Just as Sean Hannity (and Fox News) repeatedly promoted Donald Trump’s birtherism, now Hannity (and Fox News) are helping to promote Jack Welch’s jobs report trutherism - a conspiracy theory that the Obama administration cooked the latest jobs report numbers to put unemployment under 8%. Fox gave itself cover for hyping this baseless accusation by presenting the subject as a discussion and, instead of offering up any real reporting that might support the theory, providing a supportive, anti-Obama guest and then boosting his “impartial” cred. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what passes for a “fair and balanced” discussion on Fox News.
Yesterday afternoon, Eric Bolling hosted Welch in a lapdog interview clearly designed to help validate Welch’s conspiracy theory. Last night, Hannity hosted Karl Rove for the same effect – only with more explicitly anti-Obama attacks, including the racially-tinged smear that Obama is “lazy.”
It must have been a classic case of projection. Hannity didn’t do a lick of any homework to find out if any of the accusations he was throwing at the Obama administration might actually be true. In his introduction, Hannity said, “It appears that the Obama administration altered for political gain the monthly jobs report.” Neither he nor the Fox News producers thought it necessary to investigate whether that appearance was reality.
According to Hannity’s accusation, Obama released the phony report in order to undo the damage following “The worst political week of his life.”
But if Obama really wanted to cook the jobs books, why wouldn’t he have deprived Romney (and Fox) of their unemployment talking points months ago? Did he have a cooked report at the ready because he knew he’d need it this week? Or did he hastily cook it up in a panic after his poor debate performance? Conveniently, Hannity didn’t say.
“There are some very important questions that need to be asked of the Obama administration,” Hannity said accusingly.
But instead of finding anyone who could really get legitimate answers, Hannity cooked his own books by trotting out Karl Rove. As I’ve previously noted, phony experts more likely to promote partisanship than enlighten the audience is a regular Hannity tactic. So no wonder he thinks the Obama administration would do something similar.
Hannity introduced Rove by saying, “joining me now with analysis, Fox News contributor, the one and only ‘architect’ Karl Rove.” As Heather at Crooks and Liars noted, Hannity convenitnetly forgot to mention that Rove is running a Super PAC which is working to get Mitt Romney elected.
“I want a great jobs report,” Hannity disingenuously insisted. If he meant what he said, why did he do absolutely no work to determine whether or not the one we have is correct? And why not note the eight veteran economists who dismissed Welch’s unfounded theory? Instead, Hannity went on a bullyboy grandstand, likened the jobs report to the administration’s “lies” about Benghazi and accused them of trying to “crawl their way over to the finish line.” Then, speaking of dishonest, he “asked” Rove, “Am I wrong?”
Just to show you what a liar Hannity is, not even Rove would go there with hi. “You’re right about one narrow thing,” Rove said. Rove cleverly sidestepped the matter by repeatedly arguing that the economy is not so good.
At the end, Hannity said, “I think this president’s checked out. I think he’s lazy. I think he admitted he’s lazy.”
Now ordinarily, I wouldn’t think an accusation of laziness as race-baiting, even if it did come from a white man directed at an African American. But when you consider Hannity’s racialized obsession with Obama, it’s hard to read it as anything else.
Hannity closed by saying, “This is going to be a vicious 32 days, I promise everybody that.” He was purportedly referring to President Obama but I have no doubt that it applies (probably more) to what Hannity’s got up his race-baiting sleeve.
What will Hannity do if enough people get employed to knock it down more points? A good October report will seal the deal for Obama.
Well, quite simply, there was no conspiracy—the government ‘fessed up and explained exactly what they were doing. IMS, it was during 1982—when the country was suffering some unwantedly high unemployment figures (for a number of months) when someone in the Reagan admin realized something very interesting: That the military was NOT included as part of the “employed” as far as the Labor Dep’t was concerned. So, to help fudge the unemployment rate, and bring the unemployment rate down a couple of points, everyone who served in the Armed Forces suddenly found themselves included in the overall employment/unemployment figures. Unfortunately, the news networks (back when they actually employed journalists and investigative reporters) didn’t fully co-operate with the Feds. While the news anchors did report the official figures as provided by the government, they also reported the figures WITHOUT the newly-added Armed Forces members. And with both sets of figures, you could see just how much of a fudging it was. Without the Armed Services included, the unemployment rate tended to be about 0.2% higher than the figure that included the Armed Services.
And since then, serving in the military has meant that you were “officially” employed. Unfortunately, as the with and without figures showed, military employment didn’t make a serious dent in the unemployment figures.
It would be nice to know how Hannity and Rove would react if the military weren’t already included in employment figures, and the Obama Admin decided to include them in the figures. Oh, who am I kidding? They’d freak out (even more so than they are now).