The Early Show viewers are experiencing an unusual form of pain at the pump. For two days running, CBSs Julie Chen has misreported gas prices, each time claiming highs that have not occurred, with the record high the second day lower than the previous days reported prices. The latest incident happened as nationwide gas prices have plateaued and many experts predict them to drop. But on the September 7 broadcast she claimed, Lawmakers fear drivers are being ripped-off at the gas pump. Since Katrina, prices have risen 46 cents to a new high of $3.07 a gallon. That has prompted... continue reading
Hurricane Katrina received nearly 24-hour TV coverage in the past week, from rescue tales to the horrors of flooding, crime, and people struggling to find food and water. Then demands for accountability started pouring in but so did private donations to the relief efforts. While print outlets like The Washington Post, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal detailed more than $500 million given by American individuals and businesses, network news focused on pleas for giving with passing coverage of those who answered the call. And many of the companies that gave the most were also the companies the media... continue reading
Misinformation continues to flow about supposed record high gas prices. Over the holiday weekend, the national average for gas rose to a little more than $3, still below the inflation-adjusted record of $3.11 set nearly 20 years ago. That didnt stop The Early Show on CBS from claiming a record-high $3.20 national average for regular unleaded gasoline. On the September 6 broadcast, both Julie Chen and Hannah Storm made the same incorrect claim. According to Chen, The huge hit Hurricane Katrina put on the area helped send gas prices shooting up 75 cents to an average of $3.20 a gallon... continue reading
Americas media are, once again, predicting economic doom and gloom as a result of a natural disaster. Such predictions have been wrong before and, in the case of Hurricane Katrina, will likely turn out wrong again. These predictions fly in the face of strong economic data reported by the Labor Department on Friday including an August unemployment rate of 4.9 percent that is now the lowest in four years. Americas press decided to play down the positives by focusing on the threat to jobs and the economy as a result of Katrina. Edmund L. Andrews of The New York Times... continue reading
Some lessons are hard to learn. For the media, who have been told many times by scientists that global warming doesnt cause weather cataclysms, each new disaster is an opportunity to ask the same question again. On the August 29 NBC Nightly News, reporter Robert Bazell said many scientists say we can expect such storms more often as global warming increases sea temperatures around the world. Bazell took for granted that global warming is happening enough to cause weather disturbances an assumption commonly found in the media. Journalists have been promoting a link between hurricanes and global warming for at... continue reading
The U.S. Census Bureau released poverty figures for 2004 on August 30, and if you were to take the mainstream media reports on the subject at face value, you would have to conclude that things are pretty bad in our nation. By leaving out that the latest data is actually as good as or better than 20 of the last 25 years, the reports spun a good news story into just the opposite. For instance, this is from David Leonhardts article in the August 31 New York Times: The census's annual report card on the nation's economic well-being showed that... continue reading
Refining: the Untold Story of the Oil Chain Hurricane season brings more media references to refining capacity, but little explanation of this force behind gas prices. By Amy Menefee August 31, 2005 It took the force of Hurricane Katrina to wake up the media to a big story: U.S. oil refining. Following a summer of relentless gas price coverage, the storms threat to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico added urgency to reports about the oil industry. But only one network news story in three months of summer coverage has attempted to explain the role of U.S. oil refining in... continue reading
USA Today Downplays Its Own Explanation of Health Care Costs Major series fails to understand why premium care has a premium price. By Dan Gainor August 31, 2005 According to the August 31 issue of USA Today, More than one in four Americans are faltering under the burden of health costs. The story, written by Julie Appleby, claimed Medical progress has helped Americans live longer, but the exploding cost of those breakthroughs has polarized the nation. The article blamed medical inflation for creating a burden, and it was filled with talk of double digit increases in health insurance premiums and... continue reading
One-Sided View of Housing Bubbles to Surface CBS Evening News relies on anti-Bush economist to portray housing boom as a threat. By Dan Gainor August 29, 2005 To people who heard Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan speak in Jackson Hole, Wyo., at the end of last week, the housing boom will simmer down. But to those viewers at home watching CBS Evening News, housing is in a bubble and bubbles typically burst. The August 27 CBS broadcast began with a scary introduction by reporter Bob Orr asking, Is the roof about to fall in on the hot condo market? Later, a... continue reading
Times Downplays Greenspans 18-Year Success Paper dwells on danger if housing turns into a bubble that bursts. By Dan Gainor August 26, 2005 Alan Greenspan might well be the best central banker who ever lived. That statement, from the August 26 New York Times, reflects the attitude of even most Greenspan critics except for the Times. The Times looked back on the Greenspan tenure as Federal Reserve Chairman by emphasizing a threatened housing bubble that Greenspan doesnt even believe in. Reporter Edmund L. Andrews characterized a Fed chairman washing his hands of a looming threat. If housing prices do turn... continue reading