During Barack Obama's presidency, the term "job killer" has quickly moved from being a Republican talking point to being used independently by allegedly neutral reporters as conventional wisdom. A new study by Occidental College Professor Peter Dreier and University of Northern Iowa Professor Christopher Martin finds that the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Associated Press used "job killer" just 16 times in the first three years of George W. Bush's presidency, but 201 times in the first three years of Obama's presidency, a 1,156 percent increase.
While 60.3 percent of "job killer" uses in those four media sources were quoting Republican politicians or business sources, 17 percent of the time it wasn't quoted, but used without attribution to a source—part of the authoritative voice of a news article or an editorial. As you might expect, the Wall Street Journal led the charge, using the term without sourcing about 30 percent of the time, twice the rate of the New York Times.
A staggering 91.6 percent of the time a government policy (most often on the environment, followed by taxes, health care reform and wage laws) was cited as a job killer, "the media failed to cite any evidence for this claim or to quote an authoritative source with any evidence for this claim." This is why Republicans repeat lies again and again—because they can count on the media quoting them without pushback, and ultimately beginning to treat lies as reality.
Media Matters shows how it works:
Yesterday Romney attacked the Obama administration for supposedly pursuing the "most anti-investment, anti-business, anti-jobs series of policies in modern American history."This is one of the sad things about the rise of the political fact-check site. Even aside from how bad the fact-checkers often are at sticking to the facts, that's a basic function reporters and editors should be fulfilling in everything that newspapers run. Quoting a politician saying something untrue and explaining that it is untrue shouldn't have to be two separate functions to be handled in different spaces and by different reporters. In this way, the traditional media actively contributes to the degradation of American political culture.
The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Associated Press each quoted Romney's attack. The outlets also reported on Obama's statements about the economy and the Times, Post, and AP quoted Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith calling Romney's claim dishonest. Smith stated: "Contrary to Romney's rhetoric, the president took our nation from losing 750,000 jobs a month to adding 4.3 million private-sector jobs over the last 27 months."
But none of the articles tried to determine the accuracy of Romney's attack on Obama's investment, business, and jobs record.