Accuracy in Media

The New York Times analyzed the Department of Labor’s unemployment data, but in its analysis, it failed to recognize that the unemployment data represents one of the reasons behind recent anti-lockdown protests across the country.

The newspaper headlined its analysis, “U.S. Jobs Report Shows Clearest Data Yet on Economic Toll: Live Updates.” The New York Times went through the government statistics and noted that the numbers represented the “pandemic’s devastation.” It also claimed that the government data “understates the damage” since it did not account for Americans who have seen wages slashed or hours cut.

But the New York Times did not acknowledge that the unemployment figures were due to the strict lockdown measures enacted by state governors, which allowed little wiggle room for businesses to operate. For example, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did not give an end date to his state’s lockdown measures. Other governors also did not give a timeline for the lockdown’s end.

This uncertainty closed businesses arbitrarily and without recourse to operate. Therefore, these businesses could not earn money to pay their bills or their employees. The lockdown policies eventually led to the massive layoffs and unemployment, which sent the unemployment rate up to 14.7%.

This timeline of events and policies led to the series of anti-lockdown protests in states like Michigan, New York, and California. But the likes of the New York Times chose to ignore the economic motivations of American business owners and employees in its data analysis.

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