George Will on the Infallibility of Business Journalism

“I think the best journalism in America is business journalism precisely because they deal with real metrics. You can actually–they know things.”
–George Will, ABC‘s This Week, 3/15/09

It’s possible that Will actually believes this. Read Dean Starkman’s piece in Mother Jones, “How Could 9,000 Business Reporters Blow It?,” for another take. Or this piece from Extra!.

Or recall that, not too long ago, Will was lecturing us on how the economy was doing just fine, in spite of the gloomy message the media was delivering:

Conservative pundit George Will (ABC‘s This Week, 12/4/05) blamed media coverage for the public’s failure to understand that “the economy is booming,” attributing this misapprehension to “Will’s two laws of economic journalism,” one of which mandates that “there’s no such thing as good news.”

For the record, this was how Will described his “two laws of economic journalism:”

First law, all news is economic news. That is, all news either is a cause or a consequence of economic developments and can be given an economic spin. Second law, all economic news is bad. All economic news is bad. Housing prices go up. Housing bubble. Housing prices come down, slump in housing. Unemployment goes up. That’s bad, ’cause unemployment is bad. Unemployment comes down, the labor market is overheating and inflation is coming back. There’s no such thing as good news.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.