AP Joins Bloomberg in Predictable Purge of 'Unexpectedly' in Consumer Confidence Report

One might be an accident. Two indicates a bit of a trend.

Yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that an early dispatch from Bloomberg on a disappointing consumer confidence report opened by telling readers that "Consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in June to a seven-month low ..." A later version purged the dreaded U-word ("unexpectedly"), opening with "Consumer confidence dropped to a seven-month low in June ..."

It seems that hypersensitivity about use of the U-word -- which during the Obama administration has come to mean "unexpectedly bad" far more often than not -- is also present at the Associated Press. Recently, it seems that the AP has generally avoided the problem by ignoring analysts' predictions when reality reveals that they were far too optimistic. Yesterday, in a more obvious revelation of the wire service's mindset, a pair of Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio's consumer confidence dispatches repeated the U-word purge seen at Bloomberg. What follows are graphic grabs of the early sections of both reports and a related subsequent paragraph within each.

First, here's the mid-morning version, which contained the U-word as well as a specific description of the shortfall:

APonConsumerConf062811at1014am

Now let's look at the late afternoon version of D'Innocenzio's report found at the AP's home site. Note that it purged the U-word and got vague about the expectations gap:

APonConsumerConf062811at555pm

The version of the AP item posted at the Boston Globe at about 11 p.m. last night watered down the headline to "Consumers’ confidence drops again." Of course, the U-word is absent.

Here are two more words that "somehow" never made it into any of the AP reports cited above: "Obama" and "administration." It would appear that the last thing the wire service wants to do is give readers, listeners, and viewers even the slightest hint that Obama administration policy has anything to do with why reported results continue to come out "unexpectedly" bad.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.