What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 5, 2012

Fact-Checking Ruth Ann Dailey

The P-G's Ruth Ann Dailey has a column out today about Rush Limbaugh, Sandra Fluke and birth control.  It has the expected right wing nonsense and some unexpected Limbaugh bashing.  But for the fact fetishists, we have to begin with this passage.   She asserts that :
In an age of one-minute network news stories and cable television's distortion-as-debate, the nuance of shared principle but different practice would be lost, and all the big, bad Puritans and Inquisition throwbacks would be melded into one scary, woman-hating monster.

As Mr. Limbaugh himself had pointed out, that's exactly what the White House wanted. It can't defend its economic record -- the recession and jobless numbers now belong solely to Mr. Obama -- so it needed to shift the campaign focus to social values.
Take a look at the unfacts slipped in, ever so gently, into that second paragraph.  She's trying to get you to think that all that bad news (recession, high unemployment) is the fault of the current administration.  We'll take them one at a time to see how she's misleading you, her loyal reading public.
First, there's this:
[T]he recession numbers...now belong solely to Mr. Obama.
Really?  Even though 18 months ago:
The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research met yesterday by conference call. At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months.
Ruth Ann, please tell us - when did the recession begin and when did it end?  Given that Barack Obama was inaugurated at the tail end of January, 2009 and the 18 month recession ended only 5 months later, isn't it very very VERY difficult (if not impossible) to assert with any level of honesty that "the recession numbers now belong solely to" Obama?  Or am I missing something here.  Besides your symptoms of the Obama derangement syndrome, of course.

Then there's the other half of that unfact pair (which isn't much of an unfact, though it's usage by Ruth Ann Dailey certainly was):
[T]he...jobless numbers now belong solely to Mr. Obama.
From The National Labor Relations Board dated February 3, 2012:
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 243,000 in January, and the unemployment rate decreased to 8.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job growth was widespread in the private sector, with large employment gains in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing. Government employment changed little over the month.
Then there's this graph from the White House:

Ruth Ann, do you see the downward trend along the right side of the graph?  Looks like that occurred between January '08 and January '09 - well before Obama was inaugurated.  See how the trend moves upward after April '09 and has been in completely positive "job gains" range ever since what looks like the first quarter of 2010?  That's what's happening during the Obama Administration.

But I don't think you were looking to cheerlead the for the Obama Administration on the jobless numbers, were you?

You were just hoping no one would check your work.

You're welcome.

Happy Monday, everybody!


Heir to the Throne said...

Here is a fixed version of the graph showing that job growth started when the Republicans took the house.

EdHeath said...

Aren't there two houses of Congress? And how many votes does it take for cloture in the Senate? How often have Republicans blocked votes?

Feel free to produce a graph of that.

Campaigner1 said...

Please learn to read. The dated chart clearly shows job growth turnaround started in April 2009-with a Democratic house in place; The Tea-pubs weren't elected until Nov 2010, and didn't assume power in the House of Reps until February 2011.

I have no idea what the utterly undated chart you provided a link to purports to demonstrate, particularly as the Republican House demonstrably has NOT focused on job creation. The only economic impact they have had is lowering the USA's credit rating by making the debt ceiling a political issue.

(NO majority party in the US has voted against raising the debt ceiling, to pay for bills and programs already passed).

Beyond The Political Spectrum said...

Isn't that what Romney supppoters are doing on the Right...trying to shift the issue from social issues to the economy?

John Gentile said...

I agree with the author. The weak recovery is not Obama's fault. This was no ordinary recession.

The Republicans are playing the blame game. There is one flaw in their statements. They cannot blame Obama without blaming the extension of the Bush tax cuts. That's right.
All efforts to revive our economy yielded less than desirable results.

The Bush tax cuts were a miserable failure both at preventing the 2008 recession and at restoring the economy. The Bush tax cuts only served to increase the national debt from 2007 to 2012.