On Friday, the the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data showing that, for the first time since President Obama took office, unemployment had fallen below the 8% mark. And, as Romney had repeatedly drawn the line in the sand at 8%, reminding American voters incessantly, since winning his party’s nomination, that Obama had presided over “43 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent,” a drop to 7.8% was incredible news for an Obama campaign desperately seeking evidence of a turn-around. Some, though, suspect that the data was manipulated in order to quash the momentum of the newly-reinvigorated, post-debate Romney campaign. The following is from former General Electric CEO Jack Welch.
As the New York Times points out, though, it’s not as though the the drop in unemployment was unforeseen. “The jobs report was preceded by other signs of growing economic strength,” reported the Times, “including a jump in consumer confidence, the strongest auto sales in four years, rallying stock prices and, at long last, a stabilization of housing prices.” But that’s apparently not enough to derail a good conspiracy theory… Welch was all over the television this weekend, as several thousand people parroted his belief that our America-hating President had somehow orchestrated the release of fraudulent employment numbers.
And, here, before we go further, is a little background on Welch from Salon.
…So why was one of the most iconic CEOs in American history alleging that the Obama administration had conspired to falsify the numbers just before the election?
The answer can be traced back more than thirteen years to the party boss who is always working his magic behind the scenes: Karl Christian Rove.
Here’s what happened: According to an article by David Podvin and Carolyn Kay, in June 1999, just after George W. Bush declared his candidacy for president, Welch, then Chairman and CEO of General Electric, the parent company of NBC, was contacted by Karl Rove who reportedly told him that a Bush administration would introduce sweeping deregulatory measures in the broadcast industry that would create untold billions of dollars in additional profits for GE.
Welch not only became a vocal supporter of Bush, he also decided that the news division of NBC would to put aside its journalistic integrity and instead look out for the corporate interests of GE and do everything in its powers to elect Bush. According to a report by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) cited in the Los Angeles Times, come election time, November 7, 2000, Welch had access to raw election data that were not available to his own newsmen at NBC and appeared to play a key role in getting NBC to call Florida, and with it, the national election, for George W. Bush at almost the same time, John Ellis—George W. Bush’s cousin and Fox News’ senior decision desk official—made the call for Fox.
Three elections later, it seems that Welch’s affection for Karl Rove’s candidate is unabated. On September 20, when Romney was still foundering, Welch went on Fox News and insisted Romney would triumph. “Mitt Romney will win and I don’t want you to get weak-kneed… Nobody’s getting weak-kneed”…
When pushed by Chris Mathews yesterday, Welch admitted, “I have no evidence to prove that, I just raised the question.” Here’s the video.
Welch, by the way, doesn’t have evidence because there’s no evidence to be had. Not only was this drop in unemployment foreseeable, given the positive movement of the stock market, the housing sector, and consumer confidence, but, as the folks as Planet Money point out, the staff of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which, by the way, doesn’t include a single political appointee, takes the non-partisan nature of their work very seriously. And, as if that weren’t enough, there’s also the fact that trusted conservative sources have verified the data.
So, in short, when the White House came out over the weekend and said that Welch’s comments were “ludicrous“, they were absolutely, 100% right. This is just one more slanderous Republican lie for the history books.