It wouldn't quite be fair to say that the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber sugarcoated his dispatch on today's release of the April Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics. But it would be more than fair to say he missed several chances to tell readers how significant the setbacks BLS relayed really were (openings fell 8.7% from a seasonally adjusted 3.741 million to 3.416 million). That's especially true, given what we already know about May's employment situation.
What follows are several paragraphs from Rugaber's report, followed by contextual factoids the folks at Zero Hedge found which the AP reporter missed or ignored:
During the 1980s, despite data which even then was telling them they were wrong, it became a mantra of a desperate establishment press that the booming economy under Ronald Reagan really wasn't that impressive because so many of the new jobs created were part-time or temporary.
The data was not then readily available for temps, but it certainly was for part-time vs. full-time employment. It comes from to the Household Survey performed by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics on a monthly basis to determine the unemployment rate. What follows is a graph comparing the growth in employment in those two categories during the 35 post-recession months under Reagan to the analogous 35 months since the most recent recession's official end in June 2009. It will make you wonder how the press can claim objectivity when it has barely touched on the contrast you will see, or even on the poor performance itself without historical comparisons.
Sometimes it takes a bit of exertion to disprove an assertion made by an establishment press reporter. Not this time. Today's Department of Labor report on initial unemployment claims told us that such filings "unexpectedly" (as relayed by Reuters and Bloomberg) rose to 386,000 from an upwardly revised (of course) 380,000 the previous week; expectations were for a fall to 375,000. About an hour after DOL's release, Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, told readers that "Applications fell steadily during the fall and winter but have since leveled off."
Well, this one can be taken care of in one easy chart. It starts with what was essentially the last week of winter (the week ended March 24) and goes through the week ended June 9 covered in today's release, with an extra 3,000 added to the most current week to reflect next week's likely upward adjusted (such adjustments during the past sixty-plus weeks have averaged about 3,900).
In a rural area where “The economy sucks when it’s good,” natural gas drilling could have gone a long way. Could have, until environmental extremists and regulators got in the way.
That’s what happened in Wayne County, Pa., just a few years ago when “corporations offered struggling farmers lucrative leases for mineral rights” but a documentary filmmaker and government prevented the drilling, according to a June 7, 2012 story from Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.
Today at a press conference, President Barack Obama said that "we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government ..."
Later, in a cleanup attempt, in what the press is claiming is a walkback, Obama really didn't walk it back: "Listen, it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine. That's the reason I had the press conference. ... what I've been saying consistently over the last year, we've actually seen some good momentum in the private sector. We've seen 4.3 million jobs created -- 800,000 this year alone -- record corporate profits. And so that has not been the biggest drag on the economy." He never pulled back from saying that "the private sector is doing fine." The abject panic at the Associated Press is evident in tonight's report by Ken Thomas and Philip Elliott (HT to a NewsBusters tipster; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
The Boston Globe is reporting on a Massachusetts solar company that received state loans under Governor Romney, and is now filing for bankruptcy. The Globe insists that this news means that Romney's attacks on the President's failed Solyndra investment have backfired, and are implying that it opens up the Republican presidential contender up to charges of hypocrisy.
After the jump is a graphic from Investor's Business Daily comparing post-recession consumer confidence readings from the Conference Board during the Reagan and Obama administrations. See it there or see it below, because you probably won't see it at any establishment press web site or in any of their publications.
What's remarkable about the graphic is how confidence was able to stay at or above 100 (a reading of 90 is considered the "healthy economy" benchmark) in the face of a virtually non-stop media onslaught which alternatively tried to deny the existence of the ongoing prosperity, constantly warned that another recession was just around the corner, or whined about how supposedly unfair the economy was becoming (Keep in mind that the Media Research Center didn't appear on the scene until 1987) -- which is quite different from the current establishment media cheerleading which occurs seemingly any time there's the least little sign that things might be getting better.
In a generally even-handed report on yesterday's drop in consumer confidence as reported by the Conference Board (from a revised 68.7 to 64.9, vs. expectations of a rise to 69.6, according to Bloomberg), the Associated Press's Mae Anderson, with assistance from Christopher Rugaber, engaged in a bit of excuse-making in and downplaying in their later paragraphs.
The AP pegged its water-down to a strong upward move in the yesterday's stock trading, pretending that investors didn't take the confidence report seriously. That's odd, because other press reports attributed those gains to "rising optimism about Greece's prospects to remain in the euro zone, which offset a disappointing reading on U.S. consumer confidence." In other words, the report was considered, but the news out of Greece was better. The relevant later paragraphs from AP's report, one relatively early, and the rest appearing much later, are after the jump (bold is mine):
CNN's Dana Bash reported Friday on the irony of President Obama hitting Mitt Romney's connections to Bain Capital when he himself has received donations from Bain employees. CNN has highlighted Obama's hypocrisy on this matter before, but this specific story has certainly not received much air-time – if any at all – in the last two weeks.
"But isn't it hypocritical for the Obama campaign to keep money from employees of a company it goes after as job-killers?" correspondent Dana Bash asked during the segment. Yet this story of Obama's clear hypocrisy has certainly not received the attention it merits on CNN. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Following a report on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News about the dropping value of Facebook's initial public stock offering and possible investigations into what went wrong, anchor Brian Williams saw an opportunity to adopt the talking points of the left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement: "Is this a case of the rich get richer, another advantage to the 1%...?"
Williams posed that question to New York Times reporter and CNBC host Andrew Ross Sorkin, who enthusiastically added to the class warfare rhetoric: "Boy does it feel that way, Brian. This is that and probably a lot more. And it couldn't come at a worse time given the enormous distrust that the public has of Wall Street. And it goes to this sense of fairness. This is the ultimate 1% versus 99% all over again."
CNN's Soledad O'Brien spun Mitt Romney's words into a dodging-the-question moment for the candidate on the matter of Bain Capital, on Thursday's Starting Point. O'Brien was emphasizing Romney's "reluctance" to mention his days at Bain, which had been the focus of attack ads from the Obama campaign that O'Brien herself justified the other day.
Specifically, she took Romney's interview with Time magazine where he was asked if he welcomed attention about Bain. Romney had answered "of course" and then explained why the American people were more interested in President Obama's record. CNN, however, left out that explanation. [Video coming soon.]
Last week, what the Department of Labor had originally reported as a dip in new unemployment claims the previous week (from 368,000 to 367,000) was revised into an increase (to 370,000). This week, what DOL originally reported was a no-change situation (i.e., 370,000) was revised into an increase (to 372,000).
It's getting ever more difficult to accept DOL's ongoing underestimations, which now run to 60 of the 61 most recent weeks I've been able to track (the one exception was a "no change" situation during the week ended June 18, 2011). In covering today's charade, Reuters, Bloomberg, and the Associated Press (aka the Administration's Press), all failed to note that this week's revision to last week turned last week into an increase instead of a no-change. In what should be seen as only a marginal improvement, two of the three (the AP, predictably, was the exception), headlined this week's small initial reduction from last week -- which seems destined to disappear after revision next week -- as "essentially unchanged." Excerpts follow the jump.
A bogus report published by MarketWatch Tuesday claiming "under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s" has been all the rage at the White House and MSNBC.
Conservative columnist Ann Coulter correctly observed Wednesday:
To be fair, the full text of what Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press wrote in the first sentence of what I believe was the final version of his report today on the Census Bureau's new-home sales release was that "Americans bought more new homes last month, the latest evidence that the U.S. housing market could be starting to recover." The other "evidence" he cited related to a small bump reported earlier this week in existing home sales and one homebuilder's improved financial results.
That's pretty thin gruel from which to paint a "could be starting to recover" scenario, especially when it's expressed by someone who isn't a housing expert, i.e., an AP reporter. The only expert Crutsinger cited told him that "Housing could be a pleasant surprise this year." Wow. How profound. Let's take a look at some quotes from experts Thomson Reuters was able to find. Readers will note that the variations on word "bottom" occur quite frequently (quotes are not in the same order as they appeared at the link):
CNN's Soledad O'Brien has carriedwater for President Obama before, and her "nothing to see here" attitude on Tuesday's Starting Point in regards to the Obama's blatant hypocrisy made that all the more clear.
The night before, O'Brien's colleague Anderson Cooper grilled the Obama campaign over the President's personal attacks on Mitt Romney. Cooper maintained that Obama is hitting Romney's record at Bain Capital while fund raising from another head of a private equity firm that did business with Bain, thus committing a blatant act of hypocrisy. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer invited CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer to elaborate on calling Mitt Romney a "job destroyer" as the head of Bain Capital on Sunday's Meet the Press: "You speaking as a pundit, or do you have some experience here?" Cramer declared: "He was talking about rationalizing the workforce, making it so that the companies were more efficient. Matt, these were code words back then. Code words for firing people."
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer followed Obama campaign talking points perfectly as he decried Mitt Romney's business record at Bain Capital: "Romney's known as a job destroyer, not a creator....I think Bain sticks. I think the idea that you bring in Bain...they fire a lot of people and that's how they get prosperity for the rich." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the same time, Cramer dismissed a positive forward-looking Romney ad outlining specific policy proposals: "I just don't think that this will stick." He concluded the Bain attacks against Romney were "a more resonant theme" and better "than anything that Romney's come up with."
Really, the only surprise is that consumers came before Obama in the headline -- because Obama came before the economy in the underlying article.
A late-day dispatch from Jonathan Fahey and Paul Wiseman at the Associated Press even found someone to say that history will be on Obama's side if gas prices fall to below $3.50 a gallon or so by Labor Day. Excerpts follow (bolds are mine):
I just about knew it when I heard a top-of-hour radio report this morning. When the announcer intoned that there was a 3% increase in "home construction" in April, I said to myself: "There's the Associated Press again, up to its old tricks." That was indeed the case. When I went to the related AP reports, I found that they were, like the economic data coming out during the Obama administration, much worse than expected.
In this morning's coverage of the still bottom-feeding situation in new home construction, the AP's Christopher Rugaber indeed wrote that a 3% seasonally adjusted April increase in housing starts from an annualized 699,000 to 717,000 represented an improvement in "the rate of construction." But he was just warming up. In an afternoon report which can only be characterized both in tone and in detail as an attempt to blow smoke up the public's posterior, he falsely claimed that "Home construction is near a three-year high." I would call that assertion "horse manure," but that would be unfair to equine excrement.
On Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Commerce Department reported that seasonally adjusted U.S. retail sales in April rose by 0.1%. In an 11:12 a.m. report via the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, carried at the Detroit News ("U.S. consumers hold back retail sales, even as gas prices fall"), Martin Crutsinger was appropriately not impressed: "Lower gas prices in April weren't enough to embolden U.S. consumers to spend much more elsewhere. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose only 0.1 percent last month."
Look how things changed in a late afternoon AP report currently carried at its national site co-authored by Crutsinger and Christopher Rugaber, reworked in time to go into most newspapers' print editions Wednesday morning:
Dutifully doing its part to find any excuse to expand government regulation, NBC News on Monday and Tuesday immediately touted Democratic efforts to exploit a $2 billion loss of private money for banker JPMorgan Chase to push for more government intervention in the banking industry.
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Anne Thompson used the news to pump up struggling Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren: "[She] worked to create a consumer watchdog group to oversee the banks after the 2008 crisis. She says what happened at JPMorgan shows there's still not enough oversight of the big banks." Thompson failed to mention Warren has been mired in a scandal surrounding her dubious claims of having Native American ancestry.
A new Obama campaign ad – which CNN showed a clip from on Monday – features former steelworkers attacking Mitt Romney and his leadership of Bain Capital. Yet this January CNN piece on Bain Capital's ventures in South Carolina provided the same critical aura of "bad memories" and "bitterness" toward the company from South Carolina steelworkers.
United Steelworkers is one of the heavy hitters of Democratic donors, and yet CNN featured the local Steelworkers president bashing Bain Capital all through the piece without any clarification on the political position of the Steelworkers. The president took a parting shot at Romney for being "very responsible" for Bain's business practices at the steel mill.
As has been so typical in analogous instances for the year or so I have been following the weekly claims numbers closely, the Associated Press (aka the Administration's Press), Reuters, and Bloomberg headlined a "dip," a "fall," and a "drop" in filings for initial claims, even though the dip-fall-drop from 368,000 to 367,000 only occurred because last week's figure was revised up from 365,000. If this week's figure is revised up by 1,000 or more (based on the past 60 weeks, there's at least a 95% chance of that), the dip-fall-drop will be gone-gone-gone. The AP's Paul Wiseman produced the howler of the morning in the last of the five excerpted paragraphs which follow (bolds are mine):
To the extent that it was there at all, there was far too little emphasis in yesterday's wire service reporting on yesterday's OMG-awful jobs report (worse than most believe, as will be shown in a later post) was far less on those who continue to be affected -- like, say, the unemployed, under-employed and discouraged, who should be the object of such news stories -- and far too much concentration on what it might mean for President Obama's reelection prospects.
This was noticeable yesterday at Bloomberg, Reuters, and of course at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine).
The April 22 New York Times lead story by investigative reporter David Barstow, using internal company documents to ouline how the retailer Wal-Mart bribed Mexican officials to facilitate their way into the country, had reverberations in the business and political worlds, and also managed to hurt Wal-Mart's stock price, which the paper eagerly noted the next day on the front of the Business section.
The attack is still going strong. The front of Tuesday's Business section featured investigative reporter Eric Lichtblau's "Wal-Mart's Good-Citizen Efforts Face a Test" (which the Times seems to think is synonymous with "cozying up to Democrats.") He even went after Wal-Mart's dealings with the American Legislative Exchange Council in order to make an extremely tenuous linkage of Wal-Mart to the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida.
At the New York Times on Saturday (in Sunday's print edition), reporters Charles Duhigg and David Kocienewski, in a report riddled with conceptual flaws and misleading statistics, bemoaned "how technology giants have taken advantage of tax codes written for an industrial age and ill suited to today’s digital economy." They focused their attention almost entirely on Apple, seemingly in simultaneous awe and disgust at how "Apple’s accountants have found legal ways to allocate about 70 percent of its profits overseas, where tax rates are often much lower, according to corporate filings."
Well guys, a look at Apple's latest 10-K annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Page 73 reveals that Apple's net sales in "The Americas" geographic segment -- from the northernmost portion of Canada to the southernmost tip of Chile -- in the year ended September 24, 2011 were $38 billion out of a companywide total of $108 billion. Apple doesn't segregate U.S. sales, but it would seem that they probably aren't any more than $30 billion of that $38 billion. So the vast majority of Apple's sales are "overseas." An even larger majority is outside of the U.S. Even after allowing for aggressive tax-avoidance maneuvers, why should it surprise anyone that the large majority of profits are also earned overseas?
On Friday evening, it was Christopher Rugaber and Paul Wiseman. Today it's Martin Crutsinger. Together with Derek Kravitz (who isn't in on the latest offense -- yet), perhaps the just-named quartet of alleged journalists should be named "The Four Distortsmen."
Today, it was Crutsinger who, in the wake of a mediocre report on consumer spending, again invoked "government budget-cutting as the primary culprit explaining why the economy only grew by an estimated annualized 2.2% during the first quarter:
In the first quarter of 2012, the federal government spent $966 billion. That's 10% more than the $877 billion spent during the previous quarter, and 2% more than the $949 spent during the first quarter of 2011.
Yet the party line Friday evening from Christopher Rugaber and Paul Wiseman at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is that economic growth in the first quarter, which the government preliminarily told us yesterday was an annualized 2.2% (trailing consensus estimates of 2.6%), was so mediocre because of "government budget-cutting." A closer look indicates that if anything, they should have tagged it as defense budget-cutting and never did; the rest of government spending continues to balloon out of control. The pair's opening six paragraphs follow the jump.
Yesterday, as apparently first reported at the Daily Caller, Oklahoma Republican Senator James Imhofe revealed that Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 administrator Al Armendariz had explained his enforcement philosophy towards companies within his jurisdiction as "[C]rucify them ... Find people who are not compliant with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there." Remember that Antagonistic Al was referring to those who are "not compliant." A YouTube video of Armendariz's remarks in fuller context is here.
The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, in what I would hope is only its first version of coverage (but don't count on any follow-up), did its level best to minimize the significance of Armendariz's remarks, with a headline designed to make people think he only said one bad word, and content which tried to emphasize that the administrator reserves his harsh treatment only for actual lawbreakers. At Forbes, Christopher Helman has made mincemeat of that pretense in one very prominent case.