The Washington Post has produced evidence that journalists influence the way the public views the economy.
The paper sponsored “a survey-based experiment” of “more than 2,500 online respondents” who were “shown a brief news clip before being asked to reply to a series of questions.” The views of respondents on their personal economic well-being were wildly different between survey-takers shown a story on gas prices and respondents shown a story on job growth.
Asked “would you say that you and your family are better off, worse off, or just about the same financially as you were a year ago,” 42 percent of the group that saw the gas price story said “worse off,” while only 29 percent of the group that saw a story on job creation answered that way.
The Post survey is further evidence of the power of slanted reporting to influence public pessimism about the economy. The Business & Media Institute has repeatedly covered the media’s pessimistic reporting on the strong U.S. economy, from hype about “record” prices and using images of gas prices far above the nationwide average to the media’s vocal anticipation of a recession.