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ABC, CBS and NBC alarmed viewers of their July 13 evening newscasts with stories about “record” oil prices due to tensions in the Middle East. While the newscasts informed viewers about global political problems impacting oil prices, they misled viewers on the actual cost of oil. Adjusted for inflation, oil would have to go up another $10 to reach its record high. “Crude oil prices rocketed nearly two bucks a barrel today to a record-high $76.70, driven by rising tensions in the Middle East,” CBS’s Anthony Mason reported. “In February, an attack on a Saudi oil facility sent oil soaring”... continue reading
The ’80s song “I Want a New Drug” might as well be the soundtrack for The New York Times and NBC. Both media have dramatically changed the tune on two prescription drugs they once hailed as “breakthroughs” and “promising new treatments.” On July 12, the news outlets reversed their 1998 positions on cancer drugs raloxifene and tamoxifen. Eight years ago the drugs were lauded, but now these are “dangerous drugs,” according to one cancer patient who won’t even take them. On May 26, 1998, the Times raised the hopes of cancer victims, saying, “For weeks, a barrage of good news... continue reading
CNN business contributor Andy Serwer reported on a curious policy change at Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) stores: they’re giving first-time shoplifters a break for inexpensive merchandise. The story was not meant to be publicly announced and could cause an up-tick in shoplifting at the stores. Yet Serwer left out that The New York Times broke the story after being handed internal documents from an anti-Wal-Mart group funded by labor unions. “If you are caught in a Wal-Mart stealing less than $25 of merchandise and it’s your first time, you get a pass,” Serwer reported in a “Minding Your Business” update on... continue reading
President Bush announced some great news about the economy Tuesday, but the media weren't in any mood to celebrate. Though the budget deficit for 2006 looks to be significantly lower than forecast just five months ago, TV news outlets were quick to rain on the president's parade. CNN's Ed Henry cynically compared this announcement to the president declaring an end to major combat operations in Iraq in 2003. Meanwhile, NBC's Brian Williams downplayed the good news by stating “administration critics say the White House has deliberately inflated its own deficit projections in the past few years to score political points... continue reading
“We’ll look at who’s to blame for the stuff you put in your body.” That’s not an exaggeration of the media’s view of the “food police’s” efforts to regulate American food. That’s how CNN’s Jennifer Westhoven plugged an upcoming story about an anti-Kentucky Fried Chicken lawsuit on the June 17 “In the Money.” By airing numerous stories on the anti-food-industry antics of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the media lend credence to the idea that restaurants and the government are responsible for what you eat. Whether it’s Starbucks frappuccinos or crispy chicken, CSPI peddles the notion... continue reading
ABC and CBS evening newscasts attacked the pharmaceutical industry for expensive drugs for cancer treatment. Both the July 11 “World News Tonight” and “Evening News” left out dollar figures on drug industry research costs, and CBS even criticized the industry for “only” saving patients for up to another year. “In the last year, the cost of cancer drugs climbed 15 percent” compared to 3.3 percent for other drugs, CBS’s Trish Regan complained. Regan lamented that “drug companies are reaping the benefits” in strong profits. Regan read a brief excerpt from a drug industry statement while ABC’s John McKenzie pitted two... continue reading
“Gas prices are through the roof, why are you still driving?” That might as well have been the cry from “World News Tonight” substitute anchor Kate Snow as she opened the July 10 broadcast. The answer would be: They’re just not as expensive as the media would have you believe. “ America ’s growing appetite for gasoline has come as a surprise even as prices have climbed during last year” the demand “has held steady,” Snow told her viewers. Reporter Dean Reynolds sounded more incredulous. “Americans have been using up fuel like there’s no tomorrow,” the reporter complained from a... continue reading
Young people are too busy buying scores of jeans to worry about socking away money for retirement, ABC’s Betsy Stark suggested to viewers in the first story in her “Money Trap” series on American debt. But Stark left out that a new survey shows 20-somethings are the most likely age bracket to be invested in tax-free Roth 401(k) plans. Stark’s July 10 “World News Tonight” story centered on Erin Browne, a 27-year old “already living under a mountain of debt” with “a $130,000-mortgage and at least $50,000 in student loans.” Of course Browne’s mountain may be a rolling hill or... continue reading
Registered nurses, carpenters, and technical writers are unfairly reaping the spoils of the strong economy while hard-working dishwashers and janitors get the shaft. That might as well have been the first sentence of The Washington Post’s class war-engendering July 10 article “Well-Paid Benefit Most As Economy Flourishes.” “Wages are rising more than twice as fast for highly paid workers” in the Washington, D.C., area than they are for low-paid laborers, complained staff writers Neil Irwin and Cecilia Kang. “That means the spoils of the region’s economic expansion are going disproportionately to workers who are already well-paid, widening a gap between... continue reading
Gas prices are on the rise again, but are they really just one penny below “all-time highs,” as CNN business reporter Carrie Lee suggested recently? “Up 11 cents a gallon over the past two weeks,” Lee reported on the July 10 “American Morning,” citing a Lundberg survey noting that the $2.995-a-gallon cost was “just less than two cents below the all-time high set last year during Hurricane Katrina.” A minute later Lee said it was “about a penny off from the all-time high.” That figure is actually 12 cents shy of the inflation-adjusted all-time high of $3.12, reached in April... continue reading