Friday Follies: Opposite Views of the Same Story on the Economy

First from Reuters, which has not always been very even-handed in reporting economic news, a pretty decent report:

Consumers bright, Midwest business strong in Sept

By Ros Krasny

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. consumer spending slipped in August but falling gasoline prices elevated shoppers' moods by September and Midwest factory activity picked up as well, according to reports on Friday that suggested the economy was still motoring along.

Meanwhile, consumer prices outside food and energy edged up just 0.2 percent in August, although year-on-year price gains hit an 11-year high, offering a mixed reading on inflation.

Poor Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press, on the other hand, must have had a lot of pent-up negativity to get out before the weekend commences, as he took the same data and turned it into what Jim Taranto at Best of the Web described thusly: "If we didn't know better, we'd think we were heading for another Great Depression."

Here's how Crutsinger, who also managed to ignore the good news on Midwest factory activity, led his story (negative and scare words in bold):

Consumers Cut Back Spending in August

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Consumers battered by weak income growth and rising inflation trimmed their spending sharply in August. But analysts said a consumer confidence rebound in September should limit damage to the economy.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that consumer spending edged up just 0.1 percent in August after a much stronger 0.8 percent rise in July.

After removing inflation, spending actually dropped in August, falling by 0.1 percent, the weakest showing since September 2005 when the Gulf Coast was reeling from Hurricane Katrina.

Taranto observed:

All this for a decline of 1/1,000th! One suspects the same news would be reported with a rather less grim tone if a Democrat were in the White House.

Indeed.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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