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):
USA Today's Web site features an Associated Press report with the headline "Housing starts, jobless claims in good shape." For the many readers who just scan headlines, that sounds encouraging. Yet by the second paragraph the article notes "that construction of single-family homes and apartments dipped 1.1% in July compared with June. . ." And by the third paragraph:
Housing has been making a modest comeback this year. But even with the gains, the rate of construction and the level of permits remain only about half the 1.5 million annual rate considered healthy.
Piers Morgan on Monday picked the wrong guy to toss Democrat talking points at.
After the CNN anchor spoke the typical liberal nonsense about Paul Ryan's budget only benefiting rich people, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich scolded, "I do wonder sometimes if you guys all get off in a little club and learn a brand new mantra and then all repeat it mindlessly...You guys almost sound like you're an extension of the Obama campaign" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In an apparent attempt to pin blame anywhere but on the Obama administration for the rising unemployment rate, a USA Today item currently carried at Newsmax's MoneyNews.com web site opens by claiming that "Companies across the country are cutting training programs for new employees, broadening the divide between workers with skills needed to compete in today's economy and those left out, pushing up unemployment rates in the process."
The incoherence is stunning, and it continues after the jump:
It's as if these people think that we're still in the era of the Pony Express and passenger pigeons.
Both CNN's email alert after the close of the markets today and the Associated Press's post-close report acted as if Monday's stock market gain was due to a positive momentum effect from Friday's splendiforous jobs report, which really wasn't that good at all. CNN's 4:01 p.m. email told recipients that "U.S. stocks end higher on momentum from July jobs report." AP's first paragraph at its news summary page read as follows:
The wire services and other establishment press members appear to be getting more selective in what they will allow into their headlines, particularly omitting items which might hurt Dear Leader.
Take the coverage of yesterday's Employment Situation Summary from the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The news was a combination of bad and mediocre (though expectations-beating): The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 8.2% to 8.3% (or from 8.217% to 8.254%, if you're Obama administration hack Alan Krueger), while the seasonally adjusted number of jobs added was 163,000. Both results are really unacceptable when there's so much not utilized and underutilized labor. Three establishment press headlines avoided mentioning the rate increase, even though it was a major element of the underlying story:
CNN, the network that encourages gay activists and promotes the gay agenda, is now trying to sweep the issue aside – when President Obama is under fire for his support of gay marriage, that is. On Thursday morning, CNN's Carol Costello suggested Rev. William Owens, a critic of Obama's support for same-sex marriage, focus on something else.
"I think nearly every poll out there shows that same-sex marriage is low on the priority list for most Americans," she told Owens. "High on the priority list especially among African-American voters is the lack of jobs. So why not go out and talk about that instead of same-sex marriage?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Start with the item's headline: "US consumers more confident in the economy in July" Uh, no. Given that a value of 90 is what the AP acknowledges in a later paragraph "indicates a healthy economy," today's overall reading of 65.9, up from 62.7 in June, means that consumers are less gloomy or less downbeat. Confident? Hardly. AP even got the report's underlying indicators wrong:
For the past two weeks Barack Obama's media minions have been working overtime trying to convince the American people the President was taken out of context during his now infamous "You Didn't Build That" speech in Roanoke, Virginia.
CNN's Donna Brazile and the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus tried making that pathetic claim on ABC's This Week Sunday only to receive a much-needed education from George Will and Breitbart.com's Dana Loesch (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It's becoming increasingly clear that the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, believes there are two primary kinds of users of its output: those who only read headlines and those who read on or click through. It often dresses up the headlines with inaccuracies, omissions, and occasional downright falsehoods, which more often than not are respectively rendered properly, included, and stated truthfully (or at least sort of close) in the actual content.
It's hard to find a more stark example of a contradiction between an AP headline and its underlying content than Martin Crutsinger's late afternoon report Friday following that morning's Gross Domestic Product report:
Charlie Rose omitted mentioning the continuing high unemployment rate as he interviewed Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. Rose also forwarded a criticism Geithner from the left, that the Cabinet official was "too friendly to the banks, because he knew them from his years at the New York Fed."
The anchor also didn't challenge the Obama administration official's assertion that keeping all of the current tax rates would be a "deeply irresponsible thing to do fiscally and economically now. If you do it, it costs a trillion dollars over ten years - a trillion dollars over ten years, which we don't have and we're not going to go out and borrow from other countries to support in that context."
Gosh, if Apple would only send the money it has parked overseas back to the United States and pay income taxes on it, the federal government's situation would be so much better, the budget would would balance, and ... no, not really. According to Peter Svensson at the Associated Press, the company has $74 billion in cash parked overseas, meaning that it would owe federal income taxes of about $26 billion at the maximum statutory rate of 35% if it brought it all back at once. That amount would cover the average daily deficit incurred during the past three and now going on four years for about a week.
In case you missed it (which wouldn't be surprising given how quiet the press has been since the related report's release, the Department of Labor reported that initial claims for unemployment rose to a seasonally adjusted 386,000 from a review (up, or course) 352,000 the previous week.
An unbylined Reuters report carried at CNBC (HT to an NB tipster) bizarrely described this result as a "rebound," both in its headline and text:
Todays unemployment claims release from the Department of Labor reported that initial jobless aid applications for the week ended July 14 were 386,000 after seasonal adjustment. Business Insider's email this morning carried a prediction of 364,000. Bloomberg's consensus prediction was 365,000.
At the Associated Press, in his 8:45 a.m. dispatch (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), Economics Writer Paul Wiseman was inadvertently correct when he wrote that "the figures may have been distorted by seasonal factors." Well yeah, Paul, but the seasonal distortion isn't the one you cited. As will be seen after the jump. today's number arguably should have come in at over 400,000.
A study released Wednesday from accounting firm Ernst & Young, which estimated that the U.S. would lose 710,000 jobs if the Bush-era tax cuts on the highest income earners aren't renewed, apparently isn't newsworthy to CBS. The network's Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning newscasts omitted the study, which also predicted that the nation's already struggling economic output would decline another 1.3 percent.
By contrast, on the July 9, 2012 edition of CBS Evening News, White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell played up a supposed $850 billion "cost to taxpayers" over 10 years if the current tax rates are extended.
New New York Times reporter Rebecca Berg gave the Obama camp the benefit of the doubt in Wednesday's "Shift in Welfare Policy Draws G.O.P. Protests." Berg didn't question whether the administration was purposely weakening welfare reform's work requirements for political advantage, but merely assumed the Obama camp was making a purely procedural move to give states "more latitude" in administering the welfare-to-work programs.
A move by the Obama administration to give states more latitude in running federal welfare-to-work programs has set off a firestorm among Republicans, who say it undercuts the work requirements set forth in the 1996 overhaul of welfare policy.
Democrats are at it again, claiming that Republicans, particularly House Republicans, are sabotaging the economy, while ignoring the quite effective job President Barack Obama has done to ruin the economy both on his own (regulatory and anti-fossil fuel hostility, wasteful green "investments," etc.) and with the help of Congressional Democrats when they controlled both Houses of Congress (stimulus, ObamaCare, trillion-dollar deficits, etc.).
The best argument against this nonsense is that if Republicans were really interested in hurting the economy, GOP governors wouldn't be doing good to even great jobs with their own states' economies. At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Josh Lederman, reporting from the National Governors Association meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia, attempted to frame a response to GOP governors' contentions (in bold after the jump) which qualifies as the howler of the day:
One might think that yours truly, who has been nagging the establishment press for years over its blind acceptance of seasonally adjusted data in government economic and employment reports, would be pleased to see that the Associated Press's Christopher Rugaber finally got around to making such adjustments the primary focus of his final report on the most recently released unemployment claims numbers on Thursday. His story's headline at the AP's national site even noted that "Seasonal adjustments to economic data can mislead."
That's fine, but it's not yesterday's full story. Rugaber noted that Thursday's report from the Department of Labor (DOL) -- that 350,000 initial jobless claims were filed after seasonal adjustment -- was influenced by the relatively light level of summer shutdown-related layoffs in the auto industry. But he totally and all too conveniently missed the fact that this year's number looked better after seasonal adjustment than last year's comparable week primarily because, as will be seen later, this year's seasonal adjustment factor was so inexplicably different. First, some excerpts from Rugaber's report:
In an interview with Romney campaign advisor Ed Gillespie on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie fretted over Republicans dismantling false Obama campaign attacks that Romney outsourced jobs as head of Bain Capital: "I want to get to a new ad that your campaign is putting out today....are you calling the President a liar?"
Gillespie didn't shy away from the charge: "What we're saying, Savannah, is that this ad that has been running saying that Governor Romney as CEO of Bain Capital moved American jobs overseas is a lie...independent fact-checking organizations. Just three yesterday came out and said there's no evidence to support the charges in this campaign."
Appearing on Wednesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, Washington Post financial columnist Steve Pearlstein accused Mitt Romney of being responsible for Bain Capital outsourcing jobs, even after leaving the company: "...they were doing it because that was the company that Mitt Romney had set up. I'm not saying that's bad. But for him to say, 'Well, not on my watch,' is – is, you know, a little silly."
Actually, what's "silly" is Pearlstein apparently not reading his own paper's fact checking of Obama campaign attacks on Romney as an outsourcer – attacks which the Post's Glenn Kessler gave four Pinocchios to for their dishonesty. Kesseler explained: "Regarding the outsourcing claims, we have frowned on these before. The Obama campaign rests its case on three examples of Bain-controlled companies sending jobs overseas. But only one of the examples — involving Holson Burns Group — took place when Romney was actively managing Bain Capital."
Editor’s Note– It is advisable to remove any sharp or heavy and blunt objects from your immediate vicinity before reading this. If seated at a computer, place something soft on the desk in front of you. CMI is not responsible for injury incurred as reaction to this article"
"I suppose that I'm grateful that I can make all my car payments and start saving for retirement while most of my friends are living at home and working part-time jobs -- but I often find myself lamenting the fact that I'm not living at home and not working a part-time job. From my perspective, these are just some of the life-changing, character-building experiences that I may never have."