Today's jobs report is the best news President Obama has received in months. So naturally conservatives assume the whole thing is a giant conspiracy. For most of his presidency, the unemployment rate has been held up as the biggest piece of evidence that President Obama is a failure. When the news came today that it's finally dropped below the level the it was at when he took office, it only took minutes for the doubters to assume the entire enterprise is nothing but a lie.
The biggest name to weigh in was Jack Welch, the former General Electric CEO whose legendary management performance was known to include the occasional manipulation of financial results. The implication of his tweet is the President simply called the Bureau of Labor Statistics—one of the most trustworthy departments in all of government—and got them to lie for him.
For some, that doesn't hold water. (After all, there have been plenty of months where the BLS did him no favors.) There must be something even more sinister going on, tweeted a Senior Writer for the Washington Examiner.
I don't think BLS cooked numbers. I think a bunch of Dems lied about getting jobs. That would have same effect.— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) October 5, 2012
Think about what that would mean. Rather than assume that a friendly liberal economist fudged some numbers to help the president's reelection, Carroll thinks it's more plausible that hundreds of thousands of unemployed Democrats simultaneously lied to a survey taker to protect their favorite president. A president who hasn't helped them get a job.
It seems that there is a certain brand of conservatives that is so determined to deny the president the credit for any good news, that they no longer believe good news is even possible. Rather than argue that the change in unemployment might be in spite of, not because of, the president's policies—a perfectly defensible stance—they insist that the change is not even happening. From there, it's not a huge leap to believing that the news is not just wrong, but a deliberate fabrication. Polls showing Romney trailing in key swing states can't just be "within the margin of error," or even unreliable or poorly conceived. They're clearly being altered to help the President.
Liberals are not without their conspiracies, too, of course. But this inherent distrust seems to premeate every corner of the Obama record. Rather then argue that the President is out of touch with most Americans, some must go further and insist that he is not an American at all. Increased Democratic turnout sways the election? Voter fraud. Miscounting the size of a crowds at public events? The media is bending over backwards for their favorite liberal. Convention events canceled due to the weather? The National Weather Service does what they're told. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court decides a tough case in the President's favor? He was blackmailed.
Economic data, climate data, voter registrations, Obama birth certificate -- fake, fake, fake, fake. Everything's faked.— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) October 5, 2012
That tweet was supposed to be sarcastic. Though it would be easy to confuse with one that isn't.
Fake jobs #s, fake stock mkt rally, fake $5T claim, fake crowds at rallys. Everything is fake! Will the American people see thru this?— Russ Michaels (@RussellMichaels) October 5, 2012
That this latest conspiracy involves the disbelief in actual hard data—numbers compiled by people who aren't political appointees and can't be influenced by any president—only makes it seem more absurd. When the unemployment figure was near 9 percent and was an albatross around Obama's neck, no questioned the integrity of the numbers. (Well, almost no one.) Now it's just one more conspiracy orchestrated to keep the powerful in power. The way most conspiracies do.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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