All together now, class: The total number of net jobs lost since George Bush took office in January 2001 is 1.1 million. We’ve written several times about the Kerry campaign’s persistently misleading claim that nearly 2 million jobs have been lost during the president’s term; yesterday, Kerry spokesman Chad Clanton went to the poisoned well once more, telling the Associated Press’ Liz Sidoti that “we’ve lost 1.8 million jobs” under Bush.

The country has lost 1.8 million private sector jobs in that time, but there has been a net gain of 700,000 public sector jobs. Our readers have accused us of being “obsessed by rhetorical cheese-paring” for pointing this out — again and again — but, hey, sue us, we’ve got this pesky penchant for getting simple facts right. As for Sidoti, she doesn’t bother to correct Clanton’s misinformation, despite the fact that his statement was eminently (and easily) checkable. Which represents a return to form; after persistently getting the number wrong earlier this year, the AP actually went through a recent spell of getting it right.

No danger of that trend taking hold.

Brian Montopoli

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Brian Montopoli is a writer at CJR Daily.