White House press secretary Sean Spicer tried to handwave the double standard between Donald Trump's pre-elecction assertions that the government's unemployment numbers were somehow rigged with the Trump administration's embrace of positive numbers in February by declaring, "They may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now."
The one person who didn't think that was a ridiculous statement? Media Research Center blogger Tom Blumer. Why? He has a conpsiracy theory for that.
He writes in a March 11 NewsBusters post:
Trump's apparent belief in the jobs numbers as relayed by his press secretary may be defensible, despite his campaign rhetoric.
The AP reporters failed to note that former BLS head Erica Groshen's four-year term expired on January 27, six weeks before yesterday's release.
Groshen's appointment was delayed for 11 months before she was confirmed in January 2013, likely because of Republican senators' and others' concerns over appointing a far-left partisan with "ties to decidedly left-wing political groups" into a technical position with the potential to spin or even alter underlying data.
During Groshen's reign, as the reported unemployment rate dropped from 8.0 percent to 4.8 percent during her term, there was reason to believe that BLS may have changed its criteria for whether a person was in the labor force and began excluding more people who were legitimately looking for work. Doing so in a manner inconsistent with previous practices would artificially reduce the officially reported unemployment rate.
Groshen has been gone for six weeks. With new leadership, it's at least possible that Team Trump has gained confidence in the BLS data, and has had the opportunity to correct any major flaws which the previous director might have allowed into its processes.
Those alleged "ties to decidedly left-wing political groups" Groshen had, according to the Daily Caller article Blumer cites as evidence? She co-authored an article "urging an end to small businesses’ exemption from expensive federal regulations," and her husband donated $20 to "the far-left Working Families Party."
Really, that's it.
Also, Blumer provides no evidence that Groshen ever falsified unemployment data or even, as he suggests, "changed its criteria for whether a person was in the labor force and began excluding more people who were legitimately looking for work." Indeed, Groshen has pointed out that the agency has used the same method for calculating the unemployment rate since 1940.
In fact, there was no reason to believe Groshen would manipulate the unemployment figures, despite Blumer's rant. There is, however, reason to believe that whomever Trump appoints to replace Groshen -- and he hasn't done so yet despite Groshen leaving in January -- might be ordered to do so, given Trump's obsession with appearances and his baseless attacks on jobless stats under Obama.
Apparently, neither Trump nor Blumer can accept the indisputable fact that the economy improved under Obama. So it seems Obama Derangement Syndrome never dies.