Dan Gainor

Politicians will promise just about anything to get elected. They might offer a chicken in every pot or even vow to end wars in places like Iraq or Afghanistan. That's just marketing. But once they get elected, we expect them to be honest.

Or at least we used to. Not any longer. Not since the $787 billion stimulus bill passed in 2010. Now, two years after it was signed into law on Feb. 17, it's easy to see why we've given up on political honesty. As Rep. Joe Wilson said to President Obama: "You lie."

He wasn't kidding.

The whole premise of the need for such an incredibly huge spending bill was jobs. As The New York Times explained it on Oct. 22, 2009, "the Obama administration's forecast at the start of the year, which predicted that unemployment would not climb much above 8 percent." That should earn Obama a spot in the Liar's Hall of Fame.

Now in 2011, unemployment isn't even close to 8 percent and it went as high as 10.1 percent. Unemployment has been over 9 percent since May of 2009, a 21-month stretch of pain for millions of Americans. And even though we've had some big drops in the number in the last two months, no one on the left or right believes them.

Yet you've hardly ever heard the media tell you about Obama's failed stimulus plan. That's right, failed. If you promise the largest spending bill in history is needed to keep unemployment below 8 percent and the jobless rate spends 21 months at 9 percent or higher, then you failed. Big time.

You probably didn't know that. That's because ABC, CBS, and NBC mentioned that promise just nine times in nearly two years of stimulus coverage. The remaining 98 percent of the time, Obama's disastrous overspending was ignored.

Ninety-eight percent. Super Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed about 62 percent of his passes and was named the game MVP. If he had completed 98 percent, he'd get elected to Senate from Wisconsin for life.

Now look at how the media did completing the trip from promise to disappointment. They mustered less than 2 percent - equal to roughly one completion in the entire game. That's a stunning failure by even their pathetic standards.

Imagine President George W. Bush had failed in such an amazing way. Do you think the networks would have talked about it just nine times out of 589stories? Not hardly. When Bush was president, network reporters covered unemployment so thoroughly, those without a job almost got a story per person.

Dan Gainor

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow and director of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute.