Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekly Initial Claims Numbers Down; What Does That Mean?

The advance figure for weekly initial unemployment claims, seasonally adjusted, DECREASED by 37,000 to 391,000 for the week of ending September 24th. 

How can we possibly be adding jobs when 300,000 or 400,000 people a week are getting laid off?  (Please continue reading; you will find the answer to this question.) 



What are initial claims?


Quite simply, they are the number of people in the United States who were laid off during that week or a recent week and who filed a initial claim for unemployment benefits.  This number does not include all of the people who stopped working during the week. 


Some people may not be entitled to unemployment benefits and they do not apply.  Some people quit; they are generally not entitled to benefits so they do not apply.  Some people may have been fired for cause (not showing up for work, drinking on the job, stealing or other "gross misconduct") and they do not apply.  Not all of the people who apply will get unemployment, but the "initial claims" number includes all who apply whether or not they get unemployment.


This number, reviewed over a period of weeks, is a good indicator as to how the job market (and the general economy) is doing.  When it is going up, the economy is in a lull or may actually be declining.  When they are going down, employers are less likely to lay off people and the economy is probably starting to cook.. or at least simmer.       
  
As of mid-September 2011, the previous week's number of claims was 428,000.  The four-week moving average, which rounds out numbers and removes some volatility, DECREASED over 5,000 claims, from 422,250 to 417,000.  Continuing claims in regular state programs DECREASED by 20,000.



This is really a good thing, right, that initial claims are decreasing?  



There is so much mis-information about unemployment and weekly and monthly claims numbers, and way too much attention is paid to these weekly and monthly variances.  Yes, it is probably good that unemployment claims have decreased, but one week of a significant decrease does not a trend make
First of all, these weekly claims numbers and the monthly unemployment/jobs numbers come from different sources. Secondly, weekly numbers need to be watched over a period of weeks to see a pattern, and even monthly numbers need to be watched over a time frame of a few months for any kind of trend. 

What is most disturbing to me, however, is not that there is so much disinformation out there, but there are so many people who don't know a thing about whatever it is they are writing about, in this case, employment and unemployment numbers, spend so much time trashing each other and pontificating on the Internet.  They say things as if they are "fact" and they don't seem to bother to check anything out, even if the information is easily obtainable.  (I debunk a bunch of myths and fallacies about unemployment here.)

Just a few facts on this week's numbers and on unemployment in general:
  • Officially, there are, as of the August 2011 figures released in early September 2011, about 14,000,000 people unemployed and actively looking for work.
  • According to the numbers released this morning, there are 6,900,000 people receiving unemployment benefits. 
  • People who have exhausted their benefits (the 99ers) are not counted among the 6,900,000 people receiving benefits, but, if they continue to actively look for work, they will be counted among the 14,000,000 officially unemployed.  (This is the biggest, most persistent unemployment myth I have come across.  If you keep looking, you are counted among the unemployed, even if you have exhausted your benefits.)
  • Both weekly and monthly numbers are revised over a period of weeks, but those revisions are not usually enough to change the trend. Weekly numbers will be revised over the next two weeks, but, usually the second to third week revisions are just about non-existent.
How can we possibly be adding jobs when 300,000 or 400,000 people a week are getting laid off? 
  • Even though approximately 400,000 people have filed first-time claims for unemployment every week for months and even though we have 14,000,000 unemployed, hiring continues.  
  • Even in the depths of the recession, about three to four million people were hired every month.  It's just not enough to keep up with the number of people who were laid off in 2008 and 2009, and it is not enough to keep up with new people entering the work force. 
  • Updates as of July 2012:  First time claims are now in the upper 300,000's and we now have about 12,700,000 people unemployed.
  • You can see current numbers of job openings, hirings, layoffs, and separations HERE as I interpret and summarize the latest JOLTS (Job Openings, Layoffs, Turnovers) survey.  
  • You can find the latest information about weekly initial claims HERE. 
  • Remember:  Even though about 380,000 people are getting laid off and filing initial claims for unemployment benefits every week, about 1,100,000 people a week are getting hired these days.   
Unemployment myths, mysteries, and fantasies: 

Continue here for some comments and questions about unemployment and weekly claims and my answers; all were posted at the MSNBC website


Topics I tackle include:
The drop in claims this week is due to the TeaParty!
It is impossible to determine the number who are unemployed.
The number of claims dropped because nobody is working anymore and people have run out of benefits.
There are more people unemployed than there were; I ran out of benefits so I am not counted.
Bush tax cuts worked; stimulus spending didn't.
The only jobs that the Democrats creates were the Census jobs.
Obama lost all of those jobs; Bush didn't lose any.
At 400,000 layoffs a week, we are losing 21 million jobs a year!

Unemployment Myths, Mysteries, and Fantasies

Here are some posts and questions about unemployment and weekly claims, and my answers, all were posted here at the MSNBC website.  
 
I have highlighted IN RED the wrong and seriously questionable comments made by these various posters, and tried to inject a little knowledge and logic:
  

The drop in claims this week is due to the TeaParty!

From Duphas at MSNBC:

...This is real change,.... not Obama Change though, as I'm sure the Liberals and Lame Stream Media (oh, but I repeat myself) will try and make you believe.
The EPA's shelving or protaction of the new and ever increaseing, and more stringent Reg's on "Big Industry", are helping. Thank you Conservatives!!!, Thank you "Tea Party Nuts", they are the real hero's. 
Plus the fact that Oil and Gas drilling and hydrofracting in South Texas, Pennsylvania and now North Dakota have had a dramatic affect (of the positive sort) on the creation of American Jobs, helps just a little bit.
North Dakota's boom is only just beginning, and so long as Obama & Liberal Co. can keep their hands out of the Oil & Gas Industry's pocket's, the Jobless Rate will continue to tumble.

My reply:


North Dakota's unemployment rate actually went up last month. North Dakota is a small state, and, while there are still more jobs in North Dakota in August than in July, there are more people also. Though the civilian labor force (people employed plus people looking for work) increased by 1,300 in North Dakota last month, there were only 800 more jobs.  Perhaps North Dakota's job market is getting saturated with so many newcomers?  We forget how small North Dakota really is with less than 400,000 jobs altogether.    

And Duphas, you really don't care about clean air and clean water.. those are just petty, job-killing regulations? And I bet you can't list one specific regulation that was "shelved" in the last month that has had an immediate effect on decreasing the number of layoffs (if that is true). Fracking is extremely controversial, but I guess you think that people's concerns and  complaints about tainted drinking water and salty streams are just liberal gobbedly-gook. 
But there's a drop in claims and you somehow give credit to the TeaPartiers. That's really, really a stretch.

That was a fascinating comment.  I'm sure this person is attributing every lost job since 2006 to the Democrats, but any good news has to somehow be attributable to the Republicans.  


It is impossible to determine the number of people who are unemployed.

From Biteme (responding to Horseperson):
Sorry, they can use both new claims and existing claims to come up with the statistics that they report. This is why,along with a number of other left out important factors, it is impossible to determine the accurate number of unemployed citizens in our country. Also, this is why they can report it even though it is not accurate.
My Reply:
No, Biteme. This number is based on "initial claims", not continuing claims. Continuing claims numbers are released as well, and they went down 20,000 this week. The numbers used for the weekly claims reports ARE NOT input into the monthly reports. There are officially 14,000,000 people unemployed and about 15,000,000 more underemployed or who "want a job" but have stopped looking.

The number of claims dropped because nobody is working anymore and people have run out of benefits.
From spacecadette:
"The new unemployment claims have to go down because there are no new or old jobs to get unemployed from... duh! and also many people that have been unemployed have run out of benefits, extensions and what not and are part of the unaccounted for! please people ask your neighbors or about your neighbors that have had to move out and move in with their family or even Yogi bear in the woods ..... a lot of the national parks are filled with families turned nomads trying the next town to find a job ...... geezzzzzz..... the media as a whole thinks it can still be used to brainwash us ..... those that have money and are holding it have better sense than to believe what the media says, it's about balances ."
My reply:
"There are over 130,000,000 non-farm jobs, about a million more jobs than there were a year ago, so there are still plenty of jobs from which people can get laid off. Initial claims numbers would have nothing to do with people running out of benefits, as those people wouldn't be filing "initial claims". Does that make sense?
Yes, there are plenty of people who have lost their homes, had to double up with families, many buying beat up RV's and taking to the woods, others camping in tent cities. 
The number of the long-term unemployed has gone up, even though the total number of unemployed has gone down by about a million people over the past year. So there can be a decrease in the number of weekly initial claims even though there are more people doubling up and/or moving into the woods. It would take a big, big decrease in total unemployment to give so many people jobs and resources so that they can again live in decent housing vs. surfing on somebody's couch.

There are more unemployed than there were; and I ran out of benefits so I am not counted.
From Siir Sam:
"The problem is really simple. "new" jobless claims fell. That could mean the old claims are the same, but the rate of unemployment/layoffs didn't keep up at the same pace as before. There are still "new" jobless claims, meaning that more people are jobless. Also, they could be in the same situation as I am: I haven't been able to get work, so my benefits have run out and I can't file a new claim. I'm still unemployed, just not counted any more. Shows what statistics can lie about and how the public is totally fooled by politicians."
My reply:
Continuing claims fell as well, by 20,000. Yes, more layoffs do mean more unemployed, but, for the last few months, there have more people hired than laid off (or quit). In July, 3,920,000 people were "separated" (either laid off or quit), while 3,984,000 people were hired. The total number of additional workers or jobs was only 64,000. 
Even in the depths of the recession, people were being hired, about 4,000,000 a month. But that is not enough hiring to make up for all of the 8 to 9 million lost jobs in 2008 to early 2010.
If you have run out of benefits, you are not counted in this weekly claims report; you are right about that, but if you are still looking for work, you are counted among the 14,000,000 officially unemployed. Almost 7,000,000 are receiving benefits now, but 14,000,000 are officially unemployed. Also, the number of very long-term unemployed is increasing, though I can't find those numbers offhand.
So there is no reason to assume that these statistics are "made up".. Why would any official who wants to "make up" statistics make up statistics this bad?

The Bush tax cuts kept the job numbers in 2001-2003 from being as bad as the job numbers now.  Therefore, tax cuts work; stimulus does not.
From Logic Required:
America had a recession that took place around the period of 2000 - 2002, 9/11 having a very real impact on a already soft economy. Bush cut taxes, which yes was deficit spending but the initial jobless claims reports in 2003 and 2004 the years following his tax cuts ran around the 340,000 to 360,000 range. Obama does a massive spending stimulus and the years following we are around 400,000 and suppose to get excited when it is "only" 391,000. I think the verdict is in, although both add to the deficit, tax breaks and cuts passed by a Republican majority actually helped pull us out of a recession, while stimulus spending passed by a Democrat majority has left us in stagnation. Numbers don't lie, journalist and politicains do.
My Reply:

Logic Required, There is no way you can equate the recession of 2001-2003 with what happened in 2007-2008. Also, the term "jobless recovery" was used often during 2003 even into 2005, and the kinds of jobs people were getting were not that great.


When the Democrats talk about two or three million more jobs, they are talking about the Census jobs.

From somebody replying to Kilobyte:
KiloByte1339
"We the corporations?

Well, we saw it for the 15 months before the teabaggers were elected when Obama's economy created 3 million jobs..."

You mean those temporary census jobs that the libtards attempted to take credit for?"

My Reply:
Actually, no, we've had over two years of positive growth every month in private sector jobs. (There are close to two million more jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) than there were at the "trough" of the recession). Even last month, with a net of zero job growth, we had an increase of 17,000 in the private sector. Government jobs have been declining since the Census workers started to be laid off last summer and fall. Your TeaBag masters don't want you to know that, so they babble on about "census and government jobs".

Obama lost all of those jobs; Bush didn't lose any.

From Roy Wilson:
"Here's the official GOVERNMENT source on jobs info;2008 - Bush's last year = 145,362,000 net people employed.2009 - Obama's first year = 139,877,000 net people employed. A loss of 5,485,000 jobs.2010 - Obama's second year = 139,064,000 net people employed. A loss of another 813,000 jobs."
That's a total loss of 6,298,000 net jobs under Obama. That's something you will never see reported in the biased media. Here is the link to the BLS website to verify:



http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat1.pdf
Just look under 'Employed - Total' for each year;By the way - The same government site shows total jobs of 136,891,000 net jobs for 2000 (Clinton's last year), so Bush had net new jobs of 8,471,000 net new jobs added in his 8 years.

I guess this is what might be called "An Inconvenient Truth".
My reply:
First of all, you are looking at ANNUAL averages when you look at those tables; you need to look at the monthly reports. Also, you are looking at numbers of employment, and that doesn't equal numbers of jobs. The jobs numbers are reported by private and the government employers; the workers' numbers are reported by a monthly census survey of the population. These numbers do not match for a variety of reasons.

Was there anybody foolish enough to think that Obama was going to immediately keep the country from losing jobs after he was inaugurated in 2009?  The peak of jobs was reached in December 2007 at 138,078,000 jobs. Some sectors, particularly construction, had been losing jobs for a year or more.
In January 2009, when Obama was inaugurated, there were 133,549,000 jobs. As monthly data is based on figures as of the week that contains the 12th day of the month, January 2009 job figures belong entirely to Bush.
So we lost 4,529,000 jobs under Bush in seasonally adjusted number.
The low point of jobs occurred in February 2010. There were 129,246,000 jobs. That's a loss of 4,303,000 jobs from the time Obama took office until the "trough" of the recession.  
We now have 131,132,000 jobs. That's an increase of 1,886,000 jobs.
You will have to look in the monthly BLS reports, available in the BLS archives. Again, you can't use annual averages for this kind of data. Jobs decreased throughout 2008, so the average of 2008 is quite a bit higher than it was when 2008 ended. And January 2009 job losses go under Bush's name.
By the way, when Bush took office in January 2001, there were 132,428,000 jobs. 133,549,000 when he left office minus that 132,428,000 gives Bush a net gain of 1,121,000 jobs.

At 400,000 layoffs a week, we're losing 21 million jobs a year!
From Roy Wilson:
(Quote from article:) 
""Claims tumbled to 391,000, down 37,000 from a revised 428,000 in the previous week and below the key 400,000 mark. Economists say that claims need to drop below 400,000 for an extended period to put a dent in the 9.1 percent unemployment rate. They need to drop below 375,000 for substantial job growth."
And next month, there will be another revision 'upward', which will be buried on page 17 of the NY Times.
Let's see now - an average of 400,000 people lose their job each week - that's about 4,800,000 per year. I wonder how those families feel about all of those 'jobs created or saved' that Obama promised?

Whoops - my math was off. 400,000 per week is about 21 million per year.

Sorry - haven't had my coffee yet."
My Reply:
Yeah.. that coffee does make a difference, doesn't it?
For these estimates, you'd have to look at the JOLTS report: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. You are right that approximately 400,000 people file for claims every week, but there is always hiring activity.
Even in the gloom of the deepest part of the recession, 3 to 4 million people were hired a month. In January 2009, 5,121,000 people were "separated"; about 2 million (1,980,000) of those people quit! (Remember that claims are not going to reflect people who quit, only those who were laid off and presumably eligible for unemployment.) 
So something like 3,200,000 were laid off during January 2009, which was a very gloomy month for labor. But employers reported that they actually hired 4,330,000 people in January 2009!  So 800,000 jobs were lost in January 2009, not 5 million.
Which is why your calculations won't work. Companies keep on hiring, even when other companies are laying off.
In July, the latest month for which JOLTS data is available, 3,964,000 people were hired.
We have almost 4,000,000 hired a month; that's 48,000,000 hired a year against the 21,000,000 who are filing first time claims for unemployment (400,000 a week). And approximately 2 million people a month that quit. 24,000,000. That's about 48,000,000 hires for a year against 45,000,000+ who are laid off, fired for cause, quit for some reason. (Not all who are terminated are eligible for unemployment compensation.) 
We've had about a job growth of about two million over the past year and a half. The numbers fit.

Miscellaneous employment myths:
From Old Timer:
"Why do we not report the U-6 unemployment rate, which was the rate reported during the 1979-83 and previous recessions, instead of the rosier U-3 unemployment rate, which excludes several groups from calculations and hence the numbers look better? According to the U-6 unemployment rate, which is still published by the Dep't of Labor, last month, 16.2% of Americans were either unemployed, discouraged and not currently looking for work, or are working part-time when they want full-time hours. The 9.1% U-3 rate is a fantasy designed to make the numbers look better since it excludes discouraged workers and workers over age 55 who have dropped-out of the workforce, who are counted as retired. Teen unemployment is not counted either."
My reply:


I've been around a long time as well, and I never remember the U-6 rate being commonly reported. In fact, the alternate unemployment rates were not calculated quite the same way back in the 70's and 80's as they are now, and the more common alternate unemployment rate was the U-7 rate. The U-3 has been the common unemployment rate reported ever since I was young and first knew what it was.
The U-3 rate is good enough for comparison purposes: If it goes up .2%, that's bad; if it goes down .2% that's good. My alternate unemployment rate is at 18.3% nowThat includes people working part-time who want full-time work and people who "want work" but have stopped looking for a variety of reasons.
The U-3 rate does not, as you correctly say, include discourage workers. For people to be counted in the U-3 rate, they need to be actively looking for work in the past month. People who have stopped looking are not counted in the U-3, no matter what age they are; and people who are still looking are counted in the U-3, no matter what age they are. I'm not sure where you came up with the "55 and over" thing. That's simply NOT true. Teen-agers looking for work ARE counted as long as they are 16 or over. Not sure who told you that one either.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is pretty transparent as to what is and isn't counted in the various unemployment numbers, also how they perform their surveys and what changes they have made over the years.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

No, New York Times, You've Got It Wrong... Kinda


"As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe"

"'Voting is worthless?'  Global protests share contempt 
for democracy"


So scream the headlines for this article at the New York Times, which was reprinted by MSNBC today.  The article starts:

From India to Israel to Spain, and even on Wall Street, demonstrators appear to have little faith in the ballot box.
The protesters all over the world don't necessarily share a "contempt for democracy". 

These are movements FOR democracy.  

What these protesters share is a contempt for the corruption and the shortcomings of democracy as it is currently practiced in most so-called "democracies".  They scorn a democracy which has been corrupted by the need for billion-dollar campaign chests.  They distrust a democracy in which the corporate-owned media are biased and free to publish or broadcast distortions, innuendo, or out-and-out lies.

They have little faith in representatives who need to make nice with lobbyists as soon as they move to the capital or provincial or state houses.  They are tired of seeing their democracies being "bought off" by the rich and powerful.  They are angry that voting often means holding your nose and voting for the "lesser or two evils" instead of finding candidates that clearly care about the people and the country and will stick to their principles.

Now the following statement from the article is true:

These protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.
But that doesn't mean they share a  "contempt for democracy".  No, they value democracy; they embrace it; they cherish it.  And they know that  what passes for democracy, both here and abroad, is a poor shadow of the real thing. 

These people, young and old, but mostly young, know things can and should be better.


More power to all of them everywhere.

*********************************
You may also wish to read: 
The Unemployed: Lazy? Irresponsible? Spongers or slackers? The New Poor in America
Who Should Advocate for the Poor and the Elderly in the Debt Mess?
Chinese Slave Workers Add To Steve Jobs' Coffers
The Assault on the Homeless: No Soup For You!
 Crushing the Human Spirit Indeed!
********************************

Monday, September 26, 2011

Stop Being a Gullible Stooge or a Patsy!..

People are so easily manipulated by the media. 

Look, in these days of the Internet and extremely powerful search engines, there is no need for anyone to be willfully ignorant.  I think many people prefer ignorance:  They prefer to jump to a conclusion based on a headline or a couple of paragraphs, particularly if it reinforces their world view.

And the media know this as well.  They know that a few phrases and clauses carefully placed will cause vulnerable, gullible,and ignorant readers to jump to all kinds of faulty conclusions.  I came across this article in the Chicago Sun-Times a few days back which is a perfect example of such manipulation and shoddy reporting (unless the writers were, under orders from their superiors at the Chicago Sun-Times, supposed to turn this story into an anti-Obama piece.)

The headline is:  
Fraud case target grants awarded by President Obama's friend

O.K., it sounds as though a friend of President Obama was knowingly awarding fraudulent grants with perhaps some other kind of wrong-doing involved.  


If that's what you thought after reading the headline, you would be wrong.  For the article in the Chicago Sun-Times is about a woman who allegedly embezzled $500,000 from state government grants.  She's been indicted for this embezzlement, and her trial is supposed to start in December.

Good.  If she is indeed guilty, I'm glad that she was caught and will face trial and punishment.  Corruption, fraud, and waste in government needs to be rooted out.

Now, the head of ONE of the agencies who awarded this woman grants  is a friend of President Obama.  It's bad enough that the Chicago Sun-Times headlines the article using "fraud" and "obama" in the same headling, but it also leads off the article with a picture of Obama playing golf with this man, his long-time friend, Dr. Eric Whitaker.... as if Whitaker and Obama had something to do with this woman's fraud.

Quite frankly, the article is a shameful piece of reporting-- unless it is a blatant attempt by the Sun-Times or these authors to cast aspersions on Obama's character.  The article doesn't lie, but the headline and the first few paragraphs repeatedly make a spurious association with this woman and Whitaker, and from there to a connection with Obama himself.    Can you say "misleading and deceptive"?.

The article provides a great example of how a newspaper can manipulate the news to get the gullible, the vulnerable, and those with reading comprehension problems to "bite".

My question is why does the Sun-Times want to be involved in spreading lies, innuendo, and gossip about the President?  Isn't the Sun-Times supposed to be a respectable newspaper of one of our largest cities?  Why does the Sun-Times want to "get" Obama?    

Some facts about this that may or may not be evident from the deceptive article:  

1.  There was an investigation and the woman was indicted.  The woman received over a million dollars  worth of grants from four different state agencies, under at least FIVE different agency directors.  $225,000 worth of grants was received while Dr. Eric Whitaker, a friend of President Obama, was the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.  About $800,000 almost four times as much, was received from other state departments or from IDPH after Whitaker left the employ of the state of Illinois.

2.  Though the woman who has been indicted received many more grants and much more money from departments headed by other state officials, there is no article with any questions for or about those other state officials, some of whom still work for the state of Illinois, presumably because these other directors were not friends of Obama.    

3.  The friend of Obama, Dr. Eric Whitaker, no longer works for the state and has not worked for the state for 4 years.  Dr, Whitaker now works for the University of Chicago Hospitals.  The University of Chicago had nothing to do with this situation in any size, shape, or form.  The man's salary at the University of Chicago is listed in the article.  It sounds pretty hefty, but this is between him and the University of Chicago.  He is not paid by the government while working for the University of Chicago.  

4.  In the course of this investigation, the government emails of several current and former state officials were subpoened.  Nobody other than the woman who received the grants and her assistant were indicted as a part of this investigation.  Other non-profits who got grants may still be under investigation.  During Whitaker's tenure at IPDH, the agency gave out over 8,000 grants to about 240 different organizations and not-for-profits.    

5.  The woman who was indicted, Ms. Davis, (allegedly) committed fraud pure and simple. She included fraudulent information in her grant requests, and she diverted money that was earmarked for legitimate public purposes into her own personal slush fund.  The indicted woman never worked for the State of Illinois, and she never worked for Whitaker.  That's the size of it, pure and simple. You can read the details of the indictment in the FBI press release on this incident:
The indictment alleges that from December 2005 to June 2009,(Margaret) Davis, with the assistance of (a subordinate), who was acting under Davis’s direction, solicited and received more than $1,000,000 in various grants from Illinois state agencies, including $460,000 from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for the “Young Enough to Make a Difference Project.” According to the indictmentDavis represented that the project would be implemented in six Chicago high schools in one Illinois senatorial district that was designated as a health professional shortage and medically under-served area. As part of the scheme, the indictment alleges that Davis and Cook diverted as much as $500,000 or more for Davis’s and Cook’s personal use and benefit, including to benefit Davis’s family members, friends and associates.
6.  Though the woman had received some awards and praise from state officials including Whitaker, for her work on behalf of the nursing profession in the black community, there is no indication that Whitaker had anything to do with her graft and outright thievery.

7.  The question of whether or not any of the state agencies involved exercised due diligence in the awarding of this or any grant is a legitimate question, but, in this case, since the woman was caught and has been prosecuted, it actually shows that the system does work:   Somewhere along the line, she was investigated and caught.  Also, new policies and procedures have been put into place in the last year to strengthen grant oversight.

Again, absolutely no evidence that Whitaker or any of the other department heads had anything to do with this. Just a reporter or an editor who wants to toss dirt and make insinuations that the vulnerable will embrace.

This is really nothing.  Not an issue of national importance, at a time when there are so many major issues.  But it shows how easily people are led.  Please, people, stop being gullible and vulnerable!  Don't assume that anything you read about someone you don't like is "true" and anything you read about someone you like is "false".  

Learn when you are being used by the powers that be and fight for your free thought and your independence of spirit. Use your mental strength and your physical resources (like the Internet) in the pursuit of Truth.  Don't be had.