Charles Gibson: Spinning for Obama

ABC News Anchor Charles Gibson

ABC News Anchor Charles Gibson

On Monday night Charles Gibson continued doing his tough job of spinning for the Obama administration.  After starting with Jake Tapper’s report on the health care debate, anchor Gibson did what he has done time and time again: spin horrible economic news positively for the Obama administration.  On the October 12th World News Tonight, Gibson said this:

Most economists say the recession is over and a recovery is underway.  That’s the view of 80 percent of experts in a survey by the National Association for Business Economics.

Then Gibson immediately moved on to other news.  As so often seems the case, Mr Gibson only reported the shred of data that could conceivably look good for Obama: the fact that 80 percent felt that the recession is over.  Given that this is a survey done by an organization that has been around for fifty years, one would expect that they would ask more than one question, perhaps gleening more than one simple data point.  Lo and behold, that does appear to be the case!

First, look at this graph, drawn from the results of the survey’s question asking when the jobs would return:

CNN Money chart_job_recovery

Note that only a total of 7.7 percent of the economists surveyed believed that we would recover the lost jobs by the end of 2011, more than two years from now!  I am just a programmer who spent 10 minutes doing internet research to find this data but I would argue that it is highly pertinent to the intentionally shallow story peddled by Mr. Gibson about the rosy end of the recession.

A cynical person could safely assume that Mr. Gibson simply cherry-picked the news that was good for President Obama and left out the parts that were not good for Mr. Obama.  In fact, it would take an exceedingly gullible person to believe that Mr. Gibson was not being intentionally deceitful in his reporting of this story (par for the course for Charlie).  It would seem that those people still under the spell of the Obama personality cult think that defending him serves some higher purpose.

In Gibson’s defense, he may just be a talking head who reads from the teleprompter (sound familiar?) and may not be responsible for the content that he repeats.  It seems apparent that Jake Tapper and Nick Schifrin do all the real journalism on that network, freeing up people like Charlie Gibson to be advocates for the Left.

This reminded me of a good report at Newsbusters a couple of weeks ago.  In case you are under the impression that this is an isolated incident of Gibson’s advocacy journalism, take a look at the following video which compares the reporting of a 9.4 percent unemployment rate under Obama to that same number under President Reagan in 1983.  Conveniently enough, it is the same so-called journalist (Charlie Gibson) doing both stories!

1982 – President Reagan (R) – 9.4% unemployment

” There really isn’t any good news in the statistics, all of the numbers are bad” … “450,000 more people are unemployed than were a month ago.  For Democrats it’s an issue ready-made.” — Charles Gibson

2009 – President Obama (D)- 9.4% unemployment

“In the current economic environment, sometimes the bad jobs report can look good.  345,000 American workers lost their jobs in May.  A big number to be sure, traumatic if you are one of the 345,000, but the number was smaller than economists had predicted, and that’s good news.” — Charles Gibson

Newsbusters published a report on this oddly different reporting of the same jobs numbers, relying on a report from the Business and Media Institute.  Some of their conclusions:

Network Reports 13 Times More Negative Under Reagan than Under Obama: An overwhelming majority of stories mentioning the Reagan administration were negative 91 percent (20 out of 22) while only 7 percent (1 out of 15) of Obama administration mentions were negative. Additionally, Obama mentions were favorable 87 percent of the time, but there were zero positive mentions of Reagan.

 Networks Connect Reagan White House to Negative Jobs Numbers Almost Twice as Often as Obama: Unemployment stories in 1982 mentioned the Reagan administration 71 percent of the time (22 out of 31), but 2009 stories mentioned the Obama administration only 40 percent of the time (14 out of 35).

Charles Gibson: 9.4% Unemployment ‘Good News’ (Obama) and also ‘All’ Bad (Reagan): The unemployment rate reached 9.4 percent under Reagan and Obama. But ABC’s Charles Gibson covered the identical rate very differently in 1982 than in 2009. Gibson told viewers May 7, 1982, “[T]here really isn’t any good news in the statistics. All the numbers are bad.” But by 2009, Gibson had turned into an optimist citing “good news” June 5 and “hope the economy may be finally turning the corner” Aug. 7.

I think that Charlie Gibson gets that same thrill running up his leg that Chris Matthews has so embarrassingly described.  Both men are nothing more than partisan hacks, but at least Matthews is not taken seriously as a journalist.

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2 responses to “Charles Gibson: Spinning for Obama

  1. David Chappelle

    I agree that the difference in coverage is striking. However, I question the language used in the pie chart data. If the question is, “when will we have the same number of jobs as in 2007”, you have to discount the large number of automaker jobs that are gone PERMANENTLY, and to a lesser extent, banking and finance. Those jobs are never coming back. There was overemployment in 2007 compared to demand/need for those industries. For us to get back to 2007 levels, the recovery has to be in full swing for a period of time to increase employment in other industries, to make up for those jobs that are permanently gone. If you are not working for a automaker or a bank, you may feel that the economy is strong even though technically employment is below 2007 levels.

  2. Glad to see you reading the blog, Dave! Keep doing it and keep me honest. :^)

    I agree with your basic point about the pie chart data – it was not clear enough – but it still supports my main point that Gibson cherry-picked the one nice sounding part of the report and left the bad news out of the story. Charlie was doing what he does every night – being a cheerleader for the Left in general and Obama in particular.

    I partially agree with your point about the auto jobs, but this is not a static pie and economies go through things like this. At one time people lamented the sad story of what refrigerators did to the ice man or what cars did to buggy repairmen. It is all dynamic. Those autoworkers signed their own pink slips over decades by making the unions a big bloodsucking tick on the necks of those corporations. I feel little sorrow for them after they used extortion for many years to make sure that they got paid a lot more than any free market would have paid them. Just my opinion.

    I doubt that you disagree too much with this, but I stand by the proposition that the economy would be in better shape today if we had seen a “Reagan ’83” type response to this recession rather than the Obama statist “grow government” response. The guy either does not understand economics or simply cannot allow economics to flavor his ideology. I think that it is mostly the latter.

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