NewsBusters and affiliate The Business & Media Institute have been reporting for many months the continuous, bearish assessments of economic gloom and doom by America's press.
Of course, this all comes despite 24 straight quarters of Gross Domestic Product growth, 50 consecutive months of job gains, higher wages for virtually all Americans, and last month's consumer spending explosion.
Ignoring all this Sunday morning were panelists on "The Chris Matthews Show" who demonstrated such a deplorable lack of economic acumen that maybe they shouldn't be allowed to comment on such matters when cameras and microphones are on.
Host Matthews set this segment up:
So which of these will history remember as the biggest event for Americans in 2007? Will it be the surge, and the progress it's made on the ground over there in Iraq? What about the threat of war with Iran being greatly deflated by that National Intelligence Estimate? Or will it be the big dive in the U.S. economy, especially the credit crisis? Or, will it be something else?
Big dive in the U.S. economy? Honestly, Chris, what the heck are you talking about?
Isn't a big dive in an economy normally coincident with negative GDP growth and rising unemployment? Did that happen in 2007, and we all missed it somehow?
The answer to that question appeared to be "Yes" for most of Matthews' guests:
KATTY KAY, BBC: Well, I know this is about America's year, but as a foreigner, living in America who's paid in dollars, but wants to travel to Europe, guys, please can we get the dollar back up again? It's killing us. It's got to be the economy.
Mrs. Kay, do you think that weak dollar is killing all of America's companies that rely so heavily on exports for their sales? And how many more Americans are working today because of this currency translation that U.S. multinationals so benefit from? Or is that too technical for you to grasp?
Regardless of the answer, former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather was equally limited in his economic knowledge:
I agree. What's been touched off by this sub-prime crisis it's called, and by the way, we've only seen the proverbial top of the iceberg. There's a lot more to come there.
Really, Dan? Is that what your economic expertise is telling you? Could you tell the class what percentage of currently outstanding mortgages are sub-prime? Do you even know what sub-prime means?
Equally inept, MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell also had coal for viewers:
The economy is a very, very big deal, not only because most people's equity is in their home, also the stock market, and because of these economic woes, it is also adding fuel to this anti-immigration feeling that is out there in this country.
What? The stock market is actually up for the year, Norah. Hadn't you noticed? And please explain how the value of people's homes declining a bit adds fuel to this anti-immigration feeling in the country?
Por favor? Bonito por favor? With azúcar on top?
Sadly, rather than challenge O'Donnell, Matthews concurred:
Bad times are bad times for people, too. Right.
What? Bad times? I guess these economic dunces missed Friday's Commerce Department announcement concerning November's consumer spending explosion as reported by Bloomberg (emphasis added):
Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in November by the most in more than two years as incomes grew and shoppers took advantage of early holiday discounts.
A bigger-than-forecast 1.1 percent increase in purchases followed a revised 0.4 percent gain in October that was more than previously estimated, the Commerce Department said today in Washington.
More jobs and higher salaries may avert a collapse in spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy, as home values fall and fuel costs rise. The jump in sales last month reduces the odds the economy will contract this quarter, even as retail surveys suggest shopping has cooled in December, economists said.
As such, folks outside of newsrooms don't see the "bad times" Matthews and his economically-challenged guests talked about Sunday.
Frankly, the idea that these people can say anything they want about such things with nobody challenging them should offend citizens across the fruited plain.
Maybe more important, the fact that these supposed journalists believe a non-existent economic downturn is a bigger event to most Americans in 2007 than conditions in Iraq improving for our soldiers there coincident with declining military casualties demonstrates just how separated from reality press members are.
If this is the kind of economic reporting we should expect in the upcoming election year, Democrat candidates will be getting Christmas presents day after day after day.
How sad for those that will lose their jobs as a result of the recession that likely will only come as a media driven self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, left-leaning press members will conveniently recall their Machiavelli to assuage any guilt they might feel, assuming they have a conscience that is.