Latest From the Right-Wing Fever Swamp: Census Bureau Faked 2012 Jobs Report

There are certain political news-consumers who choose their media diet fastidiously: if it's not right wing, it's not on the menu. These media "swamps" are the places where the Birthers lurk, Benghazi is a massive cover-up, and -- despite the fact that the Dow Jones closed over 16,000 for the first time -- Obama is still a Kenyan socialist radical, etc., etc., etc.

The latest such story comes from a column by the Murdoch-owned New York Post where a "reporter," based on a sole anonymous source, states:

In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply -- raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.

The decline -- from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September -- might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.

You might remember this caused former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch to tweet: "Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers." (Welch was referring to Obama's first debate performance which the media -- and Obama's handlers -- characterized as anemic).

If true, this would be quite a scandal: Obama administration Census officials massaging jobs numbers in order to help the incumbent win re-election.

The problem is, it's bad journalism and it's not true. The Census Bureau employee accused of faking the data, Julius Buckmon, has not worked for the Census Bureau since August 2011, thus making it factually impossible for him to have unilaterally caused a drop in the September 2012 unemployment numbers.

But facts do not stop those who are convinced the Obama just could not have won re-election on the merits. Indeed, watch the bait and switch the New York Post pulls in order to leverage anonymous allegations against one employee -- nevermind that it is inane to believe that one Census worker out of 7,000 could singlehandedly pull off such a feat -- who was fired over a year before the election:

Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy.

And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee -- that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today.

"He's not the only one," said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked.

The reader is not told: (1) the employee in question was no longer with Census Bureau; and (2) that it is Journalism 101 to not run a story based solely on an anonymous source (unless as a last resort). One would think that if Buckmon was "not the only one" engaging in this conduct the Post columnist could have found at least one other corroborating source. But the Post isn't interested in journalism, it's interested in stoking anti-Obama sentiment. Mission accomplished for those who never leave the right-wing echo chamber.

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