Lamar Smith Column: Liberal Media Dutifully Spin Obama's Private Sector Doing Fine Gaffe

Last month’s jobs numbers were anything but encouraging.  The number of jobs that economists expected to be created was significantly lower than the actual number of jobs created.  Unemployment rose to 8.2% and underemployment rose to nearly 15%.  The Wall Street Journal reported that “U.S. job growth slowed sharply in May, the latest indication that the economy has lost momentum.” 

Yet, President Obama claimed that “the private sector is doing fine.” The 5.4 million American workers who have been classified as the long-term unemployed would think otherwise.  Americans are concerned about the economy.  A recent Gallup poll found that over two-thirds of Americans know someone personally who has been laid off in the last six months—the highest in Gallup’s history of asking this question.  Despite this, the liberal national media has placed its journalistic principles aside and have already begun to shill for the White House and justify President Obama’s remarks.


On CBS’s This Morning, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman came to the President’s defense and stated “the truth is, the private sector is doing better than the public sector…the real story about this economy is that the cut backs at the public sector are what’s hurting the economy.”

NBC Today co-host Ann Curry spun the statement as being “taken out of context.”  MSNBC’s Chris Hayes attempted to define what the word “fine” meant in this context.  He compared it to if “you fell and gashed your head and you were bleeding and your friend said, ‘Are you okay?’ And you said, ‘I’m fine.’  It means you don’t have to rush me to the emergency room.”  Most people would hardly consider a “gashed head” as being “fine.”

Americans’ economic situations are not “fine.”  Shortly after President Obama’s address on the economy, the Federal Reserve issued a new report that found Americans’ average net worth has dropped by nearly 40% from 2007 to 2010.  It is commonsense that this new report would be highlighted by the media in contrast to President Obama’s claim a couple days earlier that the “private sector is doing fine.”

Not the case for CBS.  The network did not mention the Federal Reserve’s report on either its morning or evening telecasts.  Both ABC and NBC did mention the report, but neither mentioned President Obama in their stories.  The networks omitted coverage on how this new report counters his recent “private sector is doing fine” claim or how it may have a negative impact on his favorability.  In contrast, during the recession of the early 1980s, reporters repeatedly tied each piece of bad economic news to President Ronald Reagan.

Americans deserve true objective reports from the media instead of bias reports to protect the President.  Americans are concerned about the economy as many are unemployed or underemployed.  The liberal national media owe it to the American public to provide objective coverage when discussing this and other issues.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Co-Chairman of the Media Fairness Caucus.