Good Morning America's Bill Weir and Reuters editor Chrystia Freeland on Saturday gushed over Obama administration talking points on the new unemployment numbers. After Weir talked about a White House-created graphic showing job losses slowing, Freeland unselfconsciously rhapsodized, "Well, I was going to say, what I think that first tells you is that [presidential adviser David] Axelrod is a really smart guy, because that is a beautiful graphic."
Continuing to tout how useful the show was being to the Obama administration, she added, "And I'm sure he's really, really happy to see it on TV." Perhaps wanting to spread the credit around, Weir complimented, "Might be [Obama adviser] David Plouffe who came up with that one, too."
Freeland couldn't get over the cleverness of this graphic, which featured the Obama logo, enthusing, "Okay! Okay. Both of you guys, well done." Now, it's one thing to repeat Democratic talking points, but to tout the brilliance of said talking points is quite another.
Earlier in the segment, Freeland flat-out asserted that the addition of 160,000 jobs last month meant the recession is over. When asked that question by Weir, she proclaimed, "Yes. Absolutely. I mean, this is really good news."
Later in the segment, the Reuters editor did try and make some attempt at tempering her praise: "Having said that, I think, actually, both the Bush administration and the Obama administration deserves a real credit for steering the country through the financial crisis." Too often, however, she seemed to be focused on hyping the President.
NewsBusters readers will remember that Weir famously said of Obama's innaugeration: "...From above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity."
A transcript of the April 3 segment, which aired at 7:05am EDT, follows:
BILL WEIR: And to get a little more perspective now, let us turn to the Reuters global editor at large, Chrystia Freeland. Good to see you this morning. Thanks for coming in.
CHRYSTIA FREELAND (Global editor-at-large, Reuters): Nice to be here.
WEIR: So, does this mean that recession is officially over?
FREELAND: Yes. Absolutely. I mean, this is really good news. We have to be cheerful about it. This, as you said in the really good report, this is the strongest jobs numbers we've had in three years and that is a really good and important sign. Having said that, it's not going to feel good for a long time. We had a huge loss of jobs. Eight- More than eight million. And it's going to take more than 162,000 jobs a month to get people out of that.
WEIR: Right. What's so interesting, wall street is doing gangbusters. Corporate America seems to be healthier. Does that mean it's- they're running leaner and meaner? And they're more resistant to hang out the help wanted sign? What has to happen for that to translate into jobs?
FREELAND: Yeah. I think that's a really good point. And I think we'll feel like a two-speed America. We've seen a really strong rebound in the corporate sector that's been reflected in the stock market. Wall Street is getting happy. But, it's not going to feel like that on main street for a while. And one the interesting things that came out of these jobs reports is, even though people are working longer hours and being more productive, wages fell a little bit. So, employers still have the upper hand right now.
WEIR: If you're one of those 15 million out there looking for a job, all of these numbers and charts are cold comfort for you. But we do live in a very politically charged era these days. And the Obama administration is quite proud of this particular graphic. It's all over their website. [Onscreen: Obama graphic. Has the Obama logo. Says: "Road to Recovery." Shows job losses from the Bush administration and the Obama administration, with job losses getting less under Obama.] On- These are job losses going back to November of '07. Now, on the red side, on the left, steady job losses under the Bush administration. They bottom out right before Obama takes office. And then the increase begins. What does that tell you about policy? And the stimulus? And all of the efforts made on both administrations?
FREELAND: Well, I was going to say, what I think that first tells you is that Axelrod is a really smart guy, because that is a beautiful graphic. And I'm sure he's really, really happy to see it on TV.
WEIR: Might be David Plouffe who came up with that one, too.
FREELAND: Okay! Okay. Both of you guys, well done. I think, in general, we tend to both blame and credit the White House too much for what we see in the economy. The economy is not like a car that you can just turn the steering wheel and turn jobs up, they would do that.
FREELAND: Having said that, I think, actually, both the Bush administration and the Obama administration deserves a real credit for steering the country through the financial crisis. Two years ago, we were talking about the possibility there would be a second Great Depression. That hasn't happened. The other political thing that I think is really important about these jobs numbers is it's not going to be enough for people to be cheering and feeling really comfortable in November. So, cold comfort for people who don't have a job. Not a lot of comfort for the White House, for Democrats, looking at the midterms.
WEIR: Yeah, might be too little, too late for them. But, a little bipartisan kudos, which is a rare thing on any program these days.
FREELAND: Absolutely. Absolutely.