“No more tax revenue! None. NONE.”
That was not the cry of a dyed-in-the-wool conservative politician. Rather it was Jim Cramer, CNBC’s own host of “Mad Money,” speaking to the upcoming fight in Washington over the debt ceiling. [See video after the jump]
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute where she analyzes and exposes media bias on a range of economic and business issues. She has written Special Reports including Global Warming Censored, UnCritical Condition, Networks Hide the Decline in Credibility of Climate Change Science and Obama the Tax Cutter.
Seymour has also appeared on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and the Christian Broadcasting Network and has been an in-studio guest on the G. Gordon Liddy Show. She has also done hundreds of radio interviews on a wide-range of topics with stations in more than 35 states as well as many nationally syndicated programs. Her work has appeared or been mentioned by radio host Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, The Drudge Report, WorldNetDaily, USA Today, CNBC.com, Motley Fool and “Ted, White and Blue” by Ted Nugent. Prior to joining BMI in 2006, she was a staff writer for Accuracy in Academia where she wrote about bias in lower and higher education and contributed to the book “The Real MLA Stylebook.” She holds a B.S. in Mass Communications: Print Journalism from Liberty University.
“No more tax revenue! None. NONE.”
For many Americans, ABC, NBC and CBS are the major source of news on business and the economy. Unfortunately, this is like depending on the middle school student newspaper for information about important local school board deliberations.
Network reporters are either ill-prepared to discuss complex issues of economics, finance and business or choose to be advocates for viewpoints rather than objective reporters who strive for balance. Liberal preferences for government solutions and interventionism as well as hostility toward wealth and profit dominate network coverage.
Less than a week after Great Britain lifted its ban on hydraulic fracturing, there is more news that will make fracking opponents unhappy. AXS television, formerly HDNet, has agreed to air the film “FrackNation” next month.
“FrackNation,” a film by investigative journalist Phelim McAleer, will be broadcast on Jan. 22, 2012 at 9 p.m. ET according to The Hollywood Reporter. AXS TV is a cable network owned by Mark Cuban, Ryan Seacrest and entertainment companies AEG and CAA.
Liberals can’t stand Grover Norquist. For years, they have lambasted and name-called Norquist, the president of American’s for Tax Reform: a staunch anti-tax hike group. But now the liberal media is also focused on him, in some cases rejoicing that he might lose his “stranglehold” over Republicans on the issue of taxes.
Left-wing websites like Daily Kos, Salon and The Huffington Post all exude vitriol with phrases like “idiot terrorist,” “anti-tax jihadist,” “enemy of the state” and “anti-tax fetishist.” HuffPo has been gleefully reporting about GOP tax “defectors” for over a year, long before it became the liberal media’s obsession.
Presidential elections have been won or lost due to the economy. Herbert Hoover lost to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan. This election season is no different as polls, including a recent one from NBC News/Wall Street Journal, continue to show the economy is the top concern of voters.
But the network news media often skew economic coverage in favor of liberal candidates and against conservatives. In September 2012, President Barack Obama continued to face a barrage of poor economic news including a GDP downgrade to 1.3 percent, an unemployment rate still above 8 percent and “record” high gas prices. But media coverage of economic issues from that month did not accurately reflect that turmoil. When President George W. Bush sought re-election in 2004, during the exact same time period, broadcast coverage criticized him on the economy despite a GDP of 3.3 percent, an unemployment rate of just 5.4 percent and gas prices a low $1.82.
With almost exactly one month left till the election, the government reported Oct. 5 the unemployment rate plummeted to 7.8 percent in September. While media outlets like The New York Times called the number “unexpected good news for Obama,” both liberal and conservative economists were quick to tear it apart.
The labor force jumped in one of the two government employment surveys – “the government said the total number of workers employed surged by 873,000, the highest one-month jump in 29 years,” wrote The Wall Street Journal. The Journal’s forecast had predicted an increase to 8.2 percent.
MSNBC broadcasts often have a “Twilight Zone” feel to them, but seldom more so than the Sept. 7, “Morning Joe.” Joe Scarborough and friends' reaction to the “weak” August jobs report was enthusiasm.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that morning that only 96,000 jobs were created, after 120,000 jobs were expected. The BLS also revised June and July numbers downward. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent, which might sound good until you learn that it “came primarily because the labor force participation rate fell to 63.5 percent, its worst level in more than 30 years,” according to CNBC.com. (Video below the jump)
With a fragile economy during a heated election cycle, the news media should be focused on economic data. But when it comes to the growth of the U.S. economy as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), the three broadcasts networks were silent.
ABC, CBS and NBC news programs ignored the falling GDP numbers for six straight months from Jan. 28 to July 26, 2012, according to Nexis transcripts. In 2012, the only coverage on the morning and evenings shows was three stories on Jan. 27, and two more about the “dismal” report on July 27, 2012. But for the six months in between, the network new programs had nothing to say about the economic growth rate even though it was falling.
The left, including the Obama administration and some in the media, are making anti-capitalist attacks on opponent Mitt Romney’s business career the latest tactic. And the gloves are off.
On July 12, Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter went on the offensive charging Romney could be a criminal: “Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony. Or, he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments,” she said according to Politico.
The June jobs report was “very disappointing” for the Obama administration and to people looking for work, according to CNBC’s John Harwood. The 80,000 job gains was 20,000 short of expectations, and the unemployment rate was unchanged.
Moody’s economist Mark Zandi, who has often found a bright side to negative reports, reacted that way again saying there were “silver linings” in the report. But former Office of Management and Budget Director James Nussle strongly disagreed with those claims.
Nanny state Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at it again, trying to pass a ban on large sugary drinks, all with the media’s help of course. CNN’s Alina Cho favored the proposal in her May 31 report during the 10 a.m. hour of “Newsroom.”
“Newsroom” anchor Carol Costello called the Bloomberg proposal to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces at roughly 20,000 establishments “controversial,” but Cho found nothing to criticize. Instead she blatantly promoted the idea with her one-sided story. (Video after the jump)
About 45,000 fewer jobs were added in April than economists expected, and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent due to more than a half million people giving up the job search. CNN Money reacted with the headline “hiring fizzles.”
University of Maryland Economist Peter Morici wrote in response the jobs report, “The economy added 115,000 jobs in April - much less than expected and not enough to keep up with natural population growth. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent because another 522,000 adults quit looking for work and are no longer counted.”
The mainstream media rarely like the very rich, but billionaire Warren Buffett is the exception. The Berkshire Hathaway CEO remains unscathed, even adored by the liberal news media due to his liberal politics.
After all, it was Buffett who called for higher taxes on millionaires and billionaires. His call for increased taxes was unsurprisingly embraced by class-warfare loving Obama administration and bolstered by the media. Obama has campaigned on the Buffett rule which would require that people making more than $1 million a year pay at least 30 percent in taxes (even if their earnings come from investment and are currently taxed at the 15 percent capital gains rate).
Each month before the jobs report is released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hosts and guests of CNBC make predictions about the payroll employment number and unemployment rate.
On April 6, when the March data was released Steve Liesman was the high end predictor, with 290,000, and former Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee was low, with 180,000. But everyone turned out to be wrong, when the BLS report showed gains of only 120,000 jobs. The unemployment rate dropped from 8.3 percent to 8.2 percent.
April 15 will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of RMS Titanic, that giant, gilded, floating city that struck an iceberg and rapidly sank, taking with it more than 1,500 lives.
British historian Simon Schama wrote about that “Voyage of the Damned” for Newsweek’s April 8 edition. The article about “all walks of life” above Titanic is certainly worth the read, especially for those fascinated by the ship, its passengers and that fateful night in the North Atlantic when the unsinkable ship, in fact, sank. But in the final paragraph Schama strangely went out of the way to connect that century-old catastrophe to the 2008 financial crisis.
The science against BPA isn’t very convincing, yet the left-wing onslaught from environmental groups, activist scientists and the media has convinced many consumers that soup cans, soda bottles and plastic storage containers are going to make them sick.
In the case of BPA, perception and reality are far different, but false perceptions can still cost businesses millions -- or put them out of business altogether. The infamous Alar scare cost apple farmers $100 million according to a 1989 Associated Press report. Even growers who weren’t using Alar were devastated. By March 31, 2012, the FDA will announce a decision on the use of BPA in food and beverage packaging.
ABC’s attacks on USDA-approved beef have already put American jobs in jeopardy, and Dan Gainor, the Media Research Center’s VP of Business and Culture, appeared on Fox News Channel’s “Happening Now” on March 28 to discuss the sliming of Beef Products Inc. by the news media.
Rising gas prices used to be big news, but not so these days. Although the national average climbed to $3.56 on Feb. 20, setting a February record after going up nearly a month straight, there was far less coverage than in 2008. Broadcast networks repeatedly covered the rise under the Bush presidency. Gas prices bounced around eventually reaching $3.56-a-gallon on April 24, 2008.
The Business and Media Institute analyzed broadcast network news references to gas or fuel prices between Jan. 20 and Feb. 20, 2012 and from March 24 and April 24, 2008. BMI found that in the 2008 period there were more than 4 times as many gas prices stories, news briefs or news headlines on ABC, CBS and NBC as there were in 2012 (97 to 21).
In November 2011 it became public knowledge that the Chevy Volt could possibly catch fire weeks after a serious accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened its investigation into the matter on Nov. 25. Now General Motors is trying to recall all of the Volts for "enhancements," all while attempting to avoid the word recall. ABC and NBC are also avoiding that recent development.
On Jan. 5 Associated Press reported that GM "will ask Volt owners to return the cars to dealers for structural modifications." NPR reported that "GM is fixing the cars under a customer service campaign. That's kind of like a recall, but it comes without the bad publicity or the federal scrutiny of a safety recall."
Each year the Business & Media Institute looks back on the year's news and selects the top 10 worst economic myths. This year the media's myths were wide-ranging: from conspiracy theories about economic sabotage, to overpopulation panic and Occupy Wall Street's mantra "We are the 99 percent."
Here is our 2011 list: