August 11, 2005

The Washington Post’s Massage of Last Friday’s Employment News

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 9:18 am

They are so busted.

In reading over one of Rush’s rants at his site yesterday (not linked, as it will be behind the subscriber wall by about 6PM), I tried to find the Washington Post article he referred to on Friday’s employment numbers. He didn’t link it, so I figured he was reading from the print edition.

I found the August 6 print edition article, and then compared it to the original August 5 online report. The differences are, to say the least, stark.

Here are the first seven paragraphs of the online report about the employment numbers last Friday:

Job Growth Strongest in Three Months

By Nell Henderson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 5, 2005; 3:12 PM

U.S. job growth jumped last month and the unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent, the government reported today, providing another sign of an economy picking up steam.

Auto dealers, home builders, health care providers and other employers together added 207,000 workers to their payrolls, the biggest monthly increase since April, the Labor Department said. The pace of hiring also was stronger than previously reported in May and June, the department said, adding a combined 42,000 jobs to its earlier estimates.

Meanwhile, home and auto sales are booming, while factory orders are climbing and businesses are investing more enthusiastically in new equipment and software. Inflation is tame outside energy costs, and interest rates remain low.

The economy expanded at a solid 3.4 percent annual rate in the spring, and analysts see the pace quickening this summer.

The labor report provides “yet more evidence that growth is accelerating,” said Nigel Gault, U.S. economist at Global Insight, a research firm.

The good news also encouraged more people to start looking for work. The jobless rate was unchanged because the growth in employment was about equal to the increase in job seekers.

Stock prices fell today, however, as many investors concluded that stronger economic growth will prompt the Federal Reserve to raise short-term interest rates higher to keep inflation under control.

Except for stock market anxiety, which is typical after a good jobs report, this is very good news.

By the time it got to the August 6 print edition only a few hours later (first seven paras again), presumably thanks to the “input” of Jonathan Weisman, the story was transformed into anti-Iraq and anti-Bush bash:

Economic News Isn’t Helping Bush
Job Growth Up Sharply in July, but Polls Show Dissatisfaction

By Jonathan Weisman and Nell Henderson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, August 6, 2005; Page D01

U.S. job growth jumped last month and the unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent, the government reported yesterday, the latest economic data to show the economy picking up steam.

Yet President Bush’s economic approval ratings remain low, weighed down by anger over Iraq and concerns about lackluster wage increases and stubbornly high gasoline prices.

“I feel the economy is just not as good as it should be,” said Adam Judis, 40, a Pasadena, Calif., computer consultant and political independent. “We’re spending too many lives, resources and money on Iraq. There has to be a point where we say we can’t help everybody. We need to help ourselves.”

Employers added 207,000 jobs in July, the biggest monthly gain since April. And job growth was stronger than previously reported in May and June, said the Labor Department, which added a combined 42,000 jobs to its earlier estimates.

Factory orders are climbing, and businesses are investing more in new equipment and software. Inflation is tame except for energy costs, and interest rates remain low. The economy expanded at a 3.4 percent annual rate in the spring, and analysts see the pace quickening this summer.

The labor report provided “yet more evidence that growth is accelerating,” said Nigel Gault, U.S. economist at Global Insight Inc., a research firm.

Yet a CBS News poll released this week found that 52 percent of respondents disapproved of Bush’s handling of the economy, while 42 percent approved. Those numbers were worse than his overall approval rating, which split with 46 percent disapproving and 45 percent approving. Just 20 percent of those polled said the economy is improving; 32 percent said it is getting worse.

Obvious conclusion: The Post feels it’s their duty to massage the news for their print subscribers. They just couldn’t let the story go to print without throwing cold water on it, so they found one guy to change the subject to Iraq, and then presented poll results to “prove” that Bush really isn’t handling the economy well (even though the objective evidence says his administration is). This is a clearly conscious, obvious, and disgraceful effort to turn good news into bad news.

Y’know, I don’t care why they do it. It could be because they can’t themselves stand to report good economic news or any other news about this administration positively, or they perhaps think that their mostly liberal inside-the-Beltway readership won’t stand for positive news about the economy without offsetting it with a potent dose of negativism. What matters is the result: a clear and purposeful distortion of news and events from a mainstream media outlet that cannot be trusted to report the news straight.

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    Comment by carisoprodol — September 24, 2006 @ 7:42 pm

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