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:
When it came to defending CBS's "60 Minutes" using phony memos to lie about George W. Bush's Vietnam War record, the media standard was "Fake But Accurate," at least according to a suggestion preserved in a September 15, 2004 New York Times headline, "Memos on Bush Are Fake But Accurate, Typist Says." But when it comes to accurate accusations made by Mitt Romney against Obama's economic record, the Times's standard is more like "Accurate But False."
Economics reporter Catherine Rampell authored Thursday's "Check Point," an occasional "reality check" feature for the Times: "Claim About Jobs Doesn't Tell Full Story." (The last five paragraphs of the print edition don't appear in the online version.) Rampell, taking the lead of the Democratic-slanted "fact-check" group Politifact, claimed Romney's "assertion is technically accurate but misses several important pieces of context."
With 14 million Americans out of work, New York Times economics reporter Catherine Rampell is wondering where the left-wing mobs are in the front-page story for Sunday Business, “Somehow, the Unemployed Became Invisible.” The text box imagined a better time: “In the 1930s, Americans did not endure unemployment so quietly.”
(Back on June 18, Rampell agonized over how “one little word” was depriving jobless Arizonans of additional weeks of federal benefits.)
Previously this year, Times reporters had questioned “deepest and most far-reaching” cuts in unemployment benefits by Michigan and Florida, although the supposedly drastic cuts reduced total (state plus federal) unemployment benefits to the jobless by a mere six weeks out of up to 99.
Rampell found a sympathetic case whom she sketched as being in a tragic, “for want of a nail” situation, and seemed to think the decision a no-brainer for Arizona because, after all, the federal government was paying for it:
Rampell’s word choice sent the message (perhaps unconsciously) that income isn’t earned through hard work or talent but is instead passively and undeservedly “received,” distributed by some nameless but powerful entity.
Typically, comments about rising inequality refer to the stark disparities in incomes of the very highest-paid Americans and everyone. We have observed in several posts, for example, that most of the income gains over the last few decades have gone to the very richest Americans. That means the highest-paid Americans have been claiming a larger and larger share of earnings.
Rampell even composed a chart “showing what percentage of all of America’s income (including capital gains) is going to each of several income classes, today versus previous years.”
Two New York Times reporters were out to lunch, while the Old Gray Lady's layers of fact-checkers were apparently asleep at the switch.
In an item which contained a number of oddities, Times reporters Stephanie Clifford and Catherine Rampell wrote the following:
Over all, full-time work in retail is slightly down. The number of people employed in the retail sector in August fell 4.9 percent, to 14.4 million, from a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
My initial reaction was to wonder how a 4.9% drop in employment, which would involve about 700,000 jobs, could be "slight." But in this case, media bias isn't the problem (possible examples of bias will come later).
A look at the same BLS data the Times pair must have used reveals a likely level of sloppiness that should never gotten online, let alone into print (which it did -- on Page B1 in the October 6 paper):