Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lanhee Chen Demands that Politifact Endorse Romney’s Spin on Obama’s Alleged War on Women

Hat tip to Paul Krugman who points us to a nice piece by Jared Bernstein:

So I’m driving around today and I turn on the news, only to hear Gov. Romney state that 92.3% of the jobs lost over President Obama’s tenure have been lost by women. That strikes me as a weird and unreliable statistic, possibly correct but certainly cherry-picked.

Jared tips his hat to Catherine Rampell who takes a close look at the numbers so we don’t have to and then adds this gem:

In other words, the ax falls predominantly on women when governments shrink, a trend that many Republicans (including Mr. Romney) have endorsed. The main way to stem these state and local job losses is to give more federal money to the states, a policy that Democrats (including the president) have been supporting and Republicans haven’t.

PolitiFact joined in by calling this Romney spin “mostly false” adding:

We reached out to Gary Steinberg, spokesman for the BLS, for his take on the claim. He pointed out that women’s job losses are high for that period of time because millions of men had already lost their jobs. Women were next. "Between January 2009 and March 2012 men lost 57,000 jobs, while women lost 683,000 jobs. This is the reverse of the recession period of December 2007-June 2009 (with an overlap of six months) which saw men lose 5,355,000 jobs and women lose 2,124,000 jobs," Steinberg told us in an email. So timing was important. And if you count all those jobs lost beginning in 2007, women account for just 39.7 percent of the total.

Gary Burtless, a labor market expert with the Brookings Institution, explained the gender disparity. "I think males were disproportionately hurt by employment losses in manufacturing and especially construction, which is particularly male-dominated. A lot of job losses in those two industries had already occurred before Obama took office," he said. "Industries where women are more likely to be employed – education, health, the government – fared better in terms of job loss. In fact, health and education employment continued to grow in the recession and in the subsequent recovery. Government employment only began to fall after the private economy (and private employment) began growing again."

Betsey Stevenson, a business and public policy professor at Princeton University, also pointed out that "in every recession men’s job loss occurs first and most, with unemployment rates for men being more cyclical than those of women’s." She added that many of women's job losses have been government jobs -- teachers and civil servants -- which have been slower to come back because they require greater government spending.

Chen apparently thought such accurate reporting had to be condemned:

"I hope you will agree that this rating was inappropriate and that the piece does not reflect the journalistic standards to which your organization intends to hold itself. Please retract the piece and issue a correction as soon as possible," Romney adviser Lanhee Chen wrote in a letter obtained by The Huffington Post. Chen wrote to PolitiFact that their "analysis in this instance was so inadequate that the piece ended up being little more than Obama for Americaspin."

I guess when their mendacity gets noted – the next step for Team Romney is to bully the press. After all - truth has such a liberal bias.

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