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Good News For American Workers Is Bad News For CNS

Terry Jeffrey and don't believe that positive news about dropping unemployment rates and more jobs created should be reported when the president is a Democrat.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 4/10/2014's mission statement claims that it "endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story." That's a lie, of course -- CNS has no interest in publishing information that doesn't benefit conservatives.

One egregious example of this is CNS' coverage of the monthly unemployment numbers. A year-long ConWebWatch examination found that CNS buried or ignored good news about dropping unemployment rates, instead cherry-picking negative information. It's almost as if CNS had an official policy to not report good economic news while Barack Obama is president.

Let's look at CNS' coverage of the unemployment numbers month by month. Statistics for the unemployment rate are here, and number of jobs created is here.

April 2013

Statistics: Unemployment rate at 7.5%, 203,000 jobs created.

CNS reporting: A May 3 article by Elizabeth Harrington carried the headline "Government Unemployment Rate Drops Again--to 3.3%." A separate article by Harrington focused on the claim that there were "33,000 more 'discouraged workers' in April" and made no mention whatsoever of the lowered unemployment rate or jobs created.

May 2013

Statistics: Unemployment rate at 7.5%, 199,000 jobs created.

CNS reporting: A June 7 CNS article by Elizabeth Harrington led with how "the total number of government workers in the United States increased by 92,000." Harrington downplayed the fact that more Americans had entered the work force by repeating the utterly irrelevant statistic that "the 89,705,000 who were not in the labor force in May was still enough to fill every Major League Baseball stadium simultaneously, 69 times."

June 2013

Statistics: Unemployment rate at 7.5%, 201,000 jobs created.

CNS reporting: Susan Jones kicks things off with an article headline "StagNATION: June Jobless Numbers Essentially Unchanged." Apparently, adding 201,000 jobs is not sufficient change for Jones. Editor in chief Terry Jeffrey piled on with his own article declaring that "Since January 2009, when Barack Obama was inaugurated as president, the United States has seen 54 straight months with the unemployment rate at 7.5 percent or higher, which is the longest stretch of unemployment at or above that rate since 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics started calculating the national unemployment rate." It's an arbitrary starting point chosen only for its Obama-bashing value; Jeffrey offers no evidence that 7.5 percent is a particularly meaningful number.

Another article by Jones focused on how "The number of Americans employed part time for economic reasons (involuntary part-time workers) increased by 322,000 to 8.2 million from May to June." The attack point here is the unsubstantiated claim that "As the Obama administration prepares to roll out the Democrats’ health-insurance-for-all plan in 2014, many businesses have warned that they will keep their payrolls below 50 full-time workers to avoid penalties imposed by the law."

July 2013

Statistics: Unemployment rate at 7.3%, 149,000 jobs created.

CNS coverage: In an Aug. 2 CNS article, Elizabeth Harrington plucked out the obscure number that "There were 988,000 discouraged workers in the United States in July, an increase of 136,000 from July 2012" and focused on that. She made no mention of the jobs that were added in July.

Jeffrey piled on with a cherry-picking article obsessing over the Hispanic unemployment rate. How much cherry-picking did Jeffrey do? He writes: "During President Obama's time in office, the number of American Hispanics who are unemployed has increased 161,000--rising from 2,205,000 in January 2009 to 2,366,000 in July 2013." But Jeffrey fails to mention that, according to the numbers he's using, Hispanic unemployment peaked in November 2009 at 2,978,000. For Jeffrey to refuse to mention that Hispanic unemployment is down more than 600,000 -- or about 20 percent -- from the bottom of the 2009 recession is simply dishonest.

August 2013

Statistics: Unemployment rate at 7.2%, 202,000 jobs created.

CNS reporting: CNS unleashed a barrage of cherry-picked articles, written by Terry Jeffrey and Michael Chapman:

None of these articles mentioned the number of jobs created in August.

September 2013

Statistics: Unemployment rate at 7.2%, 164,000 jobs created.

CNS reporting: The government shutdown delayed release of the monthly unemployment numbers for a few weeks, but when they finally came out, CNS has worked its usual cherry-picking magic. The barrage this time around comes from Terry Jeffrey and Ali Meyer:

In only one of the articles is it mentioned that unemployment went down and the number of jobs went up, and that's buried in the 9th paragraph.

October 2013

Statistics: Unemployment rate at 7.2%, 237,000 jobs created.

CNS reporting: CNS unleashed another onslaught of cherry-picked statistics:

None of these six articles mention the number of jobs created in October.

November 2013

Statistics: Unemployment rate at 7.0%, 274,000 jobs created.

CNS reporting: CNS produced three stories on the new numbers, none of which promote the good news. Here are the headlines:

By contrast, the unemployment rate dropping and well over 200,000 jobs being created was not deemed worthy of a headline at CNS.

December 2013

Statistics: Unemployment rate at 6.7%, 84,000 jobs created.

CNS reporting: apparently believed that December's unemployment numbers were sufficiently substandard that it didn't need to do much rooting through them to cherry-pick data to obscure good news. CNS devoted only two stories to the December numbers. The first, by Susan Jones, carried the headline "Hiring Slows in December; Only 74,000 Jobs Added, Fewest in 3 Years." This is the first time in recent memory that CNS put the jobs-added number in the headline; normally, it buries that number because it contradicts CNS' narrative of talking down the economy under Obama. The second article, by Ali Meyer, is more along the lines of CNS' usual cherry-picking, carrying the headline "20,000 Fewer Women Held Jobs in December."
January 2014

Statistics: Unemployment rate at 6.6%, 144,000 jobs created.

CNS reporting: The numbers improved somewhat over January, which means CNS returned to its cherry-kicking ways:

Only the first article mentioned the number of jobs created, presumably because they could be portrayed as falling "short of analysts' expectations."

February 2014

Statistics: Unemployment rate at 6.7%, 197,000 jobs created.

CNS reporting: Ali Meyer ably distorts in a March 7 article headlined "February: 223,000 More Unemployed Individuals." Meyer's two other articles focused on cherry-picked statistics like "Black Teen Unemployment 32.4%" and "February: Women Unemployed Up 36,000." None of Meyer's articles mentioned the number of jobs created, or that the slight increase in the unemployment rate was driven by an increase of people entering the work force.

March 2014

Statistics: Unemployment rate at 6.7%, 192,000 jobs created.

CNS reporting: You wouldn't know the positive numbers by reading CNS' coverage, of course. Instead, CNS serves up these cherry-picked doom-and-gloom numbers:

None of these articles mentioned the fact that 192,000 jobs were created.

* * *

Starting with the statistics from October, many of these articles note that "The business and economic reporting of is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold." One has to wonder: Is Dr. Wold spinning in his grave because his money is going toward creating such biased and fallacious reporting?

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