The Politicization of Data

On the first Friday of this month (October 5, 2012), the BLS released its job figures just like it does every month. This report had unemployment dropping from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. Immediately, there was an outcry that somehow BLS had cooked the figures to help the Obama campaign, the most notable of which was a tweet by Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric:

Below are a few examples of that view or commentary on it as well as some more thoughtful posts on the noisy nature of the data.

Enabling the jobs report conspiracy theory
Brendan Nyhan | The Swing States Project Blog, Columbia Journalism Review
October 8, 2012

The jobs truther movement
Patrick Reis |
October 5, 2012

Steep drop in unemployment rate spawns conspiracy
Scott Mayerowitz and Christopher Rugaber | AP
October 5, 2012
Great opening paragraph:

Sasquatch might as well have traipsed across the White House lawn Friday with a lost Warren Commission file on his way to the studio where NASA staged the moon landing.

Conservatives Jobs Conspiracy is Nuts
Robert Schlesinger | Newsweek
October 5, 2012

Don’t Trust this Number in This Jobs Report (or Any Jobs Report)
Derek Thompson | The Atlantic
October 5, 2012

How Bureau of Labor Statistics Tames Volatile Raw Data for Jobs Reports
Catherine Rampell | Economix Blog, New York Times
October 5, 2012

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