During Democratic Convention, Two of Three Networks Ignore Dire Jobs Picture

For three nights, ABC and NBC fail to mention the national unemployment rate or the ‘nearly 13 million’ people looking for work.

The national unemployment rate is currently higher than when President Barack Obama took office, but he and many others have been making the case at this week’s Democratic convention that he should get four more years as president.

But the convention also falls just days before the August unemployment report comes out Sept. 7. According to Marketwatch, it is expected to show only 120,000 jobs added, much lower than July’s 163,000. It would also be lower than the jobs needed to break even in a given month, due to population growth. So it would make sense for the networks to at least mention unemployment in their evening reports Sept. 3-5. But only one of the three broadcast networks did that.

CBS “Evening News” mentioned the 8.3 percent unemployment rate or the “nearly 13 million” looking for work in four stories during that time frame, while ABC and NBC never mentioned it those first three nights of convention week.

More network stories, five total, mentioned that jobs are being created or added to the economy including one story in which San Antonio mayor Julian Castro claimed Obama has created 4.5 million “new jobs” and argued “that’s more than was created [under 8 years of Bush].” But Castro’s facts were very flawed.

In order to get that figure he begins counting in 2010, after the worst job losses which happened during Obama’s first year in office and is only counting private sector jobs (which helps mask government job losses). According to a CNN fact check: "The figure of 4.5 million jobs is accurate if you look at the most favorable period and category for the administration. But overall, there are still fewer people working now than when Obama took office at the height of the recession." [Emphasis added]

Back in February the Congressional Budget Office announced that this stretch of unemployment higher than 8 percent is the longest period since the Great Depression. This is still the case in spite of hundreds of billions of dollars spent on stimulus and the Obama administration’s promises that the rate would not go above 8 percent if his stimulus plan was passed.