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August 19, 2005

In spite of economic growth, networks continue to report gloom

From the Free Market Project...

The federal deficit is shrinking, unemployment has fallen, and America has seen more than two straight years of job growth. But broadcasters have been describing the economy as “dicey,” “volatile” and “slow.” A Free Market Project analysis of economic stories on network evening news shows since President George W. Bush’s second inauguration showed negative news prevailing 62 percent of the time (71 out of 115 stories). That number was deceiving, however, because even good news often was portrayed as bad. In 40 stories classified as good economic news, journalists undermined the good news with bad 45 percent of the time....

A growing economy is characterized by job creation, wage growth, steady growth in gross domestic product, and slowly increasing inflation. In response to a strong unemployment report or the news of inflation, the stock market will drop in the short term due to fears of inflation. ...

All of those things, to a varying extent, have occurred since the inauguration on January 20. Over the last six months, 1.8 million jobs have been created, pushing the unemployment rate down from 5.2 to 5.0 percent. GDP has grown an average of 3.2 percent over the last two financial quarters, and the federal deficit has narrowed from $412 billion to $331 billion.

In spite of strong economic growth, reports since the inauguration have focused on negative events in the economy, such as individual companies’ layoffs. Natural free-market occurrences, such as consumers’ shift away from buying American cars and rising prices for housing and gas, have been portrayed as apocalyptic. Good news was relegated to brief status 68 percent of the time, while negative news was only briefed 28 percent of the time, a ratio of more than 2-to-1. That meant negative news was far more likely to be treated with full reports, including correspondents and interviews.

Freedom of the Press used to mean something, until the Press became an instrument of the suppression of Truth.

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Posted by Danny Carlton at August 19, 2005 09:33 AM

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