Friday, April 07, 2006

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The Broken Press

April 7, 2006

The Broken Press

By Richard Kuper

The Op Ed Page

Why is it that that press has become nothing more than secretaries -- simply reporting what they are told, rather than investigating to see if what they are told is actually true and factual and provides any value?

Take, for example, the reports about jobs and employment. The government and the press know very well that the numbers the government provides are not anywhere close to accurate. The unemployment numbers, for example, do not even come close to reality. The rules keep changing for who is counted as unemployed. Is it just those folks who are eligible for unemployment benefits and have applied for such benefits? Does it include those whose benefits have run out but are still looking for work (and how does the government track this?) Does it count those who have no job, no income, would like to have a job and income, are trying to have a job and income, but are not eligible for unemployment benefits? Not likely, since there is no way to track and count such folks. So the unemployment numbers are, in essence, meaningless as they do not reflect the true level of unemployment in this country, which is much higher than the number reported.

And how about the jobs report? The claim is that more jobs are being created. But what kind of jobs? Many of those fortunate enough to find work these days, end up taking jobs at much lower pay than they used to get, and often in a different line of work. Many who formerly were in various technology jobs, for example, have seen their jobs disappear to other countries or be consolidated into one, low paying job taking the place of other multiple and often unrelated jobs. Many of these highly skilled individuals have been out of work for many years, or have had to take jobs like selling toilets at national hardware chains.

Where is the press in all this? All they do is regurgitate the numbers and spin provided by the administration. Just like they continue to do despite the overwhelming evidence that came to light years ago that the administration came into office planning to go after Saddam Hussein and simply used the attack on 9/11 by Osama Bin Laden (no ties or relation to Saddam Hussein) as an excuse.

The Press is broken!