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June 02, 2009

Media "Creates or Saves" ~5 Points of Obama's Public Approval Rating By Endlessly Repeating Obama's Absurd "Created or Saved" Non-Statistic

We need a fourth category: Lies, damnable lies, and statistics don't cover it anymore.

It's now lies, damnable lies, statistics, and complete bullshit made-up fakey-fantasy numbers the media uncritically offers as "statistics."

After nearly twenty years in Washington I thought I've seen every trick ever conceived, but the White House claims of "jobs saved" attributed to the stimulus bill is unrivaled. What causes the jaw to drop is not just the breathtaking deception of the claim, but the gullibility of the Washington press corps to continue reporting it.

News stories from President Obama's event last week hailing the 100-day mark since the stimulus was passed typically repeated the assertion that the stimulus has already "created or saved 150,00 jobs." ("And that's just the beginning," the President crowed.)

Here's an important note to my friends in the news media: the White House has absolutely no earthly clue how many job losses have been prevented because of the stimulus bill. None. Not Christina Romer. Not Jared Bernstein. Not Austen Goolsbee.

Each of these distinguished economists would have failed Statistics 101 for making such a laughable claim. But we see them now repeating these assertions to reporters who have seemingly abandoned all skepticism.

Forget that only a trickle of stimulus spending has yet made its way into the real economy. Set aside your views on whether or not the stimulus has any job-saving or -creating impact. And leave for another day the White House's failing to account for changing macroeconomic conditions and seasonal adjustments.

There is only one necessary data point to make the "jobs-saved" claim: an accurate measure of expected employment levels in the future. That baseline data is critical to measure what the employment level would be in the absence of the stimulus. Unfortunately for the White House, they cannot possibly know that measurement within any degree of confidence -- and they know it.

The media is also demonstrating intellectual incuriosity by failing to ask why no other president in the history of the US has offered up this strange metric in the past. Surely presidents facing a lot of job losses would have liked to have been able to offer a competing measurement of how many jobs they'd "saved."

How come no one has before?

Surely, at some point, George Bush "saved" some jobs (when he wasn't actually creating them -- as jobs were created just about every month of his tenure). Anyone care to estimate the media's reaction at a hypothetical George Bush assertion that he had "saved" x number of jobs in a month?

Hell, the media won't even credit him for having saved lives, there having been no terrorist attacks on American soil after 9/11. They suggest that probably there weren't any terrorist attacks planned, so no lives could have been saved.

Well, there is some evidence for Al Qaeda's continuing plotting and no evidence at all for Obama's "saved" jobs.



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posted by Ace at 02:35 PM

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