Mitt Romney's already got Fox in his pocket. He doesn't need CNN, too.
Greg Sargent and Steve Benen challenge CNN's Candy Crowley for this exchange on CNN yesterday:
CROWLEY: But couldn't that huge gap, which is a pretty big gap between those who think you could handle the economy as opposed to Mitt Romney -- couldn't it also be that, from the day -- from the month the president took office, we still have 1.7 million fewer jobs in the marketplace?
AXLEROD: Candy, let's have -- you know what, I'm happy to have that discussion. Do you know that, when he was campaigning for president in 2007 and 2008, Governor Romney had nothing but praise for the economic policies that were in place at that time, as America was sliding into the worst recession since the Great Depression, after eight years in which we...
CROWLEY (interrupting): But this isn't Romney. This is a fact.
Facts, as they say, are stubborn things. But facts are merely data points. And without sufficient context, they are at best useless and at worst misleading. Such is the case here.
It is a fact that just under 1.7 million jobs have been lost since President Obama's inauguration, but Mitt Romney's campaign—and Candy Crowley, at least in this exchange—are cherry picking that fact to blame President Obama for the economy.
The true story, however, consists of more than just one fact. As David Axelrod pointed out in response to Crowley, President Obama inherited an economy in free fall and put in place policies that not only stabilized it, but have led to nearly two straight years of jobs growth.
Between January, 2008 and February, 2010, nearly 9 million jobs were lost, a majority of them under Bush. Since then, we've added 3.2 million private sector jobs. We've lost 500,000 public sector jobs over that span, so the net figure is 2.7 million, but since the end of the Bush Depression, we've been headed in the right direction.
Even if you were to ignore the fact that the job losses started under Bush and stopped under Obama, it's worth noting that in the first three years of the Bush administration, we lost 2.9 million private sector jobs—three times the number of private sector jobs that have been lost during the entire Obama presidency. And at current rates, by the middle of the year, private sector employment under President Obama will likely be higher than it was when he took office. Compare that with Bush who over the course of eight years presided over an economy that lost more than six hundred thousand private sector jobs.
These comparisons with Bush might not be relevant if Mitt Romney weren't running on the exact same economic platform as Bush, but he is. And cherry picking facts without presenting them in their broader context doesn't change that one bit.
(Data: Total employment. Private sector employment.)