The only thing journalists agree on is that they don’t know what Obama has planned. The cost of the proposals changes almost daily. And journalists have bounced all over the place with their job analysis.
The New York Times started off the new year with a Jan. 1 story about the Obama stimulus plan that “could approach $1 trillion.” The cost is so high, wrote the Times, because “the effort will aim to create 3 million jobs by spending money on infrastructure, green energy technology, aid to states and other initiatives.” That spending number ranges from $675 billion on up, depending on the news outlet.
By Dan Gainor
Vice President, Business and Media Institute
Just three days later, the paper reversed itself –- at the very same time Obama was already going off in the other direction. “Mr. Obama has pledged to ‘create or save’ 3 million jobs over the next two years,” wrote Jackie Calmes, and Carl Hulse. Then they explained the problem a bit. “In his address, he omitted the word ’save,’ suggesting he would create 3 million jobs, a goal that many economists consider unattainable under current conditions,” the pair said of Obama.
But now Obama is stuck with “creating” 3 million jobs. Creating something is much harder than just pretending to keep it safe. For example, I could have saved an old column and just rehashed something about how badly the media are covering the economy. Instead, I had to create a new one. It’s tangible. You can touch it. Track it. And tally it.
That means if the media hold Obama accountable, the 3 million jobs number means something. It’s a reasonable expectation that journalists treat the incoming president the same way as the outgoing one and not let him snow them on the economy.
At least one reporter is doing just that. ABC’s Jake Tapper has figured out the way Obama can alter his own political climate. Obama claims that 80 percent of those 3 million jobs are in the private sector. That means he will push for an increase of 600,000 government jobs.
That’s a headline you might not see too many places. Kudos to Tapper for doing some timely “snow” removal.
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