In many respects, 2005 was the strongest economic year the United States has experienced since 1999. The Gross Domestic Product continued its uninterrupted string of consecutive 3-percent or better quarterly increases 10 quarters in a row, the longest streak since the mid-80s. The nation added 2 million new non-farm payroll jobs. The average net wealth of the citizenry reached another all-time high a total of more than $51 trillion by the third quarter of 2005. And, as the Labor Department just reported on January 18, inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index was virtually the same in 2005 as... continue reading
USA Today and The Washington Post hyped inflation fears today rather than focus on optimistic outlooks from economists or a Federal Reserve report showing strong economic growth in the weeks closing 2005. USA Today editors placed Barbara Hagenbaughs article, 3.4% inflation is worst in 5 years, below the fold on the front page of the Jan. 19 paper, while Nell Hendersons Inflation Hit Five-Year High of 3.4% Last Year commanded the front page of the Washington Posts Jan. 19 Business section. By contrast, USA Today buried favorable economic analysis from the Federal Reserves Beige Book on page 5 of its... continue reading
Start with a report on an SEC rule change, add a splash of outrage over high corporate salaries, mix in a liberal activist whos donated thousands to liberal candidates for public office, and you have a classic evening news cocktail of economic misreporting. Thats what NBCs Anne Thompson served up Nightly News viewers with her Jan. 17 story on proposed rules the SEC is considering on how corporations report compensation of top executives. Thompson noted that the new rules should help shareholders have a more accurate picture of what they're paying the company's leaders. The NBC chief financial correspondent showcased... continue reading
Unlike the government, business leaders have the leeway to make tough choices about their expenditures and the financial health of their companies. Thats important as the government-backed Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which insures private companies programs, is straining to cope with giants like airlines and steel companies defaulting on their payments to workers. The Wall Street Journal reported January 18 on legislation Congress is considering that would lift some regulations and allow businesses to restructure their pension plans even more, in the interest of preventing the underfunding problems many face. Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), a leading aluminum company, joined IBM... continue reading
Media coverage of problems facing the new Medicare prescription drug plan focused on elderly patients left in the lurch by bureaucracy, producing what CBSs Bill Plante called a political headache for the Bush administration. But in the Jan. 16 reports on the Evening News and World News Tonight, both networks ignored conservative critics who had argued the plan was doomed to fail because it was a typical big government solution that ignored the free market. ABCs David Kerley opened his story featuring Pat Young, a Medicare recipient who got lost in the Medicare system and consequently was in danger of... continue reading
Wholesale price inflation in 2005 was the worst in 15 years, warned Associated Press reporter Martin Crutsinger in two reports on the year-ending producer price index (PPI) numbers released January 13 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But Crutsinger downplayed the big story: despite spikes in oil prices, inflation hasnt slammed consumers with high prices. The cost of wholesale goods aside from fuel and food in 2005 increased less than 2 percent. The AP economics writer opened his January 14 article noting gasoline prices rose at the fastest pace since 1990 and began a January 14 report published in the... continue reading
The media fell silent about the motivations of supporters of a newly passed Maryland law targeting Wal-Mart. USA Today failed to document Wal-Mart Watchs union and anti-business ties and The New York Times ignored Families USAs history of advocating socialized medicine. Stephanie Armour, reporting in the January 13 USA Today, quoted officials with the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce who supported and opposed the bill respectively. But in labeling Wal-Mart Watch as a Washington-based group focused on the mega-retailer, Armour suggested an organization without an ax to grind. A look at, however, revealed extensive labor union and liberal... continue reading
It may be January, but it seems its never too cold for the media to re-heat hype on global warming. ABC and The Washington Post did just that in their reports on one study in the science journal Nature. Both stories, however, left out any criticism of the study. Disease is the bullet killing frogs, but climate change is pulling the trigger, the Post quoted study author J. Alan Pounds. But while there are climate experts who say that Poundss conclusions are half-baked, neither the Posts Eilperin nor ABCs Blakemore feature any dissenting experts. One such critic is Pat Michaels,... continue reading
The Red Chinese are coming, the Red Chinese are coming, seems to be the cry from Lou Dobbs about the advent of two Chinese car companies, Chery and Geely, which may grace American showrooms beginning in 2007. But this is just the latest instance of Dobbs baseless scaremongering about the U.S. economy. The CNN anchor anticipates success for Cherys business in the United States, even though it is outsold in China by General Motors Corp. And its cars are being imported to the States by the same businessman who brought in the failed Yugo in the 1980s and whose Japanese... continue reading
Despite the fact that mining fatalities in the United States have dropped while production has increased, the news media have indicted an entire industry and the Sago mine in particular for safety records. They found help from ready union sources, who cropped up frequently in coverage even though the mine wasnt unionized. ABC News heaped blame on Wilbur Ross, head of the International Coal Group (NYSE: ICO), which acquired the mine just two months before the accident. Instead of covering the investigation and giving the facts context, ABC reporter Brian Ross settled for calling the businessman a coal baron and... continue reading