'Nightly News' Praises 'Hope,' Jobs 'Saved or Created' by Stimulus

It’s been over 100 days since President Barack Obama signed the $787-billion stimulus bill into law and to commemorate that milestone, one media outlet hailed it as a success, at least in one corner of the world.

The May 28 “NBC Nightly News” illustrated how one single project “saved or created” jobs and gave a beleaguered community “hope.” “Nightly News” fill-in anchor Lester Holt echoed Obama’s words from a speech on May 27 in Los Angeles, where the president took credit for saving the economy from the “brink.”

“Speaking in Los Angeles last night, President Obama declared the U.S. has stepped back from the brink in the economic crisis and he credited the $787-billion stimulus bill he signed 100 days before,” Holt said. “So far, about $112 billion worth of programs and projects have been approved and the Obama administration says about 150,000 jobs have been saved or created.”

However, even though Obama hailed his stimulus bill as a success, a May 28 story by Brad Heath in the USA Today came to a different conclusion. Heath reported the stimulus is bypassing the states that need it the most.

“In Michigan, for example — where years of economic tumult and a collapsing domestic auto industry have produced the nation's worst unemployment rate — federal agencies have spent about $2 million on stimulus contracts, or 21 cents per person,” Heath wrote. “In Oregon, where unemployment is almost as high, they have spent $2.12 per capita, far less than the nationwide average of nearly $13.”

Nonetheless, NBC chief investigative correspondent Lisa Myers went to Miller County, Mo. to praise the good done by the stimulus, specifically an $8.5-million “bridge-to-the-middle-of-nowhere.”

“It’s the first stimulus project green-lighted in the country, replacing this crumbling bridge over the Osage River in rural central Missouri,” Myers said. “Critics dubbed it a bridge to the middle of nowhere. But in struggling Miller County, that $8.5 million bridge means jobs.”

Myers showed how that $8.5-million bridge had trickle down effect, albeit temporary. Still, even she was skeptical of the “jobs saved or created” formula the federal government used that even has critics in Congress.

“Based on a formula, federal and state officials estimate that 240 jobs will be saved or created by the bridge project,” Myers said. “But those estimates seem very unlikely, and while it may be possible to count jobs created, figuring out how many jobs are saved is an imprecise science.”

But in the end Myers suggested that Obama succeeded because he brought “hope” to a community just like he promised.

“Even though it’s not as much as advertised, federal money is stirring hope where there hasn’t been much,” Myers said to end the segment.