October 26, 2017

NBC Radio Brief Notes Modest Jobless Claims Increase, Ignores Far More Important Stories

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 5:56 pm

Establishment press bias is everywhere, even in the top- and bottom-of hour new briefs heard on radio stations across the land. During one such brief at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, NBC’s Lisa Carter presented three items as the day’s most important current news: President Trump’s declaration that the nation’s opioid abuse crisis is a public health emergency; the House passing a budget, removing one obstacle to passing President Donald Trump’s tax-reform plan; and — I can’t believe I’m typing this — an increase in unemployment claims of 10,000 from last week’s lowest level in 43 years, presented to induce low-information news consumers into believing that this rise is potentially problematic for the economy.

55KRC, Cincinnati’s local talk radio leader, formerly used Fox News for its radio briefs for about a dozen years, when it switched from CBS News. That early-2005 switch roughly coincided with CBS anchor Dan Rather’s richly deserved fall from grace over the Bush-Texas Air National Guard story he aggressively promoted and which was completely debunked in the runup to the 2004 presidential election. Rather’s risible attempt to influence that election remains debunked, despite the former CBS anchor’s out-of-touch denials and a 2015 movie flop which absurdly tried to make him and producer Mary Mapes look like heroes.

55KRC, which is part of the iHeart Radio network, switched to NBC sometime during the fall of 2016 or possibly January of this year. When I sent a complaint email to object to this move, the response from the station’s program director was: “Things beyond our control changed. Therefore, we have to work with what is made available to us.”

NBC’s biased news briefs are reaching the ears of listeners at 55KRC and iHeart affiliates throughout the land because the two entities formed a news delivery partnership during the summer of 2016. Despite the program director’s claim, it appears that 55KRC was not forced to accept NBC news briefs. The linked article notes that “Separately, iHeart-owned Premiere Networks offers Fox News Radio products to affiliates.”

Nevertheless, what’s done is apparently done. Thus, when listening to 55KRC, my response to this news brief provider change has usually been to either turn down the volume or switch to an FM music station when I know that 55KRC’s NBC brief is coming. I confirmed the wisdom doing those things today when I heard Carter’s narrative at 3:30.

It would be tempting to blame the attention the NBC reporter gave to the inconsequential rise in unemployment claims, and her implied “Oh my gosh” spin on that news, on the Associated Press, whose reportage is heavily used by news outlets around the country, and is typically quite biased to the left.

Nope. Christopher Rugaber’s report played it straight (bolds are mine):

Applications for US jobless aid up modestly from 44-year low

More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but the increase was modest and came after applications fell to the lowest level in 44 years the previous week.

THE NUMBERS: The Labor Department said Thursday that applications for jobless aid rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 233,000. Last week’s figure was the lowest since 1973. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 239,500.

The number of people receiving benefits slipped 3,000 to 1.89 million, the lowest level since December 1973.

… The data signals that employers are optimistic about the business outlook and are holding onto their workers.

… The economy is recovering from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria more quickly than many analysts expected.

Though “slipped” is an odd word to use in connection with the reported reduction in the total of Americans collecting unemployment benefits, given that it is a positive development, it’s hard to genuinely complain about the fact presented or the overall tone of Rugaber’s dispatch.

Thus, NBC and Carter appear to have consciously decided to present a positive news item as potentially troubling. In the process, they also ignored at least the following far more relevant stories (the claims report was released at 8:30 Thursday morning), found by scouring through the AP’s list of “Breaking News” stories over two hours old at its home page at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. It’s also impossible to ignore the inherent bias in the AP’s headlines:

  • “Trump: Clinton team funding for Russia is a disgrace” (this is supposed to be about the “Trump-Russia dossier,” but the wire service couldn’t bring itself to present an honest headline)
  • “Study: Premiums for popular ACA plan up by 34 percent” (the content makes it clear that the headline should read “plans” — again, a deceptive headline)
  • “States lose push to force Trump to restart health subsidies” (Trump stopped payment of these subsidies because they have never had the congressional authorization required; despite this, former President Obama ordered the Treasury Department to make these payments for almost three years.)

Anyone with a sense of news priorities would have placed these items ahead of the inconsequential jobless claims increase.

I could identify at least three more business stories from today that are more important than the news on unemployment claims, but readers here surely already get the point.

Paraphrasing the statement I made at this post’s opening — If it seems like establishment press bias reaches into every nook and cranny of their reporting and presentations, it’s because it really does.


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