How The Mainstream Media Is Covering Up Mitt Romney's 12 Million Jobs Debate Lie

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Major print media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, erased Mitt Romney's discredited lie that his economic agenda will be responsible for 12 million new jobs in 4 years from the debate record. In fact, independent analysts have said that Romney cannot support his own math, and some economists say the economy is already on track to create that many jobs.

Romney's Debate Lie: 12 Million Jobs

Romney Lie: "I Put Out A Five-Point Plan That Gets America 12 Million New Jobs In Four Years." During the October 16 presidential debate, Mitt Romney claimed that his economic agenda would lead to the creation of 12 million jobs in 4 years:

We have not made the progress we need to make to put people back to work. That's why I put out a five-point plan that gets America 12 million new jobs in four years and rising take-home pay. It's going to help Jeremy get a job when he comes out of school. It's going to help people across the country that are unemployed right now. [Presidential Debate, 10/16/12, via The Washington Post]

Wash. Post Fact-Checker: Romney's 12 Million Jobs Math "Doesn't Add Up." Before the debate began, Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler reported that Romney's campaign could not support the claim that Romney's economic policy would create 12 million jobs in 4 years, which has also been made in a campaign ad:

This is a case of bait-and-switch. Romney, in his convention speech, spoke of his plan to create "12 million new jobs," which the campaign's white paper describes as a four-year goal.

But the candidate's personal accounting for this figure in this campaign ad is based on different figures and long-range timelines stretching as long as a decade -- which in two cases are based on studies that did not even evaluate Romney's economic plan. The numbers may still add up to 12 million, but they aren't the same thing -- not by a long shot. [The Fact Checker, The Washington Post, 10/16/12]

Wash. Post's Ezra Klein: Romney's Jobs Claim Relies On "Misreading Studies To Get To A Number That's Pretty Easy To Reach." In an October 16 entry on his Washington Post blog, Wonkblog, Ezra Klein criticized Romney's claim for relying on dubious assertions and setting a goal economists say the economy is already on track to meet:

So Romney's claim of 12 million jobs over four years breaks down to 7 million jobs over 10 years in an economy that's already at full employment, 3 million jobs over eight years that have nothing to do with any of Romney's policies, and 2 million jobs if China suddenly became very, very respectful of U.S. intellectual property laws. 

This is a lot of misreading studies to get to a number that's pretty easy to reach: According to Moody's Analytics, the economy is set to add 12 million jobs over the next four years anyway. Romney's goal might sound ambitious, but it's actually what we expect will happen if policy stays more or less stable over the next few years. [Wonk Blog, The Washington Post, 10/16/12]

NY Times Fact-Check: Romney's 12 Million Jobs Claim Is Based On What Some Economists Project Will Happen Anyway. In a debate fact-check, The New York Times reported that Romney's claim that his policy will create 12 million jobs reflects what some economists say the economy is already to projected to create, while also noting that Romney's evidence to support his claim was "problematic."

Mr. Romney has promised to create 12 million jobs over the next four years if he is elected president. That is actually about as many jobs as the economy is already expected to create, according to some economic forecasters. [The New York Times, 10/16/12]

Yet Major Print Media Outlets Whitewashed Romney's Economic Lie From The Debate Record

Wall Street Journal Repeats Romney's Economic Attack But Not The Key Falsehood. In its report on the debate, The Wall Street Journal parroted Romney's critique of Obama's economic record without noting that Romney lied about his own economic policies during the debate:

Mr. Romney distilled his argument against the president to a simple theme: The country can't afford four more years under Mr. Obama. "If you were to elect President Obama, you know what you're going to get -- you're going to get a repeat of the last four years," he said. "The middle class is getting crushed under the policies of a president who has not understood what it takes to get the economy working again." He later added, "The president has tried, but his policies haven't worked." [The Wall Street Journal, 10/17/12]

NY Times Touts Romney's Economic Theme But Not The Central Falsehood. In its report on the debate, The New York Times reported that Romney's debate argument centered on an economic message, but the Times did not report that Romney lied about his economic policies in making that argument:

But while Mr. Romney was on the defensive for much of the debate, his arguments were built around a theme he returned to again and again: the Obama administration's record and its failure to restart the economy, saying his business know-how was what was called for now. He used a litany of statistics to make his case that the economy has not improved and that the president has not lived up to his pledges. [The New York Times, 10/17/12]

Wash. Post  Ignored Romney's Economic Lie While Calling Him "Most Confident" On The Economy. In its report on the debate, The Washington Post reported that Romney was "most confident" when talking about the economy without noting that Romney lied about his economic policies during the debate:

The former Massachusetts governor seemed most confident when he talked about Obama's stewardship of the nation's beleaguered economy.

When a man who voted for Obama in 2008 said his everyday living expenses had grown too high, Romney told him, "I think you know that these last four years haven't been so good as the president just described and that you don't feel like you're confident that the next four years are going to be much better, either."

Romney cast Obama as a president who failed to deliver on his promises -- to lower the unemployment rate, to cut the deficit, to lift people out of poverty and to create more jobs. [The Washington Post, 10/17/12]

Posted In
Economy, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment
Network/Outlet
The Washington Post
Show/Publication
The Wall Street Journal, New York Times
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