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Free Market Project

3/2/2006 10:26:44 AM

Updated 02/24/06

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Broadcasters Ignore or Distort Solid Job Report
ABC and CBS ignore 4 1/2-year unemployment low of 4.7 percent while CNN finds results mixed at best.

By Ken Shepherd
Free Market Project
Feb. 6, 2006

Send this page to a friend! (click here)     The media have ignored or downplayed the governments latest jobs report 193,000 new jobs in January and the lowest unemployment rate since July 2001 continuing a trend of misreporting on American employment that the Free Market Project (FMP) detailed in a January 2006 report.

     On February 6, The Media Research Center (MRC) documented how ABC and CBS ignored the drop in unemployment. On February 4, CNNs In the Money spun the good news as bad, playing up how the jobs created missed economists projections.

     CBS Evening News didn't even put the new unemployment number in its Market Watch bumper which listed just stock market numbers. ABC's World News Tonight, anchored by Elizabeth Vargas didn't even have a stock market bumper, wrote the MRCs Brent Baker in the February 6 edition of CyberAlert.

     NBCs Brian Williams found the193,000 new jobs in January to be a bit below what was forecast, but impressive nonetheless, before adding that unemployment was now at the lowest it's been since July 2001.

     CNNs Jennifer Westhoven categorized the BLS release as a mixed January job report during a business brief on the February 4 edition of In the Money. Westhoven reported that the unemployment rate was the lowest in five years but quickly added that the 193,000 jobs added in January was well short of expectations.

     But BusinessWeeks Michael Englund noted in a February 6 online analysis that one missed prediction by economists does not a lackluster jobs report make. The government revised November and December 2005 job numbers, adding 81,000 to the original reports for those months. Additionally, other data from the January report illustrate the impressive strength of the U.S. jobs machine civilian employment rose 295,000. The average workweek held at Decembers upwardly revised 33.8 hours (median 33.8). Average hourly earnings jumped 0.4% (median 0.3%), with the December earnings figure revised up to the same hefty growth rate.

     In other words, unemployment is down and the employed are working higher-paying, full-time jobs.

     By again ignoring or downplaying good jobs numbers, the media continue the year-long negative view of the economy that
FMP recently documented in a January 2006 study. That study showed that more than half of jobs reports on network news focused on layoffs in a year of 2 million new jobs, and that roughly 12 percent of those jobs were ignored as the media failed to report 283,000 jobs recorded in monthly revisions by the BLS.

     In response to FMPs study, CBSs own Anthony Mason admitted to his networks Public Eye blog: For the most part, broad based media has done a lousy job of explaining the economy to people.


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