The spin is constant, indeed dizzying, as described in the matter of job losses in a recession by James Taranto, whose “Best of the Web Today” feature has been gracing the Wall Street Journal site for many years.
Taranto quotes a free-market think tank which has studied and compared network TV coverage of bad times under Reagan with coverage under Obama.
The Business & Media Institute analyzed network unemployment stories [when] data was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics between March 2009 to September 2009 and March 1982 to September 1982.
“were 13 times more negative in their treatment of Reagan than Obama.” Twenty of 22 stories mentioning the Reagan administration portrayed it negatively, versus 1 out of 15 that mentioned the Obama administration.
The perpetrator most familiar to today’s viewers was ABC’s Charles Gibson, then a Capitol Hill correspondent, who found nothing good in the 1982 report. “All the numbers are bad,” he said and quoted Dem critics including Wisconsin Congressman Henry Reuss, who characterized Reagan’s policies as not “just mistaken,” but “wicked.”
By 2009, anchorman Gibson had developed a sunny outlook, announcing for his ABC audience that “sometimes a bad jobs report can look good.” Reporting that 345,000 lost their jobs, he found hope.
“[T]he number was smaller than economists had predicted, and that’s good news,” he pronounced, even if the 9.4 percent unemployment rate was “pretty bad.” He made no mention of Obama at all. A few months later, in August, he thought the economy “may be finally turning the corner.”
It’s “Candide” revisited.