A new study from NYU's Institute for Policy Integrity found that usage of the phrase "job-killing regulation" in newspapers has increased 17,550% between 2007 and 2011. The Institute's executive director, Michael A. Livermore, notes:
Claims that regulations have a significant impact on American employment call for careful scrutiny. Because they are repeated so often, the idea that regulations "kill jobs" can start to sound true, or at least "truthy." But when you scratch the surface of these claims, too often they are based more on ideology than sound methodology.
Some of the most heated rhetoric in this debate can give the impression that regulations are creating a widespread jobs crisis and that the economy would be thriving were it not for President Obama's environmental protection agenda. But what are all these claims linking negative job effects to regulation based on? In the scrum of politics it is often not clear: sometimes no analysis is cited, no data is included, no supporting documents are attached.
Livermore goes on to explain that, "You can't just load up a model, churn out an estimate and holler out a headline: 'Regulation 'X' kills 'Y' number of jobs.'"
But this is exactly what the media has done recently with regulatory issues and their relation to job creation/destruction.
Media Matters recently documented that news coverage of those favoring the Keystone XL pipeline far outweighed those opposed to its construction, while the media played up the jobs angle of Keystone XL over any negative environmental impact the project could have.
It didn't matter that the employment claims of many Keystone XL proponents were wildly exaggerated; the press amplified their voices while crowding out naysayers.
Similarly, Fox News made claims about a "job-killing" agenda coming from the Environmental Protection Agency that were completely false. They simply parroted rhetoric coming from the Republican Party.
Livermore concludes his blog post: "Overheated political rhetoric based on shaky numbers does little inform the debate, and only serves to distract attention from the other important consequences of the choices that we face."