Sunday, February 5, 2012

Today's headline - a brief lesson in how the news gets shaped and reported

Today's (Feb. 3, 2012) jobs report was seen as unexpectedly good news for the economy, but it's always interesting to see how different news sources report the information and how they use their headlines and lead paragraphs shape public opinion.

Not only was Fox News the only major source to lead with the negatives on what is clearly very good economic news, but nowhere in their headline or their opening paragraphs did they disclose the impressive number of new jobs created -- 243,000 -- something which every other major news source put right up front. 

Note that most major media provided the same or similar cautionary information that Fox did, but they focused on the positive news at the head of the article, unlike Fox which mitigated the good news with negatives right up front.  Studies show that most readers "skim" articles and read only the headlines and, maybe, the opening paragraph or two.  Once you know that, Fox News' bias becomes more apparent.

Here are the headlines and first paragraphs from news sources you know and trust(?):

Unemployment rate falls to 8.3 percent in January after hiring burst
WASHINGTON – The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent in January, marking the fifth straight month of decline thanks in part to a hiring spree in the private sector.

The Labor Department report suggests the job market is improving, though longer-term economic projections remain dim. The Congressional Budget Office reported earlier this week that its analysts predict the rate will creep toward 9 percent again before the end of the year.

Job growth surges, jobless rate drops to 8.3 percent
The economy created jobs at the fastest pace in nine months in January and the unemployment rate dropped to a near three-year low of 8.3 percent, providing some measure of comfort for President Barack Obama who faces re-election in November.

Nonfarm payrolls jumped 243,000, the Labor Department said on Friday, as factory jobs grew by the most in a year. The gain in overall employment was the largest since April and outpaced economists' expectations for a rise of only 150,000.

Unemployment rate falls to 8.3%; fifth straight monthly decline
The U.S. job market strengthened at the start of the year as employers added an unexpectedly large number of new jobs and the unemployment rate in January dropped for the fifth straight month to 8.3%--the lowest in nearly three years.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers nationwide added 243,000 net new jobs in January – about 100,000 more than what analysts were forecasting. Job gains were broad-based, powered by increases in manufacturing, professional and business services such as accounting and engineering, and in leisure and healthcare industries.,0,6620355.story

Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.3%; Payrolls Jump
Employment climbed more than forecast in January and the U.S. jobless rate unexpectedly fell to the lowest in three years, casting doubt on the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates low until late 2014.

The 243,000 increase in payrolls was the most since April and exceeded all forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey, Labor Department figures showed in Washington. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent, the lowest since February 2009.

U.S. adds 243K jobs in January; unemployment rate drops to 8.3%
The nation’s unemployment rate dropped for the fifth straight month to 8.3 percent, its lowest level in three years, the Labor Department reported Friday, with widespread hiring across the economy.

The number of jobs grew by 243,000, the government said.

The Labor Department recorded gains in many parts of the economy including the restaurant business, accounting, health care and retail stores.

U.S. Jobless Rate Falls to 8.3 Percent, a 3-Year Low
The United States economy gained momentum in January, adding 243,000 jobs, the second straight month of better-than-expected gains.

The unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent, giving a cause for optimism as the economy shapes up as the central issue in the presidential election. The Labor Department’s monthly snapshot of the jobs market uses a different survey, of households rather than employers, to calculate the unemployment rate.

January jobs report: Hiring ramps up, unemployment falls
American employers substantially stepped up their hiring in January, bringing the unemployment rate down for the fifth month in a row.

Employers added 243,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department reported Friday, marking a pick-up in hiring from December, when the economy added 203,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 8.3%. That is the lowest since February 2009.

Then, there's this that just showed up minutes later 

The bad news behind the January jobs report
Three years after Obama became president, even the official unemployment rate still remains high. The newly released 8.3 percent unemployment rate is still a half a percentage point higher than when he took office.

But that still might be looking at the bright side. If we include those who have given up looking for work and those who could only find part time work, the unemployment rate stands at almost an entire percentage point higher than when Obama entered office.


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