A Ho-Hum Christmas Already?

Christmas is still nearly seven weeks away, and already the media are offering a “Bah, Humbug” for retail sales and the U.S. economy.

CNN shoveled coal at the positive economic news on November 2 and immediately moved into full Grinch mode.

“You know, just earlier this week the broadest measure of the economy, Kyra, the GDP, came in at 3.9 percent, stronger than expected. What’s working against it, though, the financials, concerns that we’re going to have a lot more carnage coming from that very important sector, consumer spending …” said “Newsroom” correspondent Susan Lisovicz.

On September 24 of this year, Alexis Christoforous of “CBS Morning News” warned, “It could be a blue Christmas for many of the nation’s retailers.”

See YouTube video after the jump.

The National Retail Federation is forecasting 4 percent growth in holiday sales this year compared to last year's 4.3 percent growth. NRF has stated that spending will be "a bit retrained" this year, but restrained still means shoppers will likely spend about $19 billion more this year than last year.

The housing "crisis," "credit crunch" and high oil and gas have all been cited by worried reporters claiming that if consumer spending slows, economic calamity will follow.

But negative stories about holiday spending are not new to the media, in fact they were a theme in 2006 and 2005 too.

This week Business & Media Institute took a look back at previous Christmas retail reporting and presented the views of economists who argue slower spending will not cause a recession. You can read more here. If you want to know more about what's wrong with business and economic reporting be sure to sign up for BMI's weekly newsletter: The Balance Sheet.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.