CNNMoney, AP Downplay Good Durable Goods Number
Where did the story about the "durable" goods report go?
Y'know, the one that I found out about in this CNNMoney e-mail this morning....
Even with a search warrant, the word "durable" could not be found once the reader got past the CNNMoney index page earlier today (middle story, middle column in the graphic that follows):
In the "Highlights" from this morning's Census Bureau announcement, the underlying news source, the word "durable" appears seven times.
But "the AP report" referred to in the e-mail, as CNNMoney carried it, did not contain the word "durable" once, either in its headline or its content.
Here are the first few paragraphs from that CNNMoney story:
Factory orders strongest in five months
Commerce Department says big-ticket orders jumped 5.2% in December, well above forecasts.
Orders to factories for big-ticket manufactured goods soared in December by the largest amount in five months, welcome news for an economy buffeted by talk of recession.
The 5.2 percent increase in orders was a surprise finish for the manufacturing sector at year's end -- a segment of the economy considered to have had a poor year.
The increase in orders, as reported Tuesday by the Commerce Department, was far larger than had been expected. The strength came from a big increase in demand for commercial aircraft, but even excluding the transportation sector, orders posted a solid 2.6 percent gain.
The December orders increase was more than double what had been expected.
This, by the way, is very good news for the economy, indicating that the weakness shown in manufacturing in December's Institute for Supply Management report might be a very short-lived.
But getting back to this "durable" thing -- A visit to the full-length AP story by Martin "Talk of Recession" Crutsinger reveals that he at least put the word "durable" into the final paragraph, while whoever wrote AP's headline had the sense to use the correct descriptive word ("Durable Goods Orders Rise by 5.2 Percent"). CNN edited out Crutsinger's final few paragraphs, changed the headline to refer uninformatively to "Factory Orders," and eliminated the word "durable" in the process.
Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Perhaps. But it seems that first Crutsinger, and especially CNN, were trying very hard to avoid using the word that actually describes the underlying report. Why?
The fact also remains that if CNN, and to a lesser extent the AP and Crutsinger, had set out to make it difficult to find their stories, they could hardly have done a better job. A search done on "durable goods," with or without quotes, probably won't pull up the full AP report in its primary results (other stories using the word "durable" more often will come in ahead of it), and almost definitely won't list what CNN posted at all.
So these "durable dodges" are either examples of sloppiness that at the same time hurt CNN and AP (because of fewer page hits), or "clever" hiding (conscious or subconscious) of pretty good economic news. You make the call.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.