Fox Regurgitates Specious Wisconsin Jobs Report, Touts Upcoming Walker Appearances

Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

Fox News' campaign to bolster Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who faces a recall election on June 5, continued today when host Brenda Buttner, along with contributors Tobin Smith and Gary B. Smith, touted Walker's jobs creation claims as fact though official labor data show that the state has shed tens of thousands of jobs in the past year.

From the June 2 edition of Bulls & Bears:

Walker recently released jobs figures that claim Wisconsin gained 23,608 jobs in 2011, up from his original claims of 23,321. But those figures are contradicted by a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows that Wisconsin actually lost 33,900 jobs during that period, from December 2010 to December 2011. On April 24, the bureau released data showing that from March 2011 to March 2012, Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs. And on May 18, the bureau reported that the "largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in Maryland (-6,000), followed by Wisconsin (-5,900)."

As the Christian Science Monitor explained:

Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs between March 2011 and March 2012, according to data released Tuesday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state's lead in job losses is significantly greater than the rest of the 50 states: No other state lost more than 3,500 jobs.

The majority of the losses in Wisconsin, 17,800, were in the public sector. However, the state lost more private-sector jobs, 6,100, than any other state. The only other states to report private-sector job losses in the same time period (instead of private-sector gains) were Mississippi and Rhode Island.

While Walker is currently claiming that BLS approved his revised 23,608 number, a BLS representative told the blog Politiscoop that the bureau confirmed a revised formula for calculating Wisconsin's jobs creation numbers submitted to them by Walker's administration, but not the revised numbers being touted by his campaign.

The BLS also told Politiscoop that previous adjustments to job creation figures for Wisconsin between 2006 and 2011 were -0.9%, a far cry from the error required to flip a year's worth of job losses to job gains.

On Bulls & Bears, however, Tobin Smith described Walker's economic policies as "the blueprint for success," claiming it was "irrational" to see it any other way. He said voting for Walker in the upcoming recall election was a vote for an economic plan "proven to work."

When Buttner asked Gary B. Smith, "He's turned things around, hasn't he?" Smith responded, "Yeah, job numbers are up." A Fox News graphicappeared onscreen highlighting the "New Gov't Figure" of 23,608 as "Wisconsin Job Creation" numbers.

Though the graphic sourced the numbers to "AP," presumably the Associated Press, the AP report on the numbers quoted a spokesman from Walker's Department of Workforce Development, and not an official number from the BLS:

Walker's Department of Workforce Development provided an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday from the bureau's staff that shows it gave final approval to the numbers. The email did not say what number the bureau approved, but Workforce Development spokesman John Dipko said it was 23,608, which would be dramatically better job creation in the state than figures based on a different survey of businesses.

When guest David Mercer, a former Democratic National Committee official, described the numbers being touted by the panel as "fabricated," Buttner cut him off and said, "I think we proved that some of that was not true," then began promoting upcoming Scott Walker appearances on Fox News andFox Business.

This is not the first time Fox has advanced dubious jobs claims by Walker; in August 2011, Fox News repeatedly claimed that Wisconsin's jobs gains in June were "more than half of what the entire nation gained overall" during the same period.

Fox has shown it is more than willing to promote and provide cover for Walker's policies, even to the point of providing fundraising help: Fox News contributor Dick Morris has recently appeared on Fox News where he's praised Walker's "pivotal" actions as governor and urged viewers to "do everything they can to support Scott Walker."

Posted In
Economy, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment, Labor Unions
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Brenda Buttner, Gary B. Smith, Tobin Smith
Show/Publication
Bulls & Bears
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