Two of the broadcast networks conveniently noted upward revisions to past months job gains on Feb. 1st, as the January jobs report was released. ABC didn’t mention that day’s jobs report at all that night.
The evening news shows on NBC and CBS reported the 157,000 job increase as well as the uptick in unemployment to 7.9 percent. But both the “Evening News” and “Nightly News” also mentioned the positive revisions to past months, something the same networks ignored during the Bush years.
The January jobs report showed 422,000 more jobs had been created in the last two months of 2012 that previously announced. CBS “Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley was very upbeat about the jobs report, noting that the stock market “was giving a big thumbs up” to the jobs report. “While unemployment did tick up a tenth of a point to 7.9 percent, a separate survey of employers shows that they added 157,000 new jobs.”
He introduced Anthony Mason’s economic report which mentioned the revisions and noted they pushed average monthly job growth in 2012 up to 181,000 a month.
NBC “Nightly News” acknowledged that the jobs numbers were less than hoped for, but correspondent Tom Costello said that while “the unemployment rate edged up to 7.9 percent in January, we also learned that more jobs were added in 2012 than first reported.” He didn’t specify the revised numbers, but added that “fear of a financial crisis is lessening.”
But in 2006, all three broadcast networks ignored a much larger year-over-year revision of 810,000 jobs under the Bush administration in 2006. At that time, unemployment was also dramatically lower than it is today. In October of that year, the employment report was full of positive news: unemployment down to 4.6 percent; 51,000 new jobs created in September; job creation revisions of 60,000 more for August and 10,000 more for July and the piece de resistance: 810,000 more new jobs from March 2005 to March 2006. But the networks barely mentioned any of that, and none reported on the huge revision to the previous year’s numbers.
“Nightly News” on Oct. 6, 2006, devoted just three sentences to the department’s report. Anchor Brian Williams said, “While the U.S. job market grew by only 51,000 jobs across the whole country last month, the previous two months were revised upward, and the employment rate did tick down a notch to 4.6 percent.” Williams also warned that the numbers that year were “below expectations.”