The Labor Department on Friday reported that non-farm payrolls declined by 539,000 in April, and the Obama-loving media are cheering this as good news.
Here are some of the headlines:
US Jobless Rate Hits 8.9%, but Pace of Losses Eases -- New York Times
Layoffs slow to 539K in April; jobless rate rises -- Associated Press
Job losses ease, but unemployment rate up -- CNNMoney.com
Is this how the loss of over a half million jobs would have been reported when George W. Bush was President?
The answer is so obvious that even the New York Times got it right:
The United States economy lost 539,000 jobs in April, the government reported on Friday, a sign that the relentless pace of job losses was starting to level off slightly but was still nowhere near ending.
A year ago, the loss of more than half a million jobs in a single month would have seemed like a disaster for the economy. On Friday, experts were calling it an improvement.
Now, to be sure, the data was better than expected, as economists were predicting a loss of 610,000 jobs.
But, when non-farm payrolls dropped by over 500,000 last November before Obama was inaugurated, America's press weren't cheering the news.
Here's how the New York Times reported it on December 6 in a front-page piece entitled "Steep Job Losses Add to Pressure for U.S. Stimulus" (no link available):
The government's report of a giant job loss in November, the biggest monthly decline in a generation, puts more pressure on Congress and the administration to move quickly on a stimulus package, mortgage relief and perhaps financial aid for Detroit's big automakers.
Interesting -- a loss of 533,000 jobs last November was "giant," "the biggest monthly decline in a generation," and put "more pressure on Congress and the administration to move quickly on a stimulus package."
But, when worse news was reported five months later, with a president in the White House who's adored by press members, it's good?
Yes, I'm sure all those laid off are giving Obama a standing ovation.
Sidestepping the obvious sarcasm, when less people lose their jobs than analysts predict, it is indeed good news. Months and or years from now, this piece of data might certainly prove to be a sign that things were indeed getting better.
But, as NewsBusters, the Media Research Center, and the Business & Media Institute regularly informed readers in the past, this "better-than-expected" qualifier was hardly ever in headlines and lead paragraphs when George W. Bush was president making it impossible to believe that Bush-hating press members would ever have reported as good the loss of over 500,000 jobs when he was in office.
This is indeed important for people to understand, because it is quite clear the doom and gloom expressed by the news media in the months preceding Election Day submarined John McCain's presidential hopes basically assuring an Obama victory.
Furthermore, as evidenced by the December 6 Times piece, the press used the fear of a collapsing economy to advance Obama's stimulus package.
Now, five months later, virtually the same job losses previously reported as cataclysmic are a sign of optimism clearly demonstrating how the press regularly spin economic data to advance their agenda.
Be afraid, America. Be very afraid.
*****Update: The Wall Street Journal made an interesting point in its coverage of this jobs report:
Still, even though the decline was the smallest in six months, a good deal of the improvement came from temporary government hiring in advance of next year's Census.
How many media outlets will report that?