It’s already starting. When I opened Yahoo’s main page this morning, here was the top story:
“In the most impressive surge for the job market since the middle of last decade, the United States added 243,000 jobs in January, far more than economists expected. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent, the lowest in three years.”
Note carefully the language used – “impressive surge” – “hiring burst” – “far more than economists predicted.” You can almost see the (overwhelmingly liberal) writers dancing with glee over the news.
Then there was ABC:
“The Labor Department said Friday that January unemployment fell to 8.3 percent as employers added 243,000 jobs, a sign that the economy is at long last settling into a stronger recovery.” [emphasis ours]
Hiring was much stronger than expected, and once it was apparent the job gains were broad based across several sectors, economists and investors called it a “nice surprise” – “fantastic,” and even “a touchdown!”
“This is an optimistic jobs report, especially in light of very poor jobs reports for almost three years,” said Brian Hamilton, CEO of Sageworks, a financial information company.
Now, it is true that CNN gave a counterpoint to the rosy outlook:
The economy still needs to add about 5.6 million jobs to get back to 2008 employment levels, and it’s unclear if stronger job growth lately can continue.
But the above bit of very important information only appears way down near the bottom of the piece. This is a common tactic the media employs which allows them to claim that they are giving you “the whole” story, while knowing full well that 90% of people will not read the entire article, but they will remember the headline.
“So what?” you might say, “the numbers are the numbers.” Well, not exactly. The so-called official employment statistics have come under fire for being “manipulated” to make the number of unemployed seem less that it really is, tactics such as no longer counting those who have stopped receiving unemployment compensation, or ignoring those who have simply given up looking.
But that misses the point – whether in print media or television, it is the subtle (sometimes blatant) bias of the commentary surrounding the statistics that slants the story in a particular direction. And the effect on the perceptions of the reader or viewer is dramatic.
For example, when almost identical job growth numbers (around 200,000) were announced during the Bush administration, they were invariably preceded with the adjective “only” and the media reports were infused with words like “disappointing” and “less than expected” along with warnings that “experts caution against unwarranted optimism.”
In the visual medium of TV, the tone of voice and the expressions on the faces of the talking heads add even more bias. When announcing the job numbers during the Bush years, you could count on a furrowed brow, a somber tone, giving the unmistakable (and intentional) message that there was nothing to get excited about. And that was when the basic (U-3) unemployment rate was down around 5% – virtually full employment!
Fast forward to today, when if you watch the CNN, ABC, or NBC anchors reporting job numbers under Obama, even the slightest up-tick in employment will show them all grins and nodding heads – they can barely contain themselves. They are almost as giddy as they were reporting Obama’s 2008 election win.
But this is only the beginning – the warm-up to the main event. As we approach election day, the media message of rising optimism will increase dramatically, and this will happen no matter what the real numbers say. Because even if unemployment begins to creep back up, it will be be minimized as a “merely a temporary blip” or downplayed as a “modest” increase – nothing to worry about.
Note how effective the media has been in completely ignoring the dramatic increase in food prices – something that affects every household in America, the poor worst of all. We now have 14 MILLION more people on food stamps since Obama took office – nearly 1 in 4 working Americans. Outrageous.
But now that a Democrat is President, soaring food costs are suddenly “not newsworthy” in the world of the Obama-friendly media. Had John McCain been elected in 2008, we would be hearing non-stop about the “frightening rise in the cost of food.”
Then there are those pesky gas prices. The cost at the pump affects every American very personally and directly – it is right in front of their face. Here again, if gas prices decline, it will become front page news, and words like “dramatic drop” will be used to describe a decrease of even a few pennies.
But what if gas prices take a big jump just before the election? Here again, the media will run cover for Obama, minimizing the spike as “a minor increase” or a “temporary anomaly” and then changing the discussion to how gas prices “bolster President Obama’s position on alternative energy.”
The closer we get to the election, the more positive the economic reporting will be. The mainstream media will provide Barak Obama with millions (if not Billions) of dollars in what are nothing more than political ads for his re-election disguised as “news” articles.
And remember that, by hook or by crook, by election day the “official” unemployment rate WILL be 7.9% or less.
So whowever the Republican candidate turns out to be, they had better be prepared for the coming media tsunami.
John Caile – HAVEGUNWILLVOTE