CNN's Soledad O'Brien once again jumped to the defense of the Obama campaign, as she tried to argue on Monday that the economy is "trending" in the President's favor. She countered Romney aide Andrea Saul who hit Obama's record of net job loss while in office.
"When you say 'hasn't created net jobs,' of course you are talking about there was so much job loss that even started to happen before the President even came in," she lectured Saul. "They're rebuilding from that, so I'm going to correct you on that if I can." What Soledad did not admit is that while unemployment has slid to 8.1 percent, the labor force participation rate is the lowest in decades. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
It is more than a little odd that each of the three wire services identified in today's earlier post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in reporting on yesterday's OMG-awful jobs report, somehow failed to mention something about the data presented. Specifically, at Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Associated Press (here and here), five reporters in four stories somehow avoided using two truly required words in describing the data contained in many if not most government economic data releases: "seasonally adjusted."
One is in an odd omission. A pair of such reports is a strange coincidence. The presence of four from three separate sources makes you wonder, especially since all three wire services found room for the two magic words (Bloomberg, though cryptically; Reuters; AP) in dispatches about Uncle Sam's report on initial unemployment claims the previous day. A look at how dismal the not seasonally adjusted numbers were in April follows the jump, and shows how, bad as they turned out to be, the Obama administration caught a lucky break in the seasonal adjustment calculations. It may also explain why the wire services avoided mentioning it.
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).
Is MSNBC's Chris Matthews stupid, dishonest, or both?
On Friday's Hardball, the host actually said of today's report from the Department of Labor, "The unemployment rate did drop to 8.1 percent, the lowest rate since President Obama took office" (video follows with transcribe highlights and commentary):
About 45,000 fewer jobs were added in April than economists expected, and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent due to more than a half million people giving up the job search. CNN Money reacted with the headline “hiring fizzles.”
University of Maryland Economist Peter Morici wrote in response the jobs report, “The economy added 115,000 jobs in April - much less than expected and not enough to keep up with natural population growth. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent because another 522,000 adults quit looking for work and are no longer counted.”
Well, we can all stop thinking about the presidential election, because Barack Obama's victory is assured. This morning, Paul Wiseman at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, virtually celebrated analysts' predictions that the unemployment rate will drop a whole 0.3% between now and Election Day to 7.9%. But in searching desperately for a precedent, he claimed that a public which has historically tended to have a "What have you done for me lately?" mentality has rewarded presidents seeking reelection who have seen the jobless rate decline in "the two years before the election." By this "logic," Obama will be reelected even if the unemployment rate zooms to 9.7% by Election Day, because that rate will still be lower than November 2010 rate of 9.8%. So, as I said, it's over.
What follows in rebuttal isn't a claim that Obama won't get reelected. But if he does, it will be certainly be for reasons other than the economy's (brace yourself) "brighter jobs picture" and its move into a "virtuous cycle." Excerpts from Wiseman's wheezing follow the jump (bold is mine; HT to BizzyBlog commenter "Tony"):
There's been a lot of bad economic news lately, but the folks at the Associated Press don't care.
In their view - or at least in the opinion of those they surveyed - "[h]iring through the rest of 2012...will be strong enough to push the unemployment rate below 8 percent by Election Day" boosting "Obama's prospects in November":
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is doing a television tour for his book "End This Depression Now!" Charlie Rose interviewed him twice, once on CBS This Morning Monday, then that night for the full hour of Rose's PBS talk show. Krugman appeared on Bloomberg TV Tuesday debating Ron Paul, and the friendlier confines of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow show that night.
Krugman's economic recovery plan, no surprise, involves lots of government jobs, a smear of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget, and a cavalier attitude toward America's massive debt load: "Britain had debt that was well over 100% of for most of the 20th century. It's not a crisis level problem....you can live with 100% for decades on end." On Rachel Maddow he said Wall Street guys have "destroyed the world."
There's real paradox in romanticizing squalid, rat infested tents in one section of your publication while in another advising well-heeled readers where to buy a $5,000 Chippendale rug. But such is life at a liberal big-city newspaper.
It must be campaign season. Fact-checking gurus are rating accurate statements by the Romney campaign as "Mostly False" or "Half True" or – the best – "True but False," since they're correct but they apparently don't tell the whole story.
However, when President Obama made a factually-incorrect statement last week, he did not receive a "False" rating from the website PolitiFact, but benefitted from a grading curve since he "has a point" to make. Romney received the same "Half True" rating for a factually-correct statement.
There ought to be a law against newscasters blatantly lying to the public.
On Monday, MSNBC's Martin Bashir falsely claimed the economic plans put forth by Great Britain and Spain are "the Romney-Ryan budget in action...almost exactly, word for word" without informing his viewers that those countries raised taxes to fight their deficits (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Despite Wisconsin's unemployment rate being well below the national rate and steadily falling, on Saturday's NBC Nightly News correspondent Ron Allen selectively hyped job losses: "With the protesters serenading Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker and urging voters to recall him from office June 5th, the state's job losses add to the list of grievances.The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs between March 2011 and March 2012."
That same Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed that Wisconsin's unemployment rate fell from 7.6% to 6.8% in that same time period. Ignoring that reality, Allen featured a sound bite from an unidentified woman who ranted: "No other state has lost jobs like this. Wisconsin alone moved sort of off the rails of the national recovery."
On Monday, CBS This Morning gave leftist New York Times columnist Paul Krugman a platform to promote his new book and to spout his usual prescription of massive government spending. Krugman also bashed Mitt Romney: "He's going to make Herbert Hoover look good by comparison." Anchor Gayle King boosted her guest by twice citing President Obama's praise for the author as "one of the smartest economic reporters."
Krugman briefly acknowledged the "long-term budget problem," but quickly added that "now is not the time to be slashing....Now is the time to be doing public works, to be rehiring those school teachers, to get this economy moving again." He also ripped the austerity measures taken by several European countries: "You look at what's happening in Europe and...we just learned that austerity is not the answer...the big problem now is not to have a new stimulus, but simply to reverse those cuts at the state level."
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt gave a much-needed economics lesson to New York Times columnist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman on ABC's This Week Sunday.
During a lengthy discussion about liberal and conservative views on how to stimulate the currently soft recovery, Schmidt - a known Barack Obama supporter - marvelously said to his left-leaning co-panelist, "Surely you're not arguing that the government should hire all the unemployed people" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A truly shocking thing happened on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday.
The perilously liberal host - with journalistically corrupt ties to the current White House - came out against the millionaires' tax known as the Buffett Rule calling it "bad politics in the long run for Obama" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Although the list is long and undistinguished, PBS's Tavis Smiley said possibly one of the dumbest things he's ever said on television Wednesday.
In a discussion about class warfare and the politics of envy on Fox News's Hannity show, Smiley actually said with a straight face, "No one who happens to be poor wants what Mr. Romney has" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It has become clear what the Obama campaign's strategy for trying to win states like Michigan and Ohio is and will continue to be. In three steps, it's as follows: 1) Pretend that the states' Republican governors, John Kasich in Ohio and Rick Snyder in Michigan, who both succeeded free-spending Democrats who presided over stagnant economies, have had nothing to do with their increased employment, lower unemployment rates, and improved business climates (as well as balanced budgets in fiscal 2012 involving no tax increases, though Snyder may ruin that in Michigan this year); 2) Instead give the credit for all of these favorable developments to Obama and the governments' bailouts of Chrysler and General Motors; 3) Don't say anything about how other states run by Dems, particularly Illinois, North Carolina, and Connecticut, are lagging because they have instead tried to apply Washington's tax-and-spend model to their states' fiscal situations.
Of course the AP, aka the Adminisitration's Press, is all too willing to make the administration's laughable claims appear credible. It did so in two separate items this week, one giving basic details about the job-market situations in Ohio, Michigan, and North Carolina, and the other covering Obama allegedly improving chances of winning Ohio, Michigan, and a dozen other "swing" states. There was no mention of the Buckeye State's or Wolverine State's chief executives in either article.
The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan appearing on ABC's This Week Sunday gave Keith Olbermann a much-needed education on what living in a capitalist country is all about.
When the disgraced former Countdown host said, "It’s a very large view right now that business has never been viewed less favorably in this country," Noonan scolded, "There is a lot of people who think businessmen create businesses which create jobs" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Have the executives running MSNBC informed their employees that it's completely acceptable to lie on the air if it helps President Obama win reelection this November?
On Thursday, Martin Bashir flat out lied to make the case to his audience that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is going to hell for supposedly lying when he says the current White House resident promised unemployment would not rise above eight percent if his stimulus package was enacted (video follows with transcript and commentary):
UPDATE: The headline at AP's 9:37 a.m. report now reads "US unemployment claims signal slower hiring." That's nice, but it won't what was broadcast immediately after the report's release until news outlets become aware of the revision.
The games the Associated Press's Chris Rugaber and the wire service's headline writers are playing with the weekly unemployment claims from the Department of Labor are getting tiresome, and grow seemingly more disgraceful with each passing week. Today, DOL told us that initial unemployment claims were 386,000. Last week's 380,000 was revised upward to 388,000. Both figures are significantly higher than the number in the low 360s seen in the four prior weeks. The sadly predictable headline at Rugaber's AP story (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) follows the jump.
It's difficult to be a good economist and simultaneously be perceived as compassionate. To be a good economist, one has to deal with reality. To appear compassionate, often one has to avoid unpleasant questions, use "caring" terminology and view reality as optional.
Affordable housing and health care costs are terms with considerable emotional appeal that politicians exploit but have absolutely no useful meaning or analytical worth. For example, can anyone tell me in actual dollars and cents the price of an affordable car, house or myomectomy? It's probably more pleasant to pretend that there is universal agreement about what is or is not affordable.
CNN's Soledad O'Brien once again tried to fact-check numbers she took issue with, and once more she failed to refute them. On Monday's Starting Point she took aim at Mitt Romney's claim that women have accounted for 92 percent of the job losses under President Obama.
"That would be a shocking number if it were true, which it really isn't exactly overall," O'Brien began. Yet even ABC's George Stephanopoulos admitted the report was "accurate." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Monday's Morning Edition, NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty touted how "liberal religious leaders said the Republican [budget] plan...was an affront to the Gospel, and especially Jesus's command to care for the poor." At the same time, Hagerty avoided mentioning the left-wing ideology of two critics of the proposal: Peter Montgomery of People For American Way, and liberal academic Stephen Schneck.
The correspondent did, however, clearly identify Ryan as a "Wisconsin Republican" and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention as part of a "conservative resistance to taxation." She also highlighted how "for other religious conservatives, the Bible is a blueprint for robust capitalism," and cited evangelical radio host David Barton as an example.
On Sunday’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos stumbled into the truth when he told Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that Mitt Romney’s statistic, about how 92.3 percent of all job losses since President Obama took office have occurred to women, “is accurate.”
That, however, contradicted the liberal party line espoused by ABC reporter David Muir on Wednesday’s World News when he stated:”The non-partisan group PolitiFact saying that number right there is ‘mostly false,’ arguing the President can’t be held responsible for the job picture the day he took office.”
There was a truly delicious moment on ABC's This Week Sunday that should be mandatory viewing for all liberal media members.
After the perilously liberal editor of The Nation magazine, along with Obama's former domestic policy adviser, blamed all the nation's problems on Republican obstruction in Congress, the Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot struck back saying, "The first two years [Obama] had open field, Democratic, vast Democratic majorities. You got what you wanted. You got a huge expansion of federal government. How is that working out?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Today's Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report from the Department of Labor revealed that, after seasonal adjustment, 380,000 Americans filed initial applications for unemployment benefits the week ending April 7. That figure was 13,000 higher than the week ending March 31. The AP headline at Christopher Rugaber's report as of 9:18 a.m.: "US applications for unemployment aid tick up."
Additionally, the March 31 initial claims figure of 357,000 was revised upward to 367,000. So the April 7 figure of 380,000 -- even before it almost certainly gets revised up next week (upward revisions have occurred in 53 of the past 54 weeks I have tracked) -- is 23,000 higher than what DOL initially reported for March 31. Yet Rugaber didn't tell his readers about the degree of the revision to March 31. Several paragraphs from the AP report, which contains an excuse which seasonal adjustment if done correctly by DOL should have covered, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Wednesday's The Situation Room, CNN used a slanted PolitiFact report to dismiss Mitt Romney's claim that "women account for 92.3 percent of the jobs lost under President Obama." CNN correspondent Jim Acosta aired a clip of Romney making the claim before adding that "the watchdog website PolitiFact rates that claim as 'Mostly False'."
PolitiFact even admitted that the campaign's numbers were "accurate," but added that "their reading of them isn't." According to numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Romney campaign's claim is indeed factually correct.
On Friday (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Associated Press's headline at Paul Wiseman's dispatch after the release of the government's March jobs report was: "US job market takes a break after hiring binge." It was as if they just knew that March was an aberration, and that the "binging" would resume in April.
The markets weren't as convinced today: "Investors had a three-day weekend to brood over disappointing job growth in March. When they got back to work Monday and delivered their verdict, it wasn't good." Wiseman and AP regrouped today, identifying "5 reasons the US job market might be weakening":
Did you know that the economy was on a "hiring binge" until February? Gosh, neither did I until the headline to Paul Wiseman's report at the Associated Press yesterday afternoon informed of that.
I also didn't know that economies took breaks, but that's what the AP's headline said the economy did in March. And don't worry -- "few economists expect hiring to fizzle in spring and summer, as it did the past two years." Correct me if I'm wrong, but they weren't expecting to see fizzling in 2011 or 2010, and guess what happened (or maybe they were just extended "breaks")? What follows are the first five paragraphs from Wiseman's dispatch, plus selected others: