This past Saturday, February 4, Big Journalism contributor Charles C. Johnson made a novel argument about how the January jobs report proves that the media were wrong about the economic recovery. The crux of Johnson's argument was that "only 125,000 jobs were added in January," a drop-off from December's 200,000 jobs:
But digging a little deeper into these December jobs report finds that 42,000 were Christmas couriers and messengers, one in five of the 200,000 jobs allegedly created during December was shipping and delivering goods. These holiday jobs were hardly the jobs of the future; they weren't even the jobs of the next month.
Indeed, according to CNBC, the jobs report showed that only 125,000 jobs were added in January, compared to 200,000 created in December. This is very bad news and it essentially ends the hope of a recovery as the economy needs to generate 125,000 jobs a month just to stay apace with the growing population.
There's nothing unusual about media conservatives trying to make lemons out of lemonade regarding the improving jobs picture. What set Johnson's argument apart from the others was the curious assertion that the jobs report showed "only 125,000 jobs" were created in January. The BLS report put the number at 243,000, nearly double what Johnson claimed, and an increase from December. What accounts for this discrepancy, upon which the entirety of Johnson's argument was based? Let's take a look at that CNBC report he linked to.
Here's the key passage:
Economic reports in the coming week could be mixed, as the January jobs report Friday is likely to show lower job growth in January, with an increase of nonfarm payrolls of about 125,000 jobs.
December's report showed 200,000 jobs were added, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent.
Now things begin to come into focus. Johnson based his argument on a CNBC article published on January 27, one full week before the actual jobs report was released. Either he didn't bother checking the dateline, or he didn't quite register the fact that the article clearly looked forward to the forthcoming release of the jobs report. Whatever the explanation, it's an embarrassing error.
And it gets worse.
You'll notice that I haven't linked to Johnson's Big Journalism post yet. That's because I can't. Breitbart's website scrubbed it sometime on Sunday. It no longer appears on Big J's front page, nor does it show up in Johnson's author's page. It does live on, however, in the Google cache, and can be seen here for as long as it remains cached. (And we grabbed a screenshot, for posterity's sake.) The tweet Big Journalism sent out promoting it is also still around.
What Big Journalism neglected to do was to post a correction or any sort of editorial notation regarding the story's disappearance -- a curious oversight for an outfit that enthusiastically demands corrections of other media outlets at every given opportunity.