Wall St. Cheerleaders ‘Abandon Economic Reporting’

Looking at last week’s “whole series of bad reports on the state of the economy,” Dean Baker of Beat the Press and the Center for Economic and Policy Research tells readers of London’s Guardian (6/1/09) if they think “these reports might have led to gloomy news stories,” such assessments are to be found “not in the U.S. media”: “The folks who could not see an $8 trillion housing bubble are still determined to find the silver lining in even the worst economic news”:

For example, National Public Radio told listeners that the new home sales figure reported for April was up from the March level. While this was true, the April figure was only 1,000 higher than a March level that had just been revised down by 5,000. April new home sales were 4,000 below the sales level that had originally been reported for March. USA Today touted a “surge” in durable goods orders, which was also based on a sharp downward revision to the prior month’s data.

The media have obviously abandoned economic reporting and instead have adopted the role of cheerleader, touting whatever good news it can find and inventing good news when none can be found. This leaves the responsibility of reporting on the economy to others.

Predicting that “at some point it will be impossible to conceal the bad news, and Congress’ attention will return to stimulus,” for now Baker notes that “media’s reality defying happy talk on the economy is delaying this moment.” Read the recent issue of FAIR’s magazine Extra!: “Stimulus Snake Oil: Media Promote Nonsensical GOP Talking Points” (3/09) by Peter Hart.