Same network, different worlds
CNN’s Chris Isidore provides the most in-depth coverage of the BLS report showing that offshore outsourcing is responsible for a piddling number of lost jobs. Among other things, he has the only story I’ve seen that actually quotes anyone from the BLS. Isidore’s story provides a lovely contrast with to how fellow CNN employee Lou ...
CNN's Chris Isidore provides the most in-depth coverage of the BLS report showing that offshore outsourcing is responsible for a piddling number of lost jobs. Among other things, he has the only story I've seen that actually quotes anyone from the BLS. Isidore's story provides a lovely contrast with to how fellow CNN employee Lou Dobbs ran with the same information on his show. Let's compare and contrast! Isidore first:
CNN’s Chris Isidore provides the most in-depth coverage of the BLS report showing that offshore outsourcing is responsible for a piddling number of lost jobs. Among other things, he has the only story I’ve seen that actually quotes anyone from the BLS. Isidore’s story provides a lovely contrast with to how fellow CNN employee Lou Dobbs ran with the same information on his show. Let’s compare and contrast! Isidore first:
Only a small portion of jobs lost in the first quarter were due to outsourcing of work overseas, according to a government report Thursday that’s already being questioned by critics of the Bush administration. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in its first look at layoffs due to the relocation of work, identified only 4,633 jobs that were lost due to relocation of work overseas during the first quarter. The jobs lost to overseas relocations were outweighed by 9,985 jobs lost due to relocation of work within the United States. And both types of relocations made up just a tiny fraction of the mass layoffs that accounted for the loss of 239,361 jobs in the quarter. The number of jobs lost to overseas relocations equals 2.5 percent of overall layoffs in the quarter, excluding seasonal job losses, while the domestic job relocations accounted for another 5.4 percent…. Josh Livens, an Economic Policy Institute economist, and critic of the Bush administration and corporate outsourcing of work overseas, said he is pleased the BLS has started collecting this survey data. But he’s concerned it will be misused to minimize the impact of overseas outsourcing. “It’s interesting for a number of reasons, but it doesn’t shed a lot of light on what’s happening in the broader job creation and destruction picture,” he said.
Read the whole thing — Isidore does a good job of explaining the caveats to the BLS numbers, as well as giving critics an opportunity to make their points. Here’s how Dobbs treated the same information:
The government for the first time is beginning to track the number of American jobs lost to cheap foreign labor markets. A Department of Labor report released today finding that more than 4,600 American jobs were exported to those cheap foreign labor markets in the first three months of the year. That report, however, is certainly incomplete. It does not, for example, count every job lost to a foreign worker. Companies that laid off fewer than 50 employees are not even included, and companies that employ fewer than 50 people in total are not included as well in this first government effort. But it is certainly at least a long-awaited, much-needed beginning. The government study also confirmed what we’ve been reporting here for more than a year, that the manufacturing sector has been devastated by the export of American jobs to cheap overseas labor markets. While corporate America increases its reliance on cheap foreign labor, a new report finds that outsourcing simply doesn’t pay. Lisa Sylvester reports from Washington. LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found off-shoring is still in its early stages with less than 3 percent of all job loss due to overseas outsourcing. But the trend is expected to grow. A survey by “CFO” magazine asked corporate managers who have already sent work overseas whether they will increase off-shoring in the next two years. Sixty-four percent said yes. And white-collar jobs are increasingly in jeopardy.
To be fair, Dobbs and Sylvester did not out-and-out lie in their version of events. They just left out
two one minor details: 1) The BLS survey suggests that the percentage of jobs lost due to offshoring was less than 2.5% of the total (sorry, my screw-up — Sylvester did mention this — Dobbs didn’t); and 2) That cited CFO survey showed that 70% of respondents had no present or future plans to engage in any offshore outsourcing. We here at danieldrezner.com salute Lou Dobbs for his unique ability to slant data that flatly contradicts his hypothesis — as well as CNN’s other reportage. Way to go Lou!! For other treatments of this story, check out Paul Blustein in the Washington Post, as well as the New York Times and Financial Times. The Washington Post also has a nice round-up of other press treatments.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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