability to negotiate more than their wages. According to CNNMoney, the state faces a $3.6 billion budget deficit.
Only 1 out of 24 network evening stories about the Wisconsin "feud" since Feb. 16, reported a critical number relating to union pensions: $1 trillion. That's the huge deficit facing public workers' pensions in America and the reason Walker and other state governors are facing tough choices including demanding public workers contribute more.
When conservatives gather behind closed doors, the left plans protests and counter events. When the left plans a closed-door meeting, it gets almost no attention at all.
Politico reported briefly on Feb. 16, that Democratic operatives will gather in early March for a private strategy conference. That has gotten little attention or criticism, yet when conservatives gather at the semiannual Koch conference the left mounts elaborate protests.
“Participants include Obama campaign pollsters Joel Benenson and Paul Harstad, the 2010 executive directors of the DSCC, DCCC, and DGA, Organizing for America deputy director Jeremy Bird, SEIU political director Jon Youngdahl, and current DSCC executive director Guy Cecil,” Politico’s Ben Smith said.
When the latest “semiannual confab of conservative activists” hosted by Charles and David Koch took place, people on the left from environmentalists to unions held a counter-meeting called “Uncloaking the Kochs.” The Los Angeles Times covered the protests and even linked to streaming video of the lefties’ event, but didn’t quote a single conservative in that story.
Infidelity. Adultery. Those aren't exactly words that come on typical candy conversation hearts. Valentine's Day is after all a traditional holiday of love and romance, not of cheating and betrayal.
Yet, Bloomberg Businessweek used the holiday to highlight AshleyMadison.com a website that helps married people (7 out of 10 on the site are men) have affairs. The company's motto is "Life is short. Have an affair."
Like Ashley Madison, Bloomberg Businessweek must be counting on the idea that "sex sells." The magazine's offensively sexed-up cover design showed a woman's spread, fishnet-clad legs and was clearly an attempt to grab readers. On the newsstand copy those legs take up a little more than a quarter of the page, but an image on the BusinessWeek website shows a much larger image of legs taking up the entire cover.
The coal industry not only gets attacked by the media for being a "dirty" fossil fuel, it rarely gets positive coverage because the networks focus on disasters.Since January 1, 2010, nearly 80 percent of the broadcast network stories about coal were related to tragic mining accidents. Only 14 percent of stories mentioned coal in any context other than a mine disaster or natural disaster that affected mining.
On January 13, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency took the unprecedented step of revoking a water permit from Arch Coal's Spruce Mine No. 1. That was in line with President Obama's threats to "bankrupt" the coal industry and a "virtual moratorium" on coal permitting, yet the networks didn't mention it in a single story.
With the recent unrest in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere in the Mideast, there is reason to be concerned about energy security and rising prices right now. If turmoil were to spread in the oil-rich region, energy prices could spike further.
During the first week of February, oil prices rose to the highest level since October 2008 because of Egypt concerns, according to Platts.com. In the U.S., the national average for unleaded gasoline has been above $3-a-gallon since late December (Dec. 23). Egypt produces 660,000 barrels of oil per day according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA), and 4.5 percent of the world's oil travels through its Suez Canal.
Jobs are heading up and down at the same time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the morning of Feb. 4 that only 36,000 jobs were added in the month of January, but the unemployment rate dropped from 9.4 percent to 9.0 percent.
The mainstream news media will likely latch on to the dropping unemployment rate, despite job gains that were less than one-fourth of the consensus estimate of 148,000 jobs added. One of the CNBC panelists noted that the increase was "way below consensus."
CNBC's Rick Santelli even lashed out at some of the CNBC "Squawk Box" panel that were discussing the latest jobs report. (VIDEO BELOW FOLD)
- Since Obama took office, only 16 percent of health care stories mentioning the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) included any criticism of their accounting, despite criticism from many conservative and libertarian experts as well as the former head of CBO.
- Networks reporters and guests emphasized the CBO's integrity calling them "non-partisan," "independent" and the "referee" or "arbiter" of legislation costs. CBS's Nancy Cordes even declared them to be "trusted by both parties as the authority on budget matters."
The new majority in the House of Representatives has made it clear that voting on a full repeal of ObamaCare is its top priority, something a majority of Americans support. But their resolution, H.R. 2, has come under fire from the left and the liberal news media over the deficit.
Democrats, including Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., claimed that House Republicans "are breaking their first promise in their first week" because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said that repealing the health care bill would add $230 billion to the deficit over 10 years.
CBS's Katie Couric called it "new ammunition" for Democrats on Jan 6, 2011, and on the network news that proved to be the case.
That "ammunition" used to portray the GOP as fiscal hypocrites has also been criticized as "nonsense," not that you'd know it from the network news media.
A sharp drop in the unemployment rate from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent "surprised" analysts on Jan. 7, but Mesirow Financial's chief economist Diane Swonk warned CNBC viewers that it was an "anomaly."
The drop in unemployment rate confused some because in the same report the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported only 103,000 overall nonfarm payroll gains in December 2010.
CNBC's "Squawk Box" panel reacted to the falling unemployment rate by calling it "sort of a fluke," an "anomaly" and predicting it would rise again. CNBC's Rick Santelli suggested the rate dropped "because people are disenchanted' and dropping out of the labor force."