Morning Shows Devote a Combined 21 Seconds to Controversy of Job Creation in Fake Congressional Districts

NBC and CBS’s morning shows on Tuesday completely ignored the revelation that the Obama administration’s Recovery.gov website claims to have saved or created jobs in congressional districts that don’t exist. ABC’s Good Morning America devoted 21 seconds to the developing story.

On ABCNews.com, Jonathan Karl wrote, "In Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending." There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona. On Monday night’s World News, the network did manage a full report by Karl. He elaborated, "And it lists $34 million spent in Arizona's 86th district. That district doesn't exist either. In fact, in virtually every state, the website lists millions of dollars spent and hundreds of jobs created in fictional congressional districts."

And yet, NBC’s Today show and CBS’s Early Show on Tuesday skipped the report. Good Morning America opted for a single news report by Chris Cuomo. He quickly recapped the story and added, "The administration blames human error, but says the job count is still correct."

A transcript of the November 17 GMA news brief and the November 16 World News full report can be found below:

GMA 

11/17/09 7:13

CHRIS CUOMO: A White House website set up to track new stimulus jobs lists places that do not exist. The site says 30 jobs were created in Arizona's 15th congressional district. The problem is, there is no 15th district. For nearly every state, the website lists fictional congressional districts. The administration blames human error, but says the job count is still correct.

World News

11/16/09  6:38

CHARLES GIBSON: One of the great curiosities in Washington involves the economic stimulus program. How many jobs does it save? How many jobs has it created? There's a government website that is supposed to track those questions region by region across the country. Our Chief Congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl has been checking it and has found it puzzling. Jon?

JONATHAN KARL: Charlie, nobody is suggesting any wrongdoing here, but the $18 million website created by the White House to track the stimulus lists millions of dollars spent and jobs created in places that don't exist. The Recovery.gov website has a wealth of information about stimulus spending.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN (UNITED STATES): We got a new modern website that's going to blow you away in terms of how detailed it is. I really mean that.

KARL: You can track the money and the jobs created by state, by zip code and by congressional district. The website, for example, says 30 jobs were created and over $700,000 spent in Arizona's 15th congressional district. The problem, the sate has only eight congressional districts, there is no 15th district. And it lists $34 million spent in Arizona's 86th district. That district doesn't exist either. In fact, in virtually every state, the website lists millions of dollars spent and hundreds of jobs created in fictional congressional districts. Check out Connecticut, where in the 42nd congressional district, 25 new jobs are listed for zero dollars spent. Again there is no 42nd district. The website also lists stimulus spending in US territories including the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, where 142 jobs were supposedly created in the non-existent 99th district and another .3 jobs in the 69th. The administration chalks it all up to human error and says the mistakes were most likely made by grant recipients who filled out their forms correctly and may not even have know what congressional district they live in. Charlie, they say that the overall numbers given by the White House about job creation are still accurate. We'll keep looking at it.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org