A post-Black Friday weekend dispatch at the Associated Press on November 26 reported that "The holiday shopping season got off to a strong start on Black Friday, with retail sales up 7 percent over last year, according to one survey. Now stores just have to keep buyers coming back without the promise of door-buster savings."
It turns out that the originally reported number was far too rosy. Nevertheless, in both late Sunday and early Monday reports, AP retail writers Mae Anderson and Anne D'Innocenzio treated the actual result, which came in 60 percent lower, as "strong." Each report contained the following paragraph (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In a generally even-handed report on yesterday's drop in consumer confidence as reported by the Conference Board (from a revised 68.7 to 64.9, vs. expectations of a rise to 69.6, according to Bloomberg), the Associated Press's Mae Anderson, with assistance from Christopher Rugaber, engaged in a bit of excuse-making in and downplaying in their later paragraphs.
The AP pegged its water-down to a strong upward move in the yesterday's stock trading, pretending that investors didn't take the confidence report seriously. That's odd, because other press reports attributed those gains to "rising optimism about Greece's prospects to remain in the euro zone, which offset a disappointing reading on U.S. consumer confidence." In other words, the report was considered, but the news out of Greece was better. The relevant later paragraphs from AP's report, one relatively early, and the rest appearing much later, are after the jump (bold is mine):
Warning: The following cop-out explanation by Associated Press Retail Writer Mae Anderson will make many readers' heads hurt. Knowledge that she found an economist willing to support it may cause migraines.