Former GE CEO Jack Welch accuses Obama administration of cooking unemployment numbers

Republicans caused eyes to roll this election season by perpetuating the meme that poll numbers favoring Barack Obama over Mitt Romney are “skewed” (there’s even a website that recalculates every poll with the partisan weighting of the Republican leaning Rasmussen poll, putting Romney reliably ahead.) Now, there’s a new conspiracy theory out there: that the 7.8 percent unemployment rate reporting on Friday, along with revised jobs data for the prior two months, is a fraud.

The theory is being promoted by none other than Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE. He tweeted this morning: “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”

The tweet has drawn 1.237 retweets so far, but also some derision. Dow Jones private equity manager and former CNN, Bloomberg and Fox News financial reporter Ken Sweet tweeted Welch in response: “you’re a smart guy Jack. I hope you really don’t believe conspiracy theories like that.”

In fact, the idea that the White House could intervene to alter a jobs report is, to put it kindly, about as likely as a UFO landing on the lawn at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Why? As Rachel Weiner of the Washington Post’s Election 2012 blog wrote this morning:

For the record, career professionals at the Bureau of Labor Statistics come up with the monthly jobs report in total secrecy, walled off from all political staff.

… Like News Corp. CEO Richard Murdoch, Welch wants Mitt Romney to win but has a habit of giving the Republican candidate unsolicited (and perhaps unwelcome) advice. This time, he’s not getting much support.

And former George W. Bush spokesman Tony Fratto added this:

And Fratto went on to explain the reason why jobs numbers get revised: “BLS benchmark revisions come from actual state unemployment benefits rolls & businesses reporting to state tax authorities.”

Tea Party Congressman Allen West (R-Fla.) has become the latest jobs numbers conspiracy theorist, posting  on his Facebook page: “I agree with former GE CEO Jack Welch, Chicago style politics is at work here. Somehow by manipulation of data we are all of a sudden below 8 percent unemployment, a month from the Presidential election. This is Orwellian to say the least and representative of Saul Alinsky tactics from the book “Rules for Radicals”- a must read for all who want to know how the left strategize.”

Follow Joy Reid on Twitter at @thereidreport