Welcome to Non-Sequitur Central, otherwise known as ABC’s Good Morning America. George Stephanopoulos interrupts Michele Bachmann’s argument on tax reform and the economy to ask a pressing question — whether Bachmann believes Barack Obama is a Christian. Bachmann says that it’s not for her to decide and that people should take the President at his word, but Stephanopoulos keeps pressing the issue. Bachmann finally notes that today is the 2nd anniversary of the $787 billion stimulus plan that was supposed to keep unemployment below 8%, a figure we have yet to hit even with falling civilian participation in the workforce (the denominative value in the jobless rate). Stephanopoulos responds with an even more ridiculous non-sequitur than the first (via Greg Hengler):
BACHMANN: You know, what I focus on today, George, is today’s the two-year anniversary of the stimulus program, where we spent a trillion dollars to make sure unemployment wouldn’t go above eight percent. That’s what I’m worried about, because the people in the 6th District of Minnesota are very concerned about job creation, and that’s a lot more important that dealing with —
STEPHANOPOULOS: Final quick question. We’re just curious, we have a big day here, Lady Gaga in the studio. You a fan?
George’s reluctance to talk about the dismal performance of the stimulus isn’t an isolated incident, as the Media Research Center discovered:
Just a few years ago, double-digit unemployment seemed like a crazy idea. But when the economy began to stumble, it was fear of high unemployment and a promise to prevent it that the Obama administration used to usher in the $787 billion stimulus package. As The New York Times reported on Oct. 22, 2009, “The Obama administration’s forecast at the start of the year, which predicted that unemployment would not climb much above 8 percent.”
A big promise to be sure and a claim that proved false as unemployment climbed higher and higher reaching 10.2 percent at its peak. Yet, ABC, CBS, and NBC referenced this promise just nine times in two years in stimulus stories mentioning unemployment.
Unemployment still exceeds the Obama-guaranteed 8 percent unemployment rate two years after the bill’s passage. In the same time period, network news barely reported that the stimulus failed to halt the sharp rise in unemployment. ABC ‘World News,’ CBS ‘Evening News’ and NBC ‘Nightly News’ all paid plenty of attention to the stimulus and its accomplishments, but more than 98 percent of those evening broadcast stories skipped over the administration’s failed prediction.
The Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute (BMI) analyzed network evening news reports that mentioned “stimulus” and “unemployment” from Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009, to Dec. 21, 2010. BMI found that the networks almost completely ignored Obama’s 8 percent unemployment promise and the failure of the stimulus to prevent rising unemployment.
They’d rather talk about Lady Gaga than President Obama’s failures.