Accuracy in Media

CNN’s Tom Foreman and Erin Burnett did a little “Reality Check” this week at the Democratic Convention that was bold and effective. Don’t they realize that they’re not supposed to call out Democrats who fudge the truth? Apparently not, and good for them.

On Tuesday night they responded to the constantly heard refrain: Barack Obama had created 4.5 million private sector jobs in 29 months. Besides the issue of whether it was the private sector, not Obama, who created whatever jobs were created, this figure became the mantra to show that Obama had turned the economy around. Foreman, to CNN’s credit, said that the problem wasn’t in the math, but in the context. They agreed that 4.5 million private sector jobs have been added during this administration, but, as Burnett said, the problem is that there were also “many jobs lost. In fact there were five million private sector jobs lost. So, net jobs lost, private sector, 500,000,” said Burnett. She said that if you look at other jobs, including government jobs, “the picture is actually much worse. In terms of net loss, we are still 1.1 million jobs in the hole under this administration.”

She said that regarding unemployment, “the answer is that categorically we are not” better off than we were four years ago. They showed that the unemployment rate was 8.3% (today that number was lowered to 8.1%, but only because 368,000 Americans left the labor force), compared to Election Day 2008, when that figure was 6.5%, and on inauguration day of 2009, it was 7.3%, though it later peaked at 10%.

They also explained that many of the jobs that were added were short-term jobs, such as with the stimulus money, or with the census. In fact, many people were hired multiple times over a several month period to work for the 2010 census, each time counting towards that 4.5 million figure. Foreman added that surveys showed that “somewhere around 80% of the jobs that had been lost in this recession and afterwards, were middle to high wage jobs, and about 60% of the jobs we’ve gained are low wage jobs.”

The following night the two tackled Democratic claims that President Obama had saved the auto industry. Erin Burnett cited several people who had made the claim, such as his former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, and First Lady Michelle Obama.

“And we heard it again tonight from the head of the Auto Workers Union, Bob King,” said Burnett. “One of his lines, ‘what did Mitt Romney say?’ ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt.’ Now that is actually from an op-ed in 2008. It was titled, ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.’ But I think we should make it clear that was the title the editors of the ‘New York Times’ gave the piece. Mitt Romney himself had titled it ‘The Way Forward for the Auto Industry,’ and said he preferred managed bankruptcy.”

Tom Foreman, her fellow CNN correspondent who had “Reality Check” duties that night, said, “Yes, that’s absolutely right. And although a lot of partisans here don’t want to talk about this, Romney was really making an argument against the bailout, not for the liquidation, not for the wiping out of this company. Here’s what he wrote: ‘the American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing. A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. The federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.’”

He added, “The fundamental issue here is not wiping them out, not wiping out all those jobs, but instead keeping them going, just a different way. The second part of King’s statement, more than a million jobs saved, signs all over here, people waving them, 1.1 million jobs saved. The Obama campaign has used that many times, but they also couched it on their website by saying up and down the supply chain.”

Foreman and Burnett also took on the cost to taxpayers. “How much did taxpayers put into G.M.?” she asked.

“You as a taxpayer with General Motors, specifically, right now, you own about a third of G.M. That’s how the bailout was structured. G.M today closed on the stock exchange at $21.76 a share. Now, in order to break even, so for taxpayers, you out there to make that money back, G.M. shares would have to rise to between 52 and 60 dollars a share. Treasury right now says they expect to lose 25 billion dollars or more, which, of course, is interesting. When you look at the banks specifically, taxpayers have made money. They’ve lost money on G.M. right now and on AIG, the insurer. But when you look at the auto industry, Anderson, there is one company that did not get a bailout and is thriving. And that, of course, is Ford.”

Thankfully CNN took its job seriously, at least for these two issues, and called out the Democrats for, shall we say, bending the truth. Good job, CNN.

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  • Problem is that no one watches CNN anymore. Maybe if they do more of this they’ll win back a share of the audience.

  • eddy.canuck

    Yes kudo’s to CNN. Good points but they failed to note that the Canadian Taxpayer also took-down 10% of that Bail-Out by purchasing $6bn in GM stock –
    thru our Conservative Government. Half that position was liquidated in the most recent IPO offering.

  • GOPdiva

    Thanks for the report, Roger. I wouldn’t have known this because I never watch CNN. Kudos to Tom Foreman and Erin Burnett for stepping up and reporting the facts. I might take a different light to CNN if they continue to do their job as journalists and report the truth.

  • ItsJo

    Perhaps if CNN had done ‘honest reporting a long time ago’, they would NOT have lost their audience share. At least Tom and Erin did it during the convention,
    which is to their credit. Too many in the “Lapdog Media for Obama” have been covering for him, NOT reporting honestly and indulging in “Republican/Conserver-ative “Hit Pieces” and this, REALLY turns off millions of people out here. We have learned to ‘go around the liberal media’ and look to the net for reports and sites that will help ‘fill in the honest stories, and filter out the Obama cover-ups”.
    Again, thank you CNN-refreshing for a change….

  • Was this just one random act of journalism or could it possibly be, do I dare to say it, The new, improved C.N.N.! One can only hope.

  • Wish they would have “factchecked” 0bama 4years ago. We wouldnt be in this mess now. I hope this is not just a one time little crumb they’re throwing, I hope they stick with the “fact checking” even on 0bama.

  • Maybe, just MAYBE, they are starting to get it right, finally. I applaud their attempt! If they keep it up, maybe I’ll start to respect them again. It’s been a LONG time since I did that. We’ll have to keep an eye on them from now on. Maybe hitting the toilet in the ratings game is what it takes to wake the MSM & the LSM up?

  • siquijorisland

    CNN hard to believe maybe just maybe they are trying to become real news again.

  • Perhaps if CNN had done honest reporting a long time ago, Obama wouldn’t have been elected.

  • Lindamae1

    Erin is one of the hosts I can watch — she tries to be balanced – unlike Matthews, Maddow (who keeps reminding us of how bright she is -Schultz, and even Blitzer. Like O’Brian, they should follow Sununu’s advice and wear an Obama sticker on their forehead while reporting. Good for Erin. (I’m not her mom, aunt, etc. ,don’t know her.)

  • How we need to hear how the truth is twisted.

  • Juliet Giles

    romney known for his honesty also good natured man-oabam known for know mr. liar

  • dave

    I wonder if MSLSD, I mean MSNBC is paying attention to this?
    I doubt it, as Chrissy Matthews of SmallBalls, I meant Hardball, or Oddball, whatever….could not tolerate the truth.

  • Too little too late. They have done everything in their power to deceive the American people and ensure they get only half the story, if that. Now that they have lost just about their entire audience, you have small examples like this starting to pop up. I’m sorry, they have a loooooong way to go to restore credibility over there at CNN>

  • Dolphieness

    I am surprised to see honesty and professional journalism coming from CNN. They have been in the pocket of the left and this government for so long, they were like the media in USSR, China, Venezuela and Cuba.
    I hope they continue on this track. It would be nice to see honest unbiased reporting return to the news media.

  • disqus_ZDFCZCWLSu

    CNN needs to fact check the RNC….and all the lies that Ryan told

  • cdmsr

    Maybe, just MAYBE, if they had done their jobs twelve years ago, we wouldn’t have had: a president appointed by a corrupt Supreme Court; who ignored explicit warnings of bin Laden’s determination to attack targets in the US; who lied us into a war in Iraq and fought that war and the war in Afghanistan (where he let bin Laden escape at Tora Bora to maintain fervor for his war of choice) off the books by ‘continuing resolutions, and; was so financially irresponsible that he pushed through an unfunded Medicare drug benefit and lied about its cost — Medicare’s own actuary was threatened with firing if he revealed the true cost — and giving his wealthy donors (“the haves and the have-mores … my base”) the key to the Treasury thus converting a $650+ billion surplus into a $4+ trillion deficit and, let’s see, am I forgetting something? Oh, yeah. Ran the economy off the cliff!

    I know the Right thinks it’s time to quit blaming Cheney/Bus (four years for a once-in-a-century disaster of incompetence?) but I believe that the last GOP administration’s having billed itself as the CEO White House and touted their MBA president and their business experience sounds familiar.

    Oh, yeah! Isn’t that pretty much Romney’s mantra?

  • V.Malone

    That was a good report. Finally honest,except they forgot that litle video showing
    the head of GM giving a speech in Shanghai about how GM is shifting 70% of
    their business out of US and into China. And they won the contract by putting up
    1 Billion $. How did they do that?