One of the original purposes of this blog — way back when I was a self-appointed ombudsman for a major metropolitan newspaper — was to critique my own paper and others. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear.
I was shocked, shocked I tell you, when I unfurled The New York Times today and saw a graphic on the front page comparing the Obama recession jobs recovery to past recessions. It was a familiar sight, variations of it have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily and countless online sites. Just put the words “jobs” “recovery” and “recession” in your favorite browser and select “images” as your target and scroll and scroll and scroll.
I could not believe the editors at the Times would deign to publish an image so damning for the candidacy of Obama, or any Democrat for that matter. But my jaw began to assume its normal position when I began to read the accompanying stories and checked out the online version of the Times.
The sidebar tucked into the armpit of the lede (that’s how old editors spell it to differentiate it from lead, the metal) about the “zero job growth” in August was nothing but an editorial. “New Urgency in the Battle for Stimulus” reads the headline.
“Nonpartisan analysts and the Congressional Budget Office have credited the first stimulus package with helping to end the recession and keep unemployment from growing even higher than it did,” the “news” story relates. “They say the winding down of the federal government’s help this year has contributed to the economy’s stall.” (Note how the paper uses the nebulous “they” when it means “we.”)
It also claimed Republican reaction to the lack of job growth suggested more openness to Obama’s Keynesian plans.
“Some Republicans fear the party could bear the greater blame in 2012 if partisan obstruction against the president and political gridlock are seen as damaging to the economy,” the story gleefully predicts.
And when one looks at the Times website, you find the sidebar is the lede and the news about zero job growth is the sidebar. And that graphic comparison to job growth in prior recessions? Nowhere to be seen when last I looked. I wonder why?
Over on the editorial page, the Times continued its assault on private enterprise jobs by taking the president to task for doing what The Wall Street Journal suggested a couple of days ago — blocking the proposed EPA rules on ozone that would have killed thousands of jobs and shut down many coal-fired power plants, causing electrical rates to skyrocket. The editorial said “there is still no excuse for compromising on public health and allowing politics to trump science.” Right they are, but not in the manner they intended.
Here is a similar version of that chart from back in early February, so you can actually read it: