And just like that, the Mitt Romney campaign is back to claiming he created not thousands of jobs, not tens of thousands of jobs, but “well in excess of 100,000” jobs at Bain. So says the Romney campaign’s Eric Fehrnstrom. This is normally something that Greg would handle, but since he’s not here I’ll just refer you back to his latest on these almost certainly mythical jobs.
Jamelle Bouie had a nice catch here: He notes (on Twitter; Greg did say you should be following him, right?) that The Hill’s story on Fehrnstrom’s claims about Romney’s record in Massachusetts and Obama’s as president are presented without any context at all. Fehrnstrom says that Romney, in the words of The Hill’s headline, “created more jobs as governor than Obama did as president.” Is that true?
In one sense, it depends. In another, voters want to know how Romney’s Massachusetts compared with other states at the time, and how the economy did under Obama, compared to plausible alternatives, and the story doesn’t explain anything about that.
It’s fair to note, for Obama, that the U.S. jobs situation remains lousy over three years after he took office — but it’s also fair to note that it is radically improved from the winter of 2008-2009. Indeed, if Romney’s campaign really wants to stress that, in four years as governor, “he created” 30,000 to 40,000 jobs and compare that to national changes under Obama, it’s also reasonable to note that the United States added many more jobs than that last month, and the month before, and the month before that, and on and on. Look, it’s a silly comparison (one should certainly hope that the United States overall would add more jobs than does one state), but there’s really no excuse for reporters to just transcribe these sorts of claims without pointing out the real context.
In particular, the serious critique about the Obama administration is that right now the United States is adding jobs . . . but at far too slow a pace to bring down the very high levels of unemployment. Granted, that criticism should be accompanied by some sort of specific plan to do better, but it’s a reasonable attack.
What’s not reasonable, not remotely serious, is calling Obama a failure based on the massive job losses that continued from the Bush years through his first few months in office. And when Romney and his campaign repeats those claims, the media should, by now, know enough to knock them down right away.