In its business section on June 1, 2007, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune contained an AP story by Jeannine Aversa (AP Economics Writer). The story was about the Commerce Department’s first quarter economic growth figures released on Thursday, May 31.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune headline fabricator chose “Economic growth hobbled by oversized trade deficit” to introduce this story. Also highlighted at the beginning of the story was this exerpt: “The economy’s 0.6 percent growth rate in the opening quarter of this year marked a big loss of momentum from the 2.5 percent pace logged in the final quarter of last year.”
Any reader who relies on headlines and excerpts might reasonably think the U.S. economy was headed for a recession. That's unfortunate because the U.S. economy is continuing a boom that has carried it through several impulses that would have dragged a weaker economy into recession.
Those who actually read the story, would learn:
Consumer spending prevented the economy from slipping into recession during the first quarter of 2007.
“Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke … does not believe the economy will slide into recession this year.”
“… many economists believe the first quarter will probably turn out to be the weakest point for the economy this year.”
“I think the worst is behind us … while we did have a miserable quarter in the first three months of the year, it doesn’t look like it will be repeated any time soon.” [comments of economist Richard Yamarone at Argus Research]
“The National Association for Business Economics predicts the economy will expand at a 2.3 percent pace from April through June.”
“Yamarone … thinks the economy is poised for a bigger bounce-back in growth.”
“The Dow Jones industrials … set a new closing high on Wednesday” [May 30]
“there are still wild cards, including how consumers will behave given rising gasoline prices as well as the condition of the housing sector.”
While “investment in home building was cut by 15.4 percent, on an annualized basis, in the first quarter … it was not as severe as the 19.8 percent annualized drop seen in the final quarter of last year.” [which translates to a 4.4 percent growth in annualized home building over the previous quarter]
“Consumers, whose spending is indispensable to the economy, boosted purchases by a 4.4 percent growth rate in the first quarter, the most in a year.”
“Some economists wonder how … gasoline prices that have topped $3 a gallon” will affect consumer spending. [note that, adjusted for inflation, gasoline prices are at early 1980s levels]
“One of the reasons consumers have stayed so resilient … is because the job market has been good.”
“Fewer people signed up for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department reported. New filings dropped by 4,000 to 310,000. That suggests the employment climate is weathering well …”
“Another report … showed [residential] construction spending edged up 0.1 percent in April …” while spending “… by private builders on nonresidential projects and spending by government on big projects each climbed to all-time highs in April …”
Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Bank of America’s Investment Strategies Group summarized, “The economy doesn’t seem to be at serious risk of a recession.”
With all that good news embedded in the story, you’d think the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s headline fabricator could have come up with something a little more positive.
Of course, we all know why we see so many negative headlines for what should be a positive story. Dominated by liberal Democrats, both writers and headline fabricators will always do their best to downplay or ignore good news during a Republican administration. Their favorite tactic is to distort the story so that good news is presented as bad news. Every good statistic is cradled in a bad news scenario or countered with speculation that something bad could be just around the corner.
The U.S. is enjoying record prosperity despite high gasoline prices and a correction in the housing market. Unemployment is at a practical minimum. People have never had it so well. Our economy manages to assimilate illegal immigrants while liberal Democrats in search of new voting blocks pass legislation to shower these same illegal immigrants with Social Security and Medicare benefits to which they have no entitlement.
Yet, you’d never know it to read the dominant liberal media. There is so much distortion in today’s “news” that it is truly not worth the effort to take it seriously. This has the horrible consequence of either tuning out insightful readers, or the equally bad result of misleading those who are oblivious to the propagandizing to which they are subjected.
The reality is that our economy is in better shape than it was under Clinton. The stock market is at record highs, far higher than it was under Clinton. Our country hasn’t had one act of Islamic terrorism since 9/11/01, a far better record than the many incidents under Clinton. Instead of merely issuing empty threats (as Clinton was prone to do), this Republican administration followed through and as a consequence more than 50 million Muslim people in Iraq and Afghanistan are better off than they ever were while Democrats under Clinton were in charge.
Yet Democrats will always get a pass from reporters. Senate majority leader Reid is up to his ears in dubious transactions and shady deals. Yet the media are mum. The double standard is alive and well in the dominant media. Mere suggestions that are unfounded are sufficient to drive Republicans from office. Crass brazen unethical acts that should demand removal from office are simply overlooked if the perpetrator is a Democrat (particularly a liberal Democrat).
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s presentation of this AP story on economic news is clear evidence of the liberal Democrat bias that pervades a great majority of our news media … a bias that will always adhere to the party line that dictates no news is good news when a Republican is president.
Bob Webster, a 12th-generation descendent of both the Darte family (Connecticut, 1630s) and the Webster family (Massachusetts, 1630s) is a descendant of Daniel Webster's father, Revolutionary War patriot Ebenezer Webster, who served with General Washington. Bob has always had a strong interest in early American history, our Constitution, U.S. politics, and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican with objectivist and libertarian roots. He has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for all high school students so they can appreciate the cost of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.
A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.