Richard Wolffe Flat Out Lies About Obama's Eight Percent Unemployment Pledge

As the prospects for Barack Obama's reelection decline, American media are getting more and more cavalier with the truth when defending the object of their affection.

On Friday, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe not only lied about the adminstration's projection that unemployment wouldn't rise above eight percent if its stimulus package was enacted, he also badly misrepresented the timing of job losses during the recession (video follows with transcript and commentary):

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Now, I’ve also got to pick up something that the Chairman Steele was just saying, though, because, you know, he comes out with a talking point of 8 percent. The president promising it won’t go above that.

Actually, it was an economic forecast that they made during transition before huge job losses of January and February of 2009. So, let’s just have a little context here. I know people are scoring political points.

It was an economic forecast that they made during transition before huge job losses of January and February of 2009?

Hardly.

On January 9, 2009, future administration officials Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein published a fourteen page report entitled "The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan." On page five they offered the following chart:

As you can see, the incoming adminstration projected that if its stimulus package was enacted, unemployment would not go higher than eight percent.

As such, this wasn't just some "economic forecast." This document was the new administration's sales pitch to Congress and the American people to pass ARRP.

To depict it any other way is dishonest. But Wolffe wasn't done:

MICHAEL STEELE: Yes.

WOLFFE: But actually, the big job losses happen in the --

AL SHARPTON, HOST: He tried hard. You got to give him the credit.

WOLFFE: first couple of months of this presidency.

STEELE: Yes. And Obama wrapped himself all around that 8 percent and drove it for as long as he could until he couldn’t fit it anymore and didn’t wear well.

WOLFFE: The job losses, Michael, the job losses came in the first few months of this presidency.

Really? Let's look at a chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Look to you like the "job losses came in the first few months of this presidency?"

Quite the contrary, from January to December 2008, the economy shed over 3.6 million jobs, nearly two million in the fourth quarter alone.

For Wolffe to claim that any economic projections made in January 2009 couldn't have possibly taken into account just how bad the job losses were because the worst was yet to come is nonsense.

As this has been the position the White House has taken in order to deflect blame for its failure to solve the unemployment problem, it is certainly not surprising a shill like Wolffe would be echoing the same disingenuous talking points.

But assuming MSNBC wants to have any credibility as a so-called "news" network, it should require that contributors given the title "political analyst" speak the truth whenever they're on the air.

Failing this, its analysts are merely acting as White House propagandists and should probably be so designated to allow viewers to properly discount what they're being told.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.