Just 16 days ago, CBS reporter Trish Regan did a story for the Evening News premised on the idea that the “reality” of the U.S. economy is far gloomier than the positive comments from experts such as Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. As MRC’s Brent Baker noted in the July 21 CyberAlert, Regan preferred to trust the offhand comments from people she met on the streets of New York City to all of the statistical evidence that the economy is growing at solid pace and creating jobs.
CBS showed Regan prompting a woman on a Manhattan sidewalk: “Alan Greenspan says the economy is doing fine, we’re seeing a lot of growth. What do you think of that statement?”
The woman replied, “I disagree with that.” Regan pressed her to go further: “Why do you disagree?” The woman answered, “Because the economy’s not doing good if they’re laying off so many people, so it’s not good at all.”
Regan then cherrypicked statistics to support the woman’s pessimistic presumptions: “In June, nearly 111,000 jobs were lost, making it the worst stretch of job losses in nearly a year and a half.” Then she showed this comment from an equally pessimistic man on the street: “It’s very tenuous. It could fall apart at any moment. One bad piece of news, one additional perhaps terrorist attack, one negative corporate earnings, and it goes right down again.”
Thanks to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Labor, we now know that just as Regan was touting the economy’s supposed inability to create jobs, businesses added another 207,000 jobs in July, what Reuters characterized as “a healthy gain that outstripped economists’ expectations.”
And regarding her claim that “in June, nearly 111,000 jobs were lost,” Regan utterly misled viewers. Last month’s report indicated that business payrolls actually grew by 148,000 jobs in June.
Today’s report changed that number, too, but not in Regan’s favor. Job growth in June was actually 166,000 jobs. CBS's pessimism notwithstanding, the reality just keeps getting better and better.