CEO Sergio Marchionne of Fiat, the parent company of the U.S. government bailed-out Chrysler, got two unexpected and undeserved breaks from Craig Trudell at Bloomberg yesterday.
The first was the story's presidential election-driven focus in its headline ("Chrysler CEO Reiterates Jeep Production Staying in U.S.") and first five paragraphs on Fiat's plans to manufacture vehicles in China for the Chinese market and Marchionne's insistence that this move won't reduce U.S. employment at Chrysler. Trudell waited until the sixth paragraph of his report to convey the real news, noted by yours truly yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), which is that the company plans to make a new model of Jeep, Chrysler's signature nameplate, in Italy for export to Europe and the U.S. The second undeserved break the Bloomberg reporter gave Marchionne credited him with five times more future employment growth than he deserves (if it really occurs), and is in the paragraph which follows the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post)::
Although it should have used harsher language in its headline, FactCheck.org, the Annenberg Foundation-funded outfit, has apparently set its leftist bias aside long enough to take shots at an ad narrated by President Barack Obama which claims 5.2 million jobs created and gives all but the most alert viewers the impression that the number represents those created during his entire administration. Perhaps predictably, the item, which was at the top at Yahoo News just a few hours ago, is not on the home page of Yahoo's U.S. home page and is on the verge of falling off at its main page.
Excerpts from Brooks Jackson's writeup follow the jump, including FactCheck's review of claims made at the "learn more" web link mentioned in the ad (bolds are mine):
In their third Presidential debate analysis, the Jurassic Press Media last night and thus far this morning have failed utterly in their role as fact checker and record-corrector - at least when it comes to what President Barack Obama had to say.
As but one glaring example, there were the President’s absurd assertions regarding the auto bailout and China.
UPDATE: Henry Blodget at Business Insider reports that a "source, who is an analyst at the Department, " has told him that "the number of California claims that were not processed totalled about 15,000-25,000."
Today's release of the Department of Labor's weekly unemployment claims report showed 339,000 initial claims filed during the previous week -- a sharp decline of 30,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised 369,000. Shortly after that, the Wall Street Journal reported that "one large state didn't report additional quarterly figures as expected, accounting for a substantial part of the decrease." The Associated Press's framing: "... spokesman said one large state accounted for much of the decline." At Reuters: "one state ... reported a decline in claims last week when an increase was expected."
So you would expect caution in assessing the meaning of the report, right? Wrong -- At the AP and Reuters, they apparently just can't help themselves.
In a Friday interview where the primary purpose was to give her an opportunity to defend her Bureau of Labor Statistics, Obama administration Department of Labor head Hilda Solis gave CNBC viewers the false impression that prior-month upward revisions to reported job additions were in the private sector (they were all government jobs), and falsely claimed, despite her boss's refusal to do anything until after Election Day, that "Congress needs to work with us."
The video can be found at CNBC, where Solis tells the network's reporter that "I am insulted" that people would believe that BLS's books are cooked. Here is her specific quote on job growth (Solis's comments below are not in the text of the post; HT Breitbart's Big Government; bolds are mine):
With almost exactly one month left till the election, the government reported Oct. 5 the unemployment rate plummeted to 7.8 percent in September. While media outlets like The New York Times called the number “unexpected good news for Obama,” both liberal and conservative economists were quick to tear it apart.
The labor force jumped in one of the two government employment surveys – “the government said the total number of workers employed surged by 873,000, the highest one-month jump in 29 years,” wrote The Wall Street Journal. The Journal’s forecast had predicted an increase to 8.2 percent.
Apart from bias, which is obviously the bigger problem, the establishment press's tendency towards unforced errors in business news reporting has grown over the past several years.
So when I received the following email from USA Today this morning (available here without subject line), I thought it surely must be mistaken. Well, the item I thought was a mistake wasn't one, while the one I thought was probably okay understated the underlying catastrophic news. Clarity follows the jump:
From the Department of Damned if You Do, Damned If You Don't . . .
The MSM delighted in raking Mitt Romney over its coals [solar cells?] for his 47% remarks. So how do they react when Romney issues an ad saying that whereas both he and President Obama care about the poor, his plans will actually help them? With scorn, of course.
Check out the headline from today's Morning Score at Politico: "Mitt Oozes Empathy In New Ad." View the ad after the jump.
He clearly doesn't suffer from a shortage of chutzpah.
According to the Politico's Josh Gerstein, President Barack Obama was asked the following question by The View's Barabara Walters in a Monday appearance to be broadcast on Tuesday: "What would be so terrible if Mitt Romney were elected? Would it be disastrous for the country?" His response: "We can survive a lot. But the American people don't want to just survive. We want to thrive. I've just got a different vision of how we grow an economy. We grow fastest when the middle class is doing well."
Both the headline and opening sentence at Christopher Rugaber's Associated Press report on today's unemployment claims release from the Department of Labor tell readers that initial unemployment claims fell by 3,000 during the most recent week. Though Rugaber acknowledged that last week's initial figure was revised up, he didn't say by how much (3,000, from 382K to 385K), and of course didn't note that based on the track record of the past year, there's a 98% chance that this week's figure will also be revised up.
A graph posted at Zero Hedge compares headlined changes in weekly claims to actual weekly changes after revisions. The differences are significant.
Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan made a statement on Fox News's On the Record Tuesday that is guaranteed to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
Speaking with host Greta Van Susteren about how Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's remarks concerning the 47 percent of the nation that don't pay federal income taxes were spot on, Buchanan called Barack Obama a "Fabian Socialist" and "a drug dealer of welfare."
NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno made a joke Monday about President Obama and the economy that would be funny if it didn't hit so close to home.
Talking about how the unemployment rate only fell last month because of the number of people that dropped out of the labor force, Leno quipped that the President is "encouraging more Americans to give up looking for work so the numbers will come down a little bit" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Tonight, Barack Obama will make his seventh appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, his second as Commander-in-Chief.
This is a man who can’t make room in his busy campaign fundraising schedule for critical intelligence briefings, or his jobs council, or even a sit-down with the Prime Minister of Israel while Iran’s uranium centrifuges are whizzing away toward Armageddon. Instead he is on his way to the Ed Sullivan Theater for yet another cutesy campaign infomercial courtesy of his boosters at CBS and Worldwide Pants.
In other words, Emperor Nero is yukking it up with his court jester while the world burns.
In her writeup covering the Census Bureau's latest release of income and poverty data, Hope Yen at the Associated Press quoted University of Michigan economist Sheldon Danziger, who specializes in "Applied Policy, Labor Markets, Poverty and Social Welfare," describing the news that the official poverty rate was statistically unchanged, moving from 15.1% of all Americans to 15.0%, as "good news and surprising."
Mr. Danziger should consider moonlighting as a stand-up comedian. With laugh lines like that and another one which will be seen in the excerpt after the jump, he's a can't-miss prospect, even if his delivery is as deadpan as Steven Wright's. But, as will also be seen shortly, he has stiff competition from White House bloggers. In both cases, audiences will be laughing at them, not with them (bolds are mine):
Poll cooking season is officially in full swing. The headline today at the Washington Post reads: "Among likely voters, Obama-Romney close." Dan Balz and Jon Cohen report that in a September 7-9 poll, "the (presidential) race remains close among likely voters, with Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 48 percent, virtually unchanged from a poll taken just before the conventions." Ah, but Obama supposedly has a six-point lead among registered voters.
Based on pair's report, the easy choices on how to interpret the results are these: Either President Obama really didn't come out of the Democratic Convention with a polling bounce, or, if he did have a bounce, it disappeared after last Friday's dreadful employment news. There's a third and far more likely choice, which only becomes apparent once one sees the mix of respondents in the poll's final listed question.
"The Romney campaign slogan should be the title of Paul Krugman’s book which is 'End This Depression Now' because these are depression level [employment] numbers. And, if the Republican Party cannot win in this environment, it has to get out of politics and find another business."
So said George Will on ABC's This Week Sunday (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday's NBC Today, less than two hours before another poor jobs report, co-host Matt Lauer touted a bold economic prediction: "Some of the analysts I've been reading have said that no matter who is president over the next four years, the economy will add about 12 million jobs just because of the cycle it's in." CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer agreed with the rosy scenario: "...a lot of pent-up demand in autos and pent-up demand in exports. It's not such a bad moment."
Earlier in the discussion, Cramer predicted that the upcoming jobs numbers would be "a little better than expected" from the projection of 135,000 jobs created in August, with "Maybe 10,000 jobs more than that." At the top of the 9 a.m. hour, fill-in news anchor Tamron Hall delivered the much more disappointing reality: "[The unemployment rate] now stands at 8.1% for the month of August, down .2% from July, but only because more people gave up looking for work. The economy added 96,000 jobs last month."
MSNBC broadcasts often have a “Twilight Zone” feel to them, but seldom more so than the Sept. 7, “Morning Joe.” Joe Scarborough and friends' reaction to the “weak” August jobs report was enthusiasm.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that morning that only 96,000 jobs were created, after 120,000 jobs were expected. The BLS also revised June and July numbers downward. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent, which might sound good until you learn that it “came primarily because the labor force participation rate fell to 63.5 percent, its worst level in more than 30 years,” according to CNBC.com. (Video below the jump)
I really can't do much with this one beyond relaying the absurd particulars involved in PolitiFact's incredible conclusion that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker made a statement which was only "Half True" about unemployment in the various states in his speech last week at the Republican National Convention.
On August 17, the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics opened its monthly Regional and State Employment and Unemployment report as follows: "Regional and state unemployment rates were generally little changed or slightly higher in July. Forty-four states recorded unemployment rate increases, two states and the District of Columbia posted rate decreases, and four states had no change ..." The Associated Press's opening sentence in its coverage of the report's contents was: "Unemployment rates rose in 44 U.S. states in July, the most states to show a monthly increase in more than three years and a reflection of weak hiring nationwide." After the jump, readers will see the awful statement Walker made in Tampa:
First, the bad news from a media coverage standpoint. All three major wire services covering today's report from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims characterized the seasonally adjusted result of 374,000 as "unchanged" from last week, but failed to note the 98%-plus probability based on the last 75 weeks of history (only one exception during that time) that the number will be revised upward by 1,000 or more, changing today's "unchanged" number to an increase.
That's bit ironic, given that all three wires at least told readers that last week's 372,000 claims was revised up to 374,000. Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Associated Press had different takes on the meaning of today's results, as will be seen after the jump (bolds are mine):
Today, per Nasdaq.com, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 4.49 points to 13107.48, the S&P 500 went up 1.19 points to 1410.49, and the NASDAQ gained 4.05 points to close at 3081.19. The average of the three gains is less than 0.1%.
That didn't stop the disseminators of CNN Money's email at the close of business from interpreting the result as being due to "signs of stronger U.S.growth." Huh?
On August 27, PolitiFact, the once promising but now largely co-opted "fact check" site run by the Tampa Bay Times, finally got around to evaluating Obama campaign spokesperson Stephanie Cutter's August 22 lie that "over the past, you know, 27 months we've created ... more jobs than in the Bush recovery, in the Reagan recovery." Apparently, the evaluators lost their matches as they only gave Cutter's statement a "False" tag.
In doing so, PolitiFact clearly ignored its own rating guidelines, wherein "False" means that "The statement is not accurate," while "Pants on Fire" means "The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim." Cutter made an utterly ridiculous claim, which I will illustrate beyond what was already shown on Sunday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog):
MSNBC 's immediate reaction to Ann Romney's Tuesday night speech at the Republican National Convention was to stick by the left-wing talking point that she can't relate to ordinary Americans, especially women. Lawrence O'Donnell seconded Rachel Maddow's claim that Mrs. Romney "has not had most women's economic experiences," and went further: "She began her speech...by talking about women's struggles in this economy and in life that she, actually, in her life, doesn't know anything about."
O'Donnell then blasted the Republican presidential candidate's wife for supposedly disregarding women who have taken government assistance in their lives: "The one population that was specifically excluded from her discussion of women's struggles in this society was any woman who needed, at any point in her life, to rely on any form of government assistance - be it food stamps; be it temporary welfare assistance; be it any form of support whatsoever that any government has ever provided for a struggling woman at any time in her life. That population was completely ignored in this speech." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Sam Youngman at Reuters, and several others have attempted to pounce on a comment about "big business" GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney made at a Minnesota fundraiser on Thursday as some kind of equivalent to President Obama's out-of-touch assertion that "the private sector is doing fine" back in June.
In fact, what Romney actually said in large part explains why the private sector isn't doing fine. Here is the relevant text from Youngman (bolds are mine):
Obama campaign spokesperson Stepanie Cutter, appearing on MSNBC earlier this week, claimed that "over the past, you know, 27 months we've created 4.5 million private-sector jobs. That's more jobs than in the Bush recovery (or) in the Reagan recovery."
A Thursday Investor's Business Daily editorial plaintively asked: "Where are those allegedly unbiased fact-checkers when you need them?" As will be seen shortly, the answer is "AWOL."
In his coverage of the Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report at the Associated Press this morning, economics writer Christopher Rugaber stubbornly referenced a supposedly predictive benchmark the wire service has been using which has consistently failed in recent months.
Rugaber also claimed that today's seasonally adjusted increase from the previous week, which will almost certainly become a bigger one after next week's revision, is "evidence that the job market's recovery remains modest and uneven." Uh, not exactly. Excerpts follow (bolds and numbered tags are mine):