On Friday, the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy created 175,000 seasonally adjusted jobs in February, with 162,000 of the additions occurring in the private sector.
That result exceeded expectations of roughly 150,000, and caused the business press to sing odes of high praise to an economy that was amazingly overcoming this year's difficult winter weather. Unfortunately, as readers will see after the jump, February's raw results demonstrate that it was all an illusion.
Early Wednesday morning, Josh Lederman at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, opened a report on President Barack Obama's upcoming afternoon trip to Connecticut by writing that "Obama wants the U.S. to follow Connecticut's lead by raising the minimum wage." In a dispatch after Obama's speech in New Britain, Lederman wrote of "a show of support from like-minded governors," including those from the Nutmeg State, Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island, all of which have minimum wages higher than the federally mandated rate of $7.25 per hour.
Correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation, but the four states Obama highlighted as examples to follow have economic performances ranging from mediocre to horrid during the past several years arguably tie to poor policy choices like high minimum wages — something Lederman should have noticed and didn't.
You don't even need to know the specifics to realize that today's economic reports were weak. All you need to know is that there was no mention of them in the Associated Press's list of Top 10 business stories as of 3:35 p.m. Among stories considered more important: a product review of Apple's tiny market-share program called iWork and three dozen passengers suing Carnival Cruise Lines.
This morning's release from ADP on February private-sector employment growth reported 139,000 jobs added; the previous four months were revised down by a total of 138,000. The Institute for Supply Management's Non-Manufacturing Index came in at 51.6%, showing relatively slow expansion (anything above 50% indicates expansion) compared to January's 54.0%. The reports missed expectations of 155,000 jobs added and 53.5%, respectively. AP coverage of these two reports somewhat understated their weakness, one quantitatively and the other qualitatively.
The news in two government reports on the economy today was not good. One showed that initial unemployment claims last week rose to a seasonally adjusted 348,000; raw (not seasonally adjusted) claims were virtually identical to last year's comparable week. To avoid the dreaded U-word ("unexpectedly"), a pair of Bloomberg News reporters described the result as "exceeding all forecasts." In the other report, durable goods orders in January fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent, while December's steep decline of 4.3 percent was revised down even further to -5.3 percent.
In separate reports at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak did their best to excuse away the results and to find something positive to say. As readers will see, they had to dig pretty deep, and their efforts were unconvincing.
While all three broadcast networks happily promoted President Obama's crusade to hike the minimum wage following his State of the Union address, NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America only managed to provide a scant 42 seconds of coverage on Wednesday to a new Congressional Budget Office study showing such a move would cause 500,000 people to lose their jobs.
Wednesday's CBS This Morning did offer a 2-minute report on the news, while Tuesday's CBS Evening News provided a 1-minute news brief. NBC Nightly News and ABC's World Newscompletely ignored the topic Tuesday night.
The folks at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, are really having a hard time processing the UAW's failure to gain the ability to represent Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee workers in an election held last week. AP journalists, who themselves are members of the News Media Guild, are exhibiting characterstics of still partially being in Stage 1 (Denial) but mostly Stage 2 (Anger) of the grieving process.
A Monday evening report by Tom Krisher and Erik Schelzig comes off more as a "put up or shut up" dare to those who opposed UAW representation than anything resembling objective reporting. The pair wants to know what Republicans are going to do achieve job growth in the wake of the UAW loss. The obvious response is that despite well-known federally-imposed regulatory barriers to job growth, Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Haslam and the Volunteer State's GOP-controlled legislature have been doing a far better than average job, if you will, of creating a conducive atmosphere for payroll employment growth in the state. But first, let's visit our in-mourning AP reporters and headline writer (bolds are mine):
In yet another example of revisionist history, MSNBC.com’s Suzy Khimm conveniently blamed the GOP for Congress’s failure to extend unemployment benefits, leaving out how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has repeatedly prevented votes on GOP amendments to offset unemployment benefit spending with cuts elsewhere.
Khimm lamented how "With a major snowstorm approaching the East Coast, Congress decided on Wednesday it had some urgent business to take care of before going home for recess…extending federal unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless didn’t make the list."
Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters made reference Tuesday to an Associated Press story headline ("Modest drop in full-time work seen from health law") indicating that the outfit I prefer to call the Administration's Press is furiously spinning in reaction to Tuesday's report from the Congressional Budget Office projecting that Obamacare will reduce full-time-equivalent employment from what it would have been without the law by 2.5 million over the next 10 years.
The underlying content of the story Ken referenced is weak, as is Calvin Woodward's longer "fact check" ("ANTI-OBAMACARE CHORUS IS OFF KEY") currently carrying an early Thursday time stamp. Woodward's piece is especially troubling in how it seems to treat work as a curse instead of a necessary component of societal progress. But let's first look at the full "modest drop" dispatch.
Following White House talking points to the letter on Wednesday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, host Chuck Todd bemoaned how "Republicans immediately seized on" the Congressional Budget Office report on ObamaCare costing the economy over 2 million jobs "and spun it the way they want to spin it." He fretted that Democrats would have a tough time defending ObamaCare "in the world of sound bites and 30-second TV ads." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Talking to former CBO director Doug Holtz-Eakin minutes later, Todd complained: "On health care, a lot of your Republican friends are taking it [the CBO report] and calling it – it is an unfair statement to – they should not be saying this is costing 2 million jobs, is that right?"
While both CBS This Morning and ABC's Good Morning America both managed some air time on Wednesday to cover a new Congressional Budget Office report showing ObamaCare will cost the American economy about 2.5 million jobs, NBC's Today couldn't be bothered to mention the troubling news.
The NBC morning show did have time to provide a three-minute report on the latest bad behavior by pop star Justin Bieber, over a minute of coverage to the mascots for the upcoming Olympic games, and over a minute showing viewers how to play the new Flappy Birds game app on their phones.
Give Sam Stein credit for being an honest liberal. Confronted with the CBO's findings about the disastrous job-killing effects of Obamacare, Stein didn't try to spin the unspinnable.
On today's Morning Joe, Donnie Deutsch invited Stein to play a game of Mad Men. Deutsch first sketched out a 30-second ad making the case against Obamacare--that contrary to what President Obama had said, you can't choose your provider and the program costs the country two million jobs. Deutsch then invited Stein to give the 30-second ad in response. Said Stein, much to the amusement of the panel: "The 30-second response is something like: 'Please change the subject to something else.' What do you want me to say?" View the video after the jump.
Liberals have become obsessed with raising the mandated minimum wage, the better to divert attention from the minimal competence of the Obama administration.
Appearing yesterday on Ed Schultz's radio show, Ruth Conniff, political editor of the Progressive magazine, apparently forgot that her remarks would be broadcast over the airwaves when the two were discussing the left's most recent flailing attempt to change the subject.(Audio after the jump)
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report this morning projecting among other things, that 2.5 million Americans will drop out of full-time work thanks to ObamaCare. We will, of course, track how the broadcast networks cover this story, but if the news websites for ABC, CBS, and NBC are any indication, they will downplay and/or heavily spin this development.
For its part, for example, ABCNews.com teased a February 4 AP story with the headline "Modest Drop in Full-Time Work Seen From Health Law" in their "latest news" sidebar. By contrast, CBSNews.com was front and center with the CBO story, their teaser headline declaring, "New report stokes debate on Obamacare, jobs" [see screen captures below page break]
Today, President Obama is going to ask a group of private-sector companies to help him try to solve a problem his administration's policies have seriously worsened, namely long-term unemployment.
Of course, that's not how Josh Lederman at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, framed the situation. All he would concede is that "long-term joblessness in the U.S. remains a major problem." After the jump, in two graphs from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, we'll see the frightening level of long-term unemployment Obama's economic policies have created – and how the horrid numbers have failed to come down significantly in the 4-1/2 years since the recession officially ended.
You really have to listen to Mika Brzezinski's voice rising as if in a question as she pronounces the very last word in an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal column—and watch the expression on her face—to appreciate how utterly baffled, befuddled and bewildered she seems by the simple notion that increasing the cost of hiring motivates employers to automate their operations.
The column, "The Employee of the Month Has a Battery," noted that restaurant chains like Chili's are introducing tabletop ordering devices and eliminating server positions. Author Michael Saltsman makes the incontrovertible argument that "policy makers are encouraging the switch to technology by increasing the cost of hiring." But just listen to Mika pronounce that last word, and watch the ensuing expression on her face, to see how the notion leaves her at a complete loss. View the video after the jump.
In May 2009, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, announced that it would be "launching an index that will provide monthly, multi-format updates on the economic stress of the United States down to the county level." Not a bad idea, especially if you were concerned that evidence of an economic recovery under Barack Obama would not otherwise be convincing.
The AP likely believed that since an overwhelming percentage of U.S. counties lean conservative (remember those Bush v. Gore county maps?), a large majority of U.S. counties would likely recover in time for the 2010 congressional elections, or in the worst-case scenario, the 2012 presidential election — even if the nation as a whole did not. A statement that "most counties in the U.S. have recovered from the recession" would have been quite useful in defending congressional Democrats and Barack Obama's incumbency. But a recently released report from the National Association of Counties (NACo), which was covered poorly by the Wall Street Journal and virtually ignored by almost everyone else, shows that it hasn't happened.
MSNBC's Touré Neblett, who recently condoned consumers lying to corporations like Amazon to get discounts to which they aren't entitled, really needs to stay away from Twitter — or have someone screen his tweets.
On Tuesday, he tweeted (HT Twitchy) that "Many in poverty are working poor w two jobs. So 'jobs' is an ineffective anti poverty program." Note that he didn't indicate that "jobs" might not be the whole answer, which in some instances may be the case. He instead asserted that the idea of creating jobs and encouraging poor people to get them is "ineffective" as a way to get them out of poverty.
Many people had high hopes for the December jobs report with economists’ forecasting job gains of around 200,000. The report, which was released Jan. 10, showed only 74,000 jobs added in December.
That was bad news, especially after 241,000 jobs were added in November. At the same time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate fell from 7 percent, to 6.7 percent, primarily because of workforce dropouts.
The administration and two out of three broadcast networks blamed weather for the disappointing report, but both liberal and conservative economists dismissed this explanation.
The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky has turned up the partisan hyperbole to 11. In a January 13 piece, the leftist writer claimed that, “the fight over unemployment benefits underscores the right’s extremism” with a picture of Tea Party Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) featured to illustrate his point.
The frequent MSNBC guest argued that because the GOP is demanding that for the first time in years any extension in unemployment benefits be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget that “the party has been hijacked by extremists.” [Pro-tip: Never play a drinking game involving liberal journalists and the term "hijacking." You'll die of alcohol poisoning.]
Following up on Friday's awful jobs report from the government (only 74,000 seasonally adjusted jobs added, with the unemployment rate dropping to 6.7 percent only because adults continued to leave the workforce), the Asssociated Press's Christopher Rugaber tried to search for excuses.
To its credit, the headline at Rugaber's report didn't blatantly dissemble like the one at Bloomberg, which, in revising the title of an underrated Stevie Wonder song from the 1970s ("Blame It on the Sun"), blamed it on the cold and snow: "Old Man Winter Put a Chill on U.S. Labor Market at End of 2013." But the AP reporter predictably failed to entertain the possibility that Obamacare's virtual chaos, plan cancellations, and impending 2014 premium hikes might have thrown a great deal of sand into the job market's gears, even though a virtual halt in healthcare hiring stuck out like a sore thumb. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Thursday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC host Al Sharpton accused Republicans of "demonizing" single mothers and placing "blame" on them for poverty in response to several Republicans who have recently complained about government policies that have encouraged poor women to become single mothers.
The Labor Department released absolutely horrendous employment numbers Friday that are going to be difficult for the Obama-loving media to positively spin.
Moments after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that only 74,000 jobs had been created in December with the unemployment rate declining due to almost 500,000 people leaving the job market, Christine Romans on CNN's New Day called the report “a big miss,” “a real shocker,” “a big disappointment,” and concluded that the jobless rate “fell in part because people simply gave up” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Daily Beast political writer Patricia Murphy dutifully peddled Democratic spin on the economy and unemployment while singing the praises of Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller who led a breakaway contingent of fellow GOPers to invoke cloture on a Democratic bill to extend unemployment benefits without any offsetting spending cuts.
Liberal MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz on Monday used the cold snap hitting much of the country to push two left-wing agendas. He lectured "heartless and cruel" Republicans to extend unemployment because of the chill and, at the same time, blamed the low temperatures on global warming. [See video of both clips below. MP3 audio here.]
The Ed Show host blasted, "Not only can we [sic] stop the wind from blowing, we can't stop the Republicans from being heartless and cruel!" Schultz concluded that since it's very cold out, "we need to be taking...some special measurements to help people who have been unemployed for a long time." Later, the anchor wondered if climate change was the culprit for the deep freeze.
In a report for Sunday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Kristen Welker eagerly promoted efforts by President Obama to use class warfare against Republicans leading up to the 2014 midterm elections: "President Obama will aim to reboot his presidency this year after a rocky 2013. The first item on the agenda will be extending unemployment insurance benefits....In his weekly media message, Mr. Obama blamed Republicans for leaving those benefits out of last month's budget deal." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A clip played of Obama ranting: "And denying families that security is just plain cruel. We're a better country than that." Moments later, Welker proclaimed: "The President will also renew his call for an increase in the minimum wage in his State of the Union address. Another piece of a Democratic strategy designed to paint Republicans as the party of the rich ahead of the fall elections."
On Friday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, host Al Sharpton asserted that Republicans "don't care" about the unemployed whose unemployment benefits are expiring and went on to accuse Republicans of having a "heartless ideology that says if you're out of work, you're out of luck."
The Declaration of Independence? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Meh. That's so, like, 18th century. No, Ed Schultz has come out with a new declaration of what he calls the Four Pillars of American Life: health care, jobs, education and equality.
Schultz promulgated his manifesto on the year-in-review episode of his MSNBC show today. View the video after the jump.
On the Monday, December 23, PoliticsNation on MSNBC, host Al Sharpton led the show by accusing Republicans of "stinginess" and of being "grinches" because of GOP opposition to a further extension of unemployment benefits. With the words "GOP Grinches Steal Christmas" on screen, Sharpton opened the show: