Jay Carney to press corps: You people ought to do your jobs and report the context of Obama's "private sector" comments

Via the Standard, I totally agree with him — notwithstanding the fact that Team O wets itself with glee every time Romney says something that can be yanked out of context to make him sound like a cross between Gordon Gekko and Donald Trump. (Ahem.) By all means, report the context, so long as “context” means something more than whatever the White House says it is. For instance, via James Pethokoukis, here’s some tasty context about just how fine the private sector’s doing:

U.S. companies are finding it more difficult to grow their revenue now than at just about any time since the financial crisis.

Second-quarter revenue growth for companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index .SPX is expected to be just 2.2 percent compared with an average 7.3 percent quarterly increase since the fourth quarter of 1998, according to Thomson Reuters data based on Wall Street analysts’ forecasts. Take out the supercharged sales of Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and the picture is even weaker – with growth of only 1.9 percent for the current period…

Just last year, S&P 500 revenue growth was in double-digit territory, at 11.1 percent in the third quarter following an even bigger 13.6 percent in the second quarter. Revenue growth in the first quarter of this year came in at 5 percent.

Not enough context for you? Have some more from WaPo:

The net worth of the American family has fallen to its lowest level in two decades, according to government data released Monday, driven by a more than 40 percent drop in their stakes in their homes.

The Federal Reserve’s detailed survey of consumer finances showed families’ median wealth plunged from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010 — a 39 percent decline. That put them on par with median wealth in 1992.

The Fed’s data underscore the depth of the wounds of the Great Recession and how far many families remain from healing. The median value of Americans’ debt did not change between 2007 and 2010. Meanwhile, the housing market crash inflicted particularly severe damage, with the Fed showing that the median value of Americans’ equity in their homes plunged 42.3 percent between 2007 and 2010.

Li’l more? Read Marc Thiessen on which sector is really doing fine these days, then watch former Obama car czar Steven Rattner below stray very far off-message indeed on today’s “Morning Joe.” (Hat tip to the Breitbart crew for the latter clip.) Carney’s problem here is that there are two sorts of facts that are reported by political media: Actual facts and what I call “political facts,” and if there’s a conflict between the two, the former doesn’t always trump the latter. A perfect example was the aftermath of the Tucson shooting last year, when the left spent weeks demagoging conservative rhetoric as having been a major contributing factor. Actual fact: There was no evidence that that was true. “Political fact:” It was undeniably true that the left was milking the civility thing for all it was worth and that Republicans were taking heat for it. Result: Endless dumb Beltway stories about whether the Democratic attacks would succeed in damaging the GOP/tea party brand, even though the whole thing was based on a giant lie. The fact that it was a lie was treated as almost a footnote to the “more important” story of how it would play politically; I remember reading one story in this vein where the caveat about a total lack of evidence as to Loughner’s motive was buried five or six paragraphs down. Carney and Obama are getting a tiny, tiny taste of that with Obama’s “private sector” comments insofar as the media pounced on it because of what Republicans might do with it, with the question of whether he was right or wrong a decidedly secondary concern. That’s horse-race media for you. Oh well.

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