Political Animal


October 05, 2012 3:32 PM Will BLS Trutherism Backfire?

By Ed Kilgore

Well, I had hoped for better news fare, but the BLS Truthers are kind of blotting out the sun at the moment, infecting a lot of people who should know better right along with the crazy people and the stone hacks. I’ll just quote Greg Sargent here on the possibility that this frantic effort—born, I suspect, of over-reaction to the first presidential debate, which had conservatives cackling with insane glee before the first poll came in—could actually backfire. After citing other examples of the “closed conservative information feedback loop,” Greg says this:

This latest — unemployment trutherism — strikes me as having the potential to be a bit more damaging to Romney. It’s very likely that these claims are now going to break through to the nightly news, drawing still more attention to the dropping unemployment rate.
Of course, there’s always the danger that news outlets will cover this stuff in a he-said-she-said manner, reporting on the assertions of the unemployment truthers without calling them out, thus injecting them into the discourse. But that seems unlikely. This is really out there stuff, and hopefully the networks will say so outright. If so, it’s hard to see how it’s helpful to Romney for undecided voters to be treated to the sight of fury and panic about improving economic news among those who want him to be elected president.

On top of that, of course, if the freak-out is about the BLS report distracting attention from Mitt’s Triumphant Vanquishing of the Evil Obama, then the crazy-talk is a much bigger distraction: like turning on the local news and watching the weatherman have a nervous breakdown because his forecast turned out to be wrong.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • ET on October 05, 2012 3:36 PM:

    This falls in the category with all the other things Republicans don't like about the government - unless they support their position or politics.

    Of course if Mitt get to buy his way to the presidency will the right be all over the BLS? Of course not.

  • maggie on October 05, 2012 3:46 PM:

    out there stuff? The birthers were pretty out there, but that didnt stop the MSM from reporting it as if it were a he-said-she-said thing.

  • BillFromPA on October 05, 2012 3:47 PM:

    This will be a net plus. The looney 'Truther' arguments will resonate only with the wingnuts already in Willard's column. As mentioned, any reporting tonight will only highlight the good, well, better, unemployment numbers. At least some of the MSM will probably comment on the extremism of these claims, and even if they don't, the GOP comes off as rooting for a worse economy. Great work, 'Baggers!

  • c u n d gulag on October 05, 2012 3:50 PM:

    GOP POV:


    How could the unemployment numbers go DOWN, when we Conservatives were hoping for, and doing everything possible, to create an Economic Apocalypse?!?!?!

    It can't be reality intruding and bursting our echo-chamber bubble - so it HAS to be a conspiracry!!!

    Reality POV:
    Now, riddle us this, Bat-shit Insane ones, if manipulating the BLS statistics COULD be done, why wouldn't Obama and his minions have done it earlier, so he could coast to an easy victory?

    As far as these statistic's go, why, right before your convention, didn't he skew them, and say, "I BUILT THAT!!! NOW SUCK ON IT!!! BWA-HA-HA!!!!!!!!"

    They are becoming completely unhinged!

  • Ronald on October 05, 2012 4:12 PM:

    Beyond the people who've already drunk the kool-aid, the only thing that the 'truthers' are going to do is to re-emphasize the same positive job numbers over and over again.
    Go on, Republicans. Keep saying things like these numbers are 'too good to be true' or 'the President is manipulating the numbers', because among the undecided, or wavering, will only see 'numbers better, unemployment down, I guess the economy isn't as bad as they were saying...things must be getting better'.

    In other words- the more attention the Republicans bring to these fantastic job numbers, the better off Mr. Obama is.

    The better play would have been to 'soft-pedal' them, like Mr. Romney did, and hope they get buried in the end-of-week news cycle and the 'Romney Stomped Obama at Debate' meme.

    *shrug* Their miss.

  • RaflW on October 05, 2012 4:16 PM:

    And the execrable Ari Shapiro went on the twitbox this afternoon to claim that because a few minor liberals are posting the vid of Romney taking out either notes or a hanky, that *both sides do it!*

    Somehow we deserve this media landscape?

    That conservatives can blot out the sun on this totally fake non-troversy is amazing. That the so-called liberal media has to play for 'balance' is bullsh*t.

  • Rage on October 05, 2012 4:19 PM:

    This article is too funny!

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on October 05, 2012 4:23 PM:

    When's Mitt gonna get on the horn and say that he knew all along that the unemployment rate would drop below 8% by this time...

  • TCinLA on October 05, 2012 4:40 PM:

    A friend of mine who travels through the Wingnutosphere and occasionally leaves comments has remarked that of late the responses to even the most innocuous non-wingnut comment (and not just by him) are getting scary, with people saying they want to "hunt down" the commenter, and speaking of the "revolt" that will happen if "the vote is stolen" and Obama wins. As he said "It's pretty clear Godwin's Law has been revoked and the natives are restless."

    I really think some crazy-ass things are going to happen, and not just down south in CrazyAss Land. These people appear to be in need of a much more thorough thumpin' than they got last time.

  • T2 on October 05, 2012 4:42 PM:

    it has amazed me what length the Media has gone to to provide the "both sides" meme.
    Someone will dig up some comment Obama made about something, do a cut and paste job on it like "you didn't build that" and we'll have the following: "in 1996 Obama said 'wouldn't it be great if you could just make up numbers to make yourself look good, like my opponent is doing' - and it will be broadcast as "you could just make up numbers to make yourself look good" and Voila! He said, She said !

  • stormskies on October 05, 2012 4:48 PM:

    Wonder if this will show up on the evening news ? nope, doesn't fit their agenda ..

    House Republicans Caught on Video Refusing to Stay in Session to Create Jobs

    By: Sarah JonesOctober 5th,

    Democrats Rep. Elijah Cummings and Rep. Ruben Hinojosa attempted to stop the House adjournment in order to conduct more work, but the Republicans refused to acknowledge them and instead adjourned the Pro Forma session until Tuesday, Oct 9 at 11 AM, while legislative work will not resume until November 13. In other words, House Republicans denied the Democrats’ request to do further work for the people.

    The pending agenda Republicans are kicking down the road is full of jobs bills, a middle class tax cut, the Violence Against Women Act, deficit reduction/Sequestration, relief for underwater homeowners, and more.

    Watch Democrats Rep. Elijah Cummings and Rep. Ruben Hinojosa seeking recognition:

    The CSPAN narrator makes a point that the House gaveled in and out for a brief pro forma session and that the cameras, which cut off right after the gaveling out, are not controlled by CSPAN but by the House. They are in fact controlled by Speaker John Boehner, a fact revealed when Boehner cut the live feed during another attempt to get Republicans to do their job:

    Speaker John Boehner doesn’t want you to see what went down today in a pro-forma session of the House as he and his fellow Republicans ran away from their responsibility to the people, ignoring Rep. Stenny Hoyer (D-MD)’s calls to put the Senate passed payroll tax holiday extension up for a vote. He didn’t want you to see this so badly that he commandeered the congressional cameras to stop the live feed from the House floor.

    Speaker Pelosi never cut the CSPAN feed in order to run away from her job. Pelosi did grant additional coverage of the healthcare debates, as requested by C-SPAN, although both parties have refused to grant CSPAN more access than they currently have.

    Your tax dollars at work — Republicans would rather campaign than do the people’s work, but this should come as no surprise since the “work” they have done is obstruct jobs while trying to restrict the rights of women, minorities and the gay community. Oh, and arresting military moms. Very, very busy.

  • Bo on October 05, 2012 5:21 PM:

    Sometimes, I think that the GOPers themselves start rumors just so that they can be outraged about them and claim their "victimhood". Case in point -- the "handkerchief or crib notes" controversy.

    Clearly, The MittWit didn't sneak notes into the debate. I looked at that video very carefully and it was a handkerchief! Not just any old handkerchief but a $50 silk one . . . to match his $4,000 empty suit and complement his magic underwear.

    The poor GOPers actually think we have to stoop to such transparent conspiracy theories about handkerchiefs? There's much better material for us to go with.

  • JM917 on October 05, 2012 5:53 PM:

    @ Sgt. Gym Bunny:

    Haven't you heard? Mitt stomped Obama on Wednesday night, and immediately the Confidence Fairy broke her fetters. By Friday morning--36 hours, to be precise, after Mitt finished stomping the Antichrist into a bloody pulp--the Job Creators were starting to work their magic and unemployment fell to 7.8%. Just a foretase of what's gonna happen next month, when the voters rise up in their righteous wrath and vote the Antichrist out of office. Within 36 hours, unemployment will be down to 3%. Such is the miracle of the market.

  • Diane on October 05, 2012 6:15 PM:

    the paranoia is almost shocking. I think headlines should be "Republicans don't believe unemployment has dropped after all their efforts to keep the numbers high" or someone is going to slip and say "Unemployment can't be that low, we've been making sure it stays above 8% for the last 45 months!!"

  • weirdnoise on October 05, 2012 6:42 PM:

    You don't attract viewers by contradicting what they are convinced is true. The media is driven by advertising profits, which depends on viewer eyeballs. The Milquetoast he-said/she-said media coverage we get is a consequence of this.

  • bcinaz on October 05, 2012 7:10 PM:

    I was thinking this might present an opportunity to point out how much the GOP is rooting for BAD numbers, and how heavy a hand the Congress has had in stalling the recovery.

    These numbers must be giving Mitch McConnell fits - all that work, all that sabotage, for what?

  • Frank on October 06, 2012 12:44 AM:

    Shows off the true depth of Republican confidence after the debate, two days later and we're back to "the numbers are all fixed, everyone's against us" nonsense because they know they're getting creamed. What's more the media has become wary of presenting government or other official sources as being on par with whoever from some crazy GOP puppet group, and I think that trend can be seen today with the real news outlets. No undecided voter actually believes President Obama just committed some grand conspiracy to fix the job numbers, they probably didn't even hear the specific job numbers, only that the economy is getting better and the Republicans are feeling desperate again.

  • Varecia on October 06, 2012 1:54 AM:

    According to the Nightly Business Report on the evening of the debate there were about half a dozen positive economic indicators reported Wednesday, so to say the jobs number were fabricated is pretty ignorant. But that will give the Wingnuts an even meatier conspiracy! It's SO MUCH BIGGER THAN ANYONE REALIZES!!!!!!

  • yellowdog on October 06, 2012 8:41 PM:

    bcinaz is on the right track. The only patriotic response to a drop in unemployment is: 'That's good news for a lot of hurting Americans. I am glad to hear it.'

    What does it mean that the GOP base cheers bad news, doubts the validity of good news, and even responds to assaults on US embassies as a chance to criticize the president, even before the smoke clears? Seriously? What stirs the icy hearts of such people? What moral universe are they living in?