Sunday, February 4

CNN gives a sloppy wet one to the prez

Digby has a post about what she calls "the giddy reception that President Bush received on the floor of the NY stock exchange last week," with a partial transcript of the CNN coverage.

As CNN correspondent Susan Lisovicz noted in her stand-up, Bush is the second president to visit the exchange during trading hours. The first was Herbert Hoover. Just kidding. The first was Hoover's ideological heir, Ronald Reagan.

Lisovicz's report from the trading floor had this bit:

President George W. Bush, we believe, has just entered the building, and he may pass right behind me. Of course, the president of the United States using Wall Street as his stage to talk about his economic policy, and there's a lot to talk about that is quite favorable to the Bush administration.

We've had 7.2 million jobs created since 2003. The jobless rate historically low, 4.5 percent. We just got the first look at the fourth quarter GDP coming in better than expected at 3.5 percent.
It takes a little work to get employment data, but it's not that hard. You can find it at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The disappointing thing is that you can't create a chart on the BLS site and then link to it. It's all dynamically generated and unlinkable.

Anyway, let's look at nonfarm payrolls. In January 1993, when President Clinton took office, people had 109,725,000 nonfarm jobs in this country. In January 1999, there were 127,477,000 nonfarm jobs. The economy created a net 17,752,000 jobs in Clinton's first six years.

In January 2001, when President Bush took office, people had 132,471,000 nonfarm jobs. Last month, people had 137,258,000 nonfarm jobs. The economy created a net 4,787,000 jobs in Bush's first six years.
  • Clinton: 17.8 million net new jobs in six years.
  • Bush: 4.8 million net new jobs in six years.
Lisovicz is engaging in propaganda. Is she factually correct about 7.2 million jobs created since 2003? In August 2003, after the recession, employment bottomed out at 129,818,000. Payrolls have grown by 7.4 million since. In the equivalent period during Clinton's presidency, nonfarm payrolls increased by 9.9 million.

This stuff is easy to look up. I don't expect Lisovicz to go to the BLS web site while she's standing on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, shivering in ecstasy when the president is standing just five feet away. But a real journalist doesn't merely parrot an administration's talking points. A true journalist puts those talking points in perspective.