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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."

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.

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.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 09:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by Political Language and Messaging, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Progressive Hippie, German American Friendship Group, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What do you expect from the lamestream media (4+ / 0-)

    most of whom are nothing but highly paid stenographers?  

    -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

    by wordene on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 09:49:38 AM PDT

  •  The media in this country is largely Republican, (10+ / 0-)

    not at all liberal, and kow-tows to the "Conservatives".  Remember George Bush's presidenccy and how no matter what he did (Iraq, Abu Gharib, Gitmo, Wire-tapping) he was NEVER challenged by our media.  Cheney and Bush and all the neo-cons made sure, no one criticized that Administration.  If the media even tried, they were exiled to darkness.  Even the torture of Iraqi's weren't discussed but by a few.

    Republicans only care about themselves, their money, & their power.

    by jdmorg on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 09:54:22 AM PDT

  •  "Neutral" reporters (3+ / 0-)

    are found at ProPublica.  The rest are either non-neutral, lazy, hacks or have to prove themselves otherwise because of their employers.  

    Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:00:40 AM PDT

  •  this is a really important study (6+ / 0-)

    that needs to become part of the national dialogue. Thx for writing it.

    Folks, click through to the study's summary - it's short and sweet - and use it. Among other tidbits:

    There is no correlation between the frequency of the phrase “job killer” and unemployment rate. Instead, ”job killer” allegations correspond much more closely with political cycles.

    Panelist, Netroots Nation 2012, "Coal and the Grassroots Fight for Environmental Justice." @RL_Miller

    by RLMiller on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:00:41 AM PDT

  •  I don't know that I agree with you on this (0+ / 0-)
    that's a basic function reporters and editors should be fulfilling in everything that newspapers run
    If a news outlet purports to be neutral, I think that reporting what one side says, and reporting on the other side's response, is the proper way to go, as did the Times, Post, and AP who quoted the Obama campaign's response.  The Obama campaign can refute the statements if they wish, and if a news reporter does NOT report on the fact that the Romney statements are disputed, I certainly can see grounds for complaint.  However, unless it's a black or white, clearly objectively provable fact (for example, like someone saying that a person voted x on a certain bill, when he/she voted y, or saying someone was in the Senate in 1994 when he/she was not voted in until 1996), I don't think it's the place of a supposedly neutral reporter to report on the statements of the two campaigns, and then evaluate the merits of those statements.  Such an evaluation of the merits of the claims is almost always colored by the reporter's political views, which is why supposedly neutral reporters don't take that task on.  

    There is, certainly, a place for evaluation of the merits of those statements put out by the various campaigns. I call it "political commentary."  And if you want that, it's very easy to find.  

    •  Um... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, allergywoman

      What you are advocating is stenography - not reporting.

      'Osama Bin Ladien is still dead and GM is still alive' - Joe Biden "Dems kill terrorist. The GOP keeps them around as a boogeyman - so they can continue to steel."

      by RichM on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:19:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Are you ok with conservative reporters evaluating the merits of what the Obama campaign puts out, and calling it simply "objective reporting"?  Isn't that what people here complain about Fox New for doing?

        Questions like whether regulations "kill jobs" are more often answered by "well, it depends on what evidence you look at."  Choosing which evidence to look at, and how to read it, is often influenced by your political views.  Or, the answer to whether regulations kill jobs may be (as in the Keystone Pipeline) "it's worth it because the regulations protect public safety and the environment."  That's a value decision, again affected by what you consider more important.  

        I think it's the role of a political commentator to make those kinds of evaluations.  I think reporting means "reporting what happened."  I don't think "reporting" means "evaluating the merits of what happened."  

    •  A large majority of (6+ / 0-)

      reporters and editors at traditional media outlets agree with you. However, many of the top scholars of journalism strongly disagree. Their arguments are worth engaging, even you ultimately end up not buying it.

      Basically, while "independence" -- not being tied, financially or ideologically, to one or more of society's factions -- has been a core value of American journalism (but only since about the 1930s), "neutrality" with respect to the veracity of elite claims has never been a core value, but rather is a misunderstanding of the concept of objectivity.

      Objectivity, as originally applied to journalism by thinkers such as Walter Lippman, referred to a scientific-like search for the truth. However, it has come to mean nearly the opposite: you aren't allowed to seek the truth, lest the truth be found on one side of the political spectrum on a given issue, hence making you vulnerable to charges of bias. In the eyes of many scholars, this pathological bias aversion prevents journalists from fulfilling their core mission of seeking the truth.

      Put another way, if Republicans say it's raining and Democrats say it's not raining, should reporters simply report the charges? Or should they look out the window to see if it's raining? Granted, politics is less objective and more value-laden than weather forecasting. However, verifiable factual assertions underpin much of the contemporary debate over issues such as health care, taxation, etc.

      My favorite book on the subject is Kovach and Rosenstiel's The Elements of Journalism, particularly the "truth" and "verification" chapters.  

      You are reading my signature line. #hashtag

      by cardinal on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:24:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I completely agree that most news outlets (0+ / 0-)

        are not objective.  And frankly, I'm fine with that, as long as the outlet is honest about coming from a political viewpoint.  It's a matter of the consumer knowing what he/she is getting.  So, if you are FNC, or MSNBC prime time, evaluate all you want -- those are clear that what they are doing is an evaluation of the merits of the various assertions made, coming from a particular viewpoint. If I'm a viewer, I can choose to watch the station that comes from a viewpoint I agree with.  Or I can -- as I usually do -- not watch much of that kind of show at all.  

        I think it's a different question when a news outlet purports to tell people that all it is doing in a story is "reporting the news."  I think that means reporting the facts, not evaluating those facts.  

        And, if you read my comment, I said that there are SOME facts that are so objectively provable in black and white terms, that yes, a reporter can include that without doing an evaluation of merits from a political viewpoint. Your "saying it's raining" story is one of those.  But what this diary is complaining about -- promoting the notion that regulations "kill jobs" --  is not a black or white, objectively provable thing.  Certainly there are SOME anecdotal incidents when regulations "kill jobs" -- the Keystone Pipeline, everybody acknowledges, is on instance where the environmental regulatory process is stopping construction jobs.  The question in that instance is whether it is worth those construction jobs to have environmental regulations enforced. That kind of an evaluation is better suited for commentary.  A news story might say, "Republicans said that delaying the Keystone Pipeline delays 20,000 needed construction jobs, and the Obama administration countered that it was important for the environment and public safety that the Pipeline be fully vetted before they allowed it to proceed."  I would consider that about as neutral as possible for a news story, and I wouldn't expect -- in a news story -- for a reporter to evaluate the merits each position.  If a reporter did evaluate the merits -- from either political perspective -- I would immediately know that, when I am reading material written by that person, I am reading material that comes from a particular political point of view.  Like I said, that's fine if that is your intention -- not so fine if you are holding yourself out as reporting in a neutral way.  

        So, I agree with you that there's a place for evaluation of merits of things -- I just think that a news story that purports to be simply an objective reporting of what happened is not where I want to see that.

    •  This is the "fair and balanced" nonsense (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      extant in media sources.  There are usually more than two sides to a story, covering one person who likens abortion providers as "baby killers" while another one uses the term "pro-choice" doesn't make the reporting neutral.  It only serves to show how skewed the terming window is on the matter.

      -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

      by wordene on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:33:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree that some outlets that purport (0+ / 0-)

        to be "fair and balanced" are anything but "fair and balanced."  And that's why the credibility of those outlets is so often questioned.  

        That doesn't, in my mind, give the AP, for example, license to conduct an evaluation of the merits of political positions in a piece that purports to be a straight news story.  

        There is a place for evaluation of the merits of political positions.  I have no problem with outlets that do that.  I do have a problem with people who do it while claiming not to.  And the fact that some outlets are guilty of that does not, in my view, make it ok for everyone else to do it -- not unless they want their credibility as a supposedly "neutral" source questioned in the same way.  

  •  "Job Killer" and "Job Creator"... (3+ / 0-)

    ..two terms loosely thrown about by Republicans over and over again ad nauseum, and because our mainstream media -- which press secretary Carney recently admonished to "do your job"-- WON'T do their job to investigate these ideas, soon become unquestioned facts of life in the American psyche. We can count on conservatives to bend the truth, but it is unpardonable to what degree the media has failed to carry out its historical mission.  "Trickle down" economics is another political-economic fantasy that has been allowed to wreak havoc in America for the last 30 years.

    •  Absolutely (0+ / 0-)

      I can't stand the fundamental premise behind "Job Killer" ie you want Americans to fail.

      I wouldn't even claim that about Romney. His policies will provide that, but unless he is Dick Cheney evil I don't think he thinks he will kills jobs (i'll give him a murder 1 premeditation standard, recklessness yeah I expect).

  •  The papers and TV is so full of shit (4+ / 0-)

    It's shit overload.  It isn't even about reporting.

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:25:09 AM PDT

    •  Recognized that long ago. (0+ / 0-)

      I'm sorry to state that my sources for news are primarily from The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert, as well as this site, and Truthout, and BuzzFlash, and Media Matters, and...

      -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

      by wordene on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:37:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need to figure this out. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Here's the problem.  We are the only ones who believe...

    that's a basic function reporters and editors should be fulfilling in everything that newspapers run

    The media stopped believing that is their role a long time ago, and we still sit around wondering why the media lets Republicans control the language.

  •  Job Killer, mitt romney... (0+ / 0-)

    Perhaps that's how we should refer to him in online.

    After all, still comes before job killer, mitt romney's facebook page, when you google, "romney." If enough people did this, perhaps "Job Killer" would come up when you google, "mitt romney!"

  •  the only time "job killer" is accurate (0+ / 0-)

    is when it's in reference to a Republican or a Tea Party policy proposal.

    28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 06:06:51 AM PDT

  •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

    Your post is right on the money.  I wish that every reporter would earn his salary by making sure to get the facts before writing a story.  The campaign reporters are the worst offenders.

    For example, back in 2004, I watched an entire Democratic primary debate with Dean, Kerry, Edwards, et al, and they spent at least 15 minutes discussing their plans on health care.  After the debate, CNN's Candy Crowley came on to report on the debate.  She stated that not much substance was given during the debate and that health care wasn't even mentioned.  That incident just shows how lazy and incompetent most campaign reporters are.

  •  it's all about propaganda (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the american public is being lied to and they accept the lies.  There is little independent reporting in the media.  The public has no appetite for trying to pursue the truth on their own.  So they listen to a couple of reports in the morning or night and that becomes their reality.  We are truly screwed!

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 06:17:34 AM PDT

  •  Opinion Journalism trademarked by Corporate Media (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Back in the days, Journalism and opinions were two separate things. With Fox's Noise "Success", lots of media personality are now trying (intentionally or not) to both and very few of them remember what they learned in school.

  •  Didn't the NY Times public editor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    inform us the he didn't think reporting "facts" was a journalistic endeavor? Something to the effect that "facts" should be reserved for the editorial pages and real journalism was reporting he said she said.

  •  The media will ALWAYS do this to progressive ideas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ClevelandAttorney, wyvern

    Because they challenge capitalism, and the major media are capitalist organs; they exist - their fundamental role is in the service of capital not the truth.

    Remember that.

  •  Has Obama cut taxes (0+ / 0-)

    more than any administration in history.

    The Bush tax cuts were extended, the Stimulus package was half tax cuts, and he also cut the FICA tax.

    It's not something to be proud of, but I think it might be true.

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 06:37:11 AM PDT

  •  And worse if they do (0+ / 0-)

    I think there was a really interesting study that proved that after say someone hears a lie like Obama has no birth certificate. Even after they hear it debunked they are inclined to believe the lie (in some way).

    Wish I remembered the study better.

  •  In 1993, the first Clinton (0+ / 0-)

    budget passed with not a single Republican vote in either the House or the Senate.  It included raising the top rate from 36 to 39.56%.   Republican after Republican stood up and called it "a job killer".  (Someone with better internet and video skills than me should put together a mash up of those speeches on the House and Senate floor).  

    8 years later, that "job killer" program had created a total of 23 million jobs.

    Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 06:42:37 AM PDT

  •  I just asked the question over at TPM (0+ / 0-)

    if Obama really needs the GOP or all of that "dark money" to be defeated with the friends he has now.  I realize it isn't realistic or even "good journalism", what ever that means, for everything to be pollyanna writing, but it seems like the reporters try so hard to be objective and neutral or to be anti-Fox that they are becoming Foxed light.  I think most of us want to feel like we are on the right side of things and to be behind "a winner" but with all of the earnest "objectivity" out there even Obama's mother would question his value.  Is it considered pandering to report on the good things and the positive actions of this administration?

  •  Facts can be a pain (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flavor411, Gorette

    The Right-wing Delusion that regulations or some other bullshit government does is hurting jobs is just that.

    A Delusion, and easily disproven delusion

    The United States is currently ranked 4th by the World Bank for Ease of Doing Business

    the ease of doing business index compares the regulatory environment of 100+ countries, ranking which economies are more or less conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm.

    And we are Fourth in the world, which is actually a little misleading because the top 2 "Countries" are the City-states of Singapore and Hong Kong.

  •  The Media Have Always Been Talking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    heads for their rich masters.  Should anyone be surprised?  There is no honesty in journalism thru big media anymore.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 07:00:18 AM PDT

  •  If it's been blasted from 1000 radio stations (0+ / 0-)

    to 50 million a week for who knows how long......

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 07:16:22 AM PDT

  •  I think.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..your take on this is skewed.

    Meaning, when a presidential campaign is on pace to spend a billion dollars, the media is among the first to collaspe under the weight of the mountain of filthy payola.

      There was never a real chance the American media would call Romney on his lies.  Even under the old campaign finance laws.

    But now that insane billionaires are free to purchase our elections, the American media will begin to pimp Romney's bullshit with passionate relish.


    When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in excess body fat and carrying a misspelled sign.

    by wyvern on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 07:56:01 AM PDT

  •  The MSM Likes A Horse Race..... (0+ / 0-)

    It makes them relevant.  We need them to report on the neck & neck race ahead of us.  

    The spin is in, & they're the ones spinning.  Ditto for the pollsters.....especially Rasmussen.  

  •  Late as usual, but this is the new verbage! (0+ / 0-)

      My congresscritter is one of these guys, so today, he rolled out a FB comment about his great / productive meeting at po-dunk.   The picture should 3 little ole ladies, and one looked pretty uninterested, but I digress.

        In his commentary the New and Improved Verbage:

        "Hindering Job Growth".   Now you can start laughing!

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