The New York Times leaned "Forward!" for Barack Obama's reelection in its campaign coverage over the weekend. The front of the paper's Saturday Election 2012 section featured a large photo from an Obama rally of a volunteer handing out flags at a fairground rally in Hilliard, Ohio on Friday. The caption noted "A crowd of 2,800 showed up to see Mr. Obama."
Meanwhile, campaign reporter Ashley Parker estimated on Twitter Friday night that 25,000 people attended a Romney rally in West Chester Township in Ohio. But those strong turnout figures for Romney, which suggested high levels of enthusiasm in a crucial state, were buried in the very back of Parker and Michael Barbaro's Sunday story from the campaign trail.
The nation’s leading newspapers really didn’t want to highlight the unemployment rate going back up to 7.9 percent. On the front of Saturday’s Washington Post, the headline was “Report shows Oct. job growth.” The New York Times wouldn’t even put the news on the front page. Up front was a tiny headline, “Job Growth Tops Estimates.”
The Times shifted the story to B-1 with the headline “U.S. Adds 171,000 Jobs, More Than Estimated.” Online, the headline was “Latest Jobs Report Shows Persistent Economic Growth.” You couldn’t even find this story by Catherine Rampell on the Times home page on Saturday, despite its happy pro-Obama tone:
The ignorance and blind sycophancy of Bill Maher knows no bounds.
On HBO's Real Time Friday, the man who proudly gave a million dollars to Barack Obama's Super PAC said on national television, "Who cares what somebody in his administration wrote down on a piece of paper and predicted?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ABC, CBS and NBC did their part Friday night to minimize the negative impact to the Obama campaign from the rise in the unemployment rate from 7.8 to 7.9 percent in October.
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer allocated a piddling 18 seconds to the news as she characterized the 171,000 jobs growth as “beating predictions,” NBC’s Brian Williams stressed how the 171,000 additional jobs number “was better than the experts had expected” and the CBS Evening News focused on one “flourishing” company which has grown this year from 80 to 450 workers.
On the Nov. 2 edition of CNBCs “Squawk on the Street,” former chief economic advisor to George W. Bush and Hoover Fellow Ed Lazear commented that today’s jobs report may not be as good as the Obama administration and media make it out to be. “You have to think about how much do you need to keep employment constant as a proportion of the population,” he stated.
After the last jobs report before the election, CNN's Soledad O'Brien tried to be positive even with high underemployment and unemployment rates. On Friday's Starting Point, she ridiculously cast underemployment moving down one tenth of a percent to 14.6 as "improving."
"Underemployment which was 14.7 percent, now 14.6; labor force participation, as well, that's better. Are you feeling encouraged at all?" she asked conservative guest Grover Norquist. "No. This is not even a dead cat bounce," he replied. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Presidential elections have been won or lost due to the economy. Herbert Hoover lost to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan. This election season is no different as polls, including a recent one from NBC News/Wall Street Journal, continue to show the economy is the top concern of voters.
But the network news media often skew economic coverage in favor of liberal candidates and against conservatives. In September 2012, President Barack Obama continued to face a barrage of poor economic news including a GDP downgrade to 1.3 percent, an unemployment rate still above 8 percent and “record” high gas prices. But media coverage of economic issues from that month did not accurately reflect that turmoil. When President George W. Bush sought re-election in 2004, during the exact same time period, broadcast coverage criticized him on the economy despite a GDP of 3.3 percent, an unemployment rate of just 5.4 percent and gas prices a low $1.82.
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)