NOW with Alex Wagner | October 08, 2012
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>>> shortly after the bureau of labor statistics released the monthly jobs report friday showing the unemployment rate dropping to 7.8% former ge ceo got the jobber conspiracy theory going with a tweet suggesting chicago manipulated the idea followed by a chorus of conservative commentator.
>> in a move beneath the dignity of the oval office it would appear the obama administration altered the monthly jobs report.
>> we learned today two of the leading economists are big obama donors. now that doesn't mean anything. of course not. nothing to see there.
>> in media interviews welch decided to double down.
>> what evidence --
>> i have no evidence.
>> you don't have evidence. it's one thing to doubt the numbers.
>> i used question marks last night.
>> these chicago guys will do anything. no question mark . you wish you -- you don't stand by --
>> oh, i i stand by it.
>> he didn't say the data was manipulated but mitt romney appeared with congressman alan west of florida. romney used his own math to explain the new jobs numbers.
>> if we calculated our unemployment rate in a way that was consistent with the way it was calculated with the way he came into office it would be a different number. if p the percentage of the american people in the work force were the same today the unemployment rate would be above 11%.
>> on "meet the press" sunday chuck todd lamented the rise of conspiracy minded nonsense and the cline of facts.
>> the federal reserve is questioned for politics. the supreme court and john roberts . we have corroded what we are doing. we are corroding trust in our government in a way. one time responsible people are doing to control it. the idea that donald trump and jack welch , rich people with crazy conspiracies can get traction on this.
>> ari, i want to talk first about this. we talked about institutional failure. what's happening now is the airing of conspiracy theories as fact. whether or not you choose to believe them. i think it undermined the notion that there even is such a thing as a fact anymore. that was incredibly bold of fox to go forward with the notion that chicago has manipulated the numbers from the bls. there is no questioning on this.
>> you see the difference. rush limbaugh was trafficking in conspiracy ideas to lead his audience to the conclusion where sean hannidy got up there and lied. there has always been public discourse. one is the bias where people only listen to what confirms their beliefs. the second is what you would call the big shot bubble which was a big piece and slate talked about this. powerful people with big mega phones who don't have anyone disagreeing with their crazy ideas and falsehoods. mr. walsh is a respected man. that's uncontested. but he is spewing a kind of falsehood and dance that's, as chuck said, incredibly corrosive. who are we supposed to rely on to figure out the baseline discussion of economics and business if not the business leaders separate from politics and ideology. the problem is the referees and this is a point i'm sure some disagree with, but the referees have to figure out how to call it without worrying if it looks partisan. you have to get in there and say it's not just terrible. it's terrible because people supporting mitt romney are trying to confuse everyone.
>> we talked about this earlier. donald trump is out with birther nonsense. if not playing an outsized role on the national dialogue they are playing a role in funding campaigns or super pacs with great influence.
>> i covered dopers most of the time. you imagine somebody that's the ceo of a business would be a well informed sophisticated person about politics as donors. they often are but often aren't. sheldon adelson is reading "the amateur," a book filled with -- it's a terrible book. he's reading this to get his understanding of obama . the guy who he wants to spend $100 million to beat. it's the big shot bubble. these are people and no one tells uh you you're wrong, that's crazy. it goes back to the debate. one of the best stories for why incumbents do poorly is for four years no one told them they're wrong, doing terrible. out's a great job, sir. to have a guy get in your face on the debate stage and rip into you is a new experience.
>> you could argue the reverse of that, too. obama has to run on facts and answer to facts where mitt romney can say, i'm going to move the oval office to the top of the washington monument and there will be soda in the water fountains.
>> he has to defend his record. that changes things for incumbents as well.
>> mitt romney said on wednesday, mr. president, you are not entitled to your own facts. both sides said it. now there is an argument over what the facts are. when we talk about bipartisanship, how do you reach compromise?
>> it's a fund mental problem for sure. also a problem when you have politicians who, frankly, have taken centrist positions, lot of positions. if you're going out there as mitt romney did and say, i am the bipartisan healer. i can find compromise, you cannot. you have to talk, communicate in ways that suggest you will do that. it's not enough to say, i'm strong, i'm a leader. you have to be reasonable in that debate. for him to say when the numbers come down they are outrageous. if the numbers are high, that's cool. that leaves you no room to find middle ground . you're poisoning the well for the next time you're in government and in office. that's the danger we have here. it's all short-term. everything we have seen especially from the romney campaign is about the group of people he's with at that time. he's a moderate guy in a debate talking to other people. the next day or with donors it's whatever you need. nos prague ma timpl. it's pretzelism.
>> oh, pretzelism is good. find your own numbers. don't like the tax policy numbers, find your own. there is a lot of that going on.
>> in fairness i think what mitt romney said is defensible in the sense that, in fact, we have seen millions of people drop out of the labor force . if they hadn't dropped out and they seem to have because -- some is anyonie i aging but a lot can't find jobs. that's a fair thing to say.
>> he's on stage alan west who on friday suggests this was part of leftist radicalism at work and part of the chicago machine manipulating labor statistics.
>> indeed. then there are the crazy people .
>> that speaks volumes.
>> he probably didn't pick the appearance knowing what the jobs figures would be. i think it's fair to say the economy has been bachltd obama doesn't have much to do with it. the president can't do that much to control the economy. but four years ago obama got to run saying, they drove it into the ditch, i can drive it out. then it turns out he can't. now the next guy gets to say, i can drive it out. he also can't drive it out, but this is the ritual every four oh eight years as someone promises they are the special healer who can put their hands on the economy and make it all right again.
>> i i think megan is gliding past the problem. this is an illustration of the problem. you can glide past alan west , donald trump , a lot of the people mitt romney who wants to be president has chosen to deeply associate and work with and legitimize. that tells us who he wants to be with as he chose them for the cabinet and everything else. liberals said for a long time that's an issue with how we measure this. that's in the two surveys. but the point is they are alleging another con spir p si to rile people up with lies. that's the problem.
>> this is true. it's crazy to suggest anyone manage -- first of all, these are people who think everything in government is like the d mrk v. it's crazy to suggest they can manage the big conspiracy. that said, harry reid got up there and said, i know mitt romney paid 0%, no taxes in at least one year or maybe for ten years. i had an enormous number of tax experts saying, yeah, no, that's really unlikely and all of these smart academics saying, well, you know, it's kind of conceivable.
>> i think it's a little bit different from trying to undermine the bureau of economic data coming out. mitt romney has been secretive. it was a campaign tactic to get more tax returns . was it damaging --
>> the senate majority leader is --
>> the senate majority leader is airing something for which there is no evidence. floating gossip and a rumor. it's different but not necessary thely better or worse. they're both bad.
>> i would beg to differ . ari?
>> i understand you are both trying to come to an about tif conclusion, but the conclusion -- this is my opinion.
>> is subjective.
>> this pursuit is prioritizing a type of balance and a false e equivalency over the problem. harry reid was using a source he wouldn't identify. a problem with an accusation. i don't think that's at all e equivalent to the type of lies and attacks that alleged conspiracies about the bureau of labor statistics and conspiracy conspiracies about where the president is born.
>> in reality, we want to know who's behind the bls numbers it's richard wolf .
>> it's vls and it's me e.
>> take your pick. coming up, speaking duck. john boehner let it is air out of the balloon in october. we'll preview what could be a really lame duck session just