Earlier this month, former senator and John McCain economic advisor Phil Gramm was widely excoriated for his remarks about America being a "nation of whiners," discouraged by negative media reports fueling fears of recession.
As my colleague Nathan Burchfiel noted, the context of Gramm's remarks were the media's role in accentuating the negative in economic news and hence ginning up the public's economic fears and complaints.
Of course, the media has done little to prove Gramm wrong. Take, for instance MSNBC.com's "My Miserable Summer" series, which, among other things, takes tales of woe from readers and publishes them on the Web site (h/t NewsBusters tipster Jeff Williams).
The July 23 article by travel writer Harriet Baskas opened with the typical laments:
Well, gang, we've made it to the mid-point of the summer travel season. For folks who already scaled back or canceled vacation plans due to rising gas prices, airline fare hikes or the deeply dipping dollar, it's already a miserable summer.
I've been there and it stinks.
Baskas then turned somewhat positive, giving tips to redeem one's summer vacation, but the fact remains that the notion of salvaging a "miserable summer" leaves with the reader the impression that things economically are, well, miserable, a hardly objective assessment of the economy.
Photo illustration above for MSNBC.com "My Miserable Summer" series.