Spin Cycle: MSNBC Excuses Bad March Jobs Report

Anchors and guests cover for Obama’s dismal data.

The March jobs report which showed only 120,000 jobs gained, when roughly 200,000 were expected, was a disappointment and some reason for concern about the recovery, according to The Washington Post.

But on left-wing MSNBC, there were “silver linings,” “good news” and plenty more spin on this economic story.

During Martin Bashir’s program the picture on the screen said “Upswing” with picture of people in suits. Bashir interviewed journalist and author William Cohan who said this month’s data was a “pothole” and that one month is less important than the trend.

“The last three months we’ve created an average of 212,000 jobs a month, which is pretty darn good, and the overall rate of unemployment has come down to about 8.2 -- some people have said, ‘well, that’s because people have stopped looking for jobs’ -- but look, I think we’re on a very solid trend now. As you said, 4 million new jobs in four years, that’s something to be pretty proud of,” Cohan said. But neither Bashir, nor Cohan pointed out that since February 2009 there has still been a net loss of 740,000 jobs. And the Obama administration has fallen far from keeping its jobs promises.

James Pethokoukis wrote for The American that “The Obama Jobs Gap is up to 15 million missing jobs,” on April 2, 2012. His chart showed that “It would take 15 million net new jobs to restore the ratio of employed people to total population to where it was in 2007, before the Great Recession.”

But those facts didn’t phase MSNBC. MSNBC host and NBC’s Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd made sure to point out that the 8.2 percent unemployment rate was a “three-year low,” and interviewed economist Mark Zandi who has “provided advice” to the Obama adminstration. According to Todd, Zandi is “the person we always like to turn to” on jobs report Fridays. No wonder, Zandi proposed that the “silver lining” to the report was that state and local governments were laying off fewer people.

He also supported Obama’s idea that “if state and local government hiring” was at the level of private sector hiring, the unemployment rate could be as much as a point lower. Todd “dived” into this, again quoted Zandi, and said that the rate would be two-tenths of a point lower if we’d lost only half of the public sector jobs that we actually lost. Then Todd bashed the GOP with a study from Mike Konczal of the left-wing and Soros-funded Roosevelt Institute that focused on state jobs cuts in states that went red during the 2010 election.

Todd bolstered the liberal report that had been published by The Nation saying, “ it makes you wonder about the idea that you can promote job growth on one hand, while slashing the size of government on the other. Do the two go as hand to hand as folks think, maybe Federal level is different from state and local?”

Todd also used some of Zandi’s comments about the labor force participation rate later in his “Daily Rundown,” to attribute fewer people seeking work to retiring baby-boomers and less immigration.

Following the Rundown, weekend anchor Alex Witt (filling in for Chris Jansing) downplayed Obama’s unemployment record on “Jansing & Co.” by stating the rate had “peaked close to 10 percent.” Actually, it peaked at 10 percent (once revisions were made that lowered it from 10.2). She interviewed former Obama green jobs czar, Van Jones, and democratic strategist Krystal Ball about the March report. Ball argued that one month could be an aberration and suggested the data could be revised upward.

That’s the same argument Jared Bernstein, former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, made during “MSNBC LIVE” when he declared, “one month does not a trend make.”

Anchor Thomas Roberts introduced the jobs report that hour saying, “There is good news for the country this morning, and we’re going to talk about the unemployment rate, it did fall once again inching closer to 8 percent with clear job gains, but it also means some tepid news for the Obama administration because of the caveat: those gains fell short of expectations.”

Ironically, during “NOW with Alex Wagner,” Wagner herself noted that the White House was putting a “positive spin” on the underwhelming jobs report. Too bad she didn’t acknowledge how much spin her own cable network was doing on its own that day.

Wagner found a “silver lining” during that segment too. She noted that the number of long-term unemployed fell from 5.4 million to 5.3 million and then said of part-time workers: “this is a little bit of a silver lining fell from 8.1 million in February to 7.7 million.”

During “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” the idea was floated that warmer weather had increased hiring in earlier months, and viewers were cautioned not to focus too much on a single month of data.

Such spin is the exact opposite of the way the news media treated presidents with an R next to their name. President George W. bush was forced to defend 5 percent unemployment, and a 9.4 percent unemployment rate was “good news” under the Obama White House, but “all” bad for President Ronald Reagan.

MSNBC’s sister network, NBC, is currently under fire for its coverage of the Trayvon Martin story. The Media Research Center has called about Congress to investigate Comcast/NBC News for its editing of the George Zimmerman audio, which make it appear Zimmerman was a racist.