Networks Paint Bush Economy as Bleak No Matter What the Facts Really Say

August 18th, 2005 12:06 PM
The economy is doing well -- the federal deficit is shrinking, unemployment has fallen to 5.0%, and America has enjoyed more than two straight years of job growth and 3.5 million new jobs. That hasn't stopped the media from describing the economy as “dicey,” “volatile” and “slow.” The Media Research Center's Free Market Project analyzed all of the broadcast network's economic stories since the start of President Bush's second term, and we found that a big majority (62%) cast the economy in negative terms.

Even when good news made it to viewers, journalists undermined it with bad news 45 percent of the time. For example, on World News Tonight back on March 4, Dean Reynolds presented an upbeat report about strong job growth, but stuck a knife in at the end: "While job growth is up, wage growth is not. And the question now is how long consumers will keep spending and fueling the economy without a raise in pay.”

If Reynolds had looked at the February Employment Situation from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, he might have seen that wages had actually held steady in the previous month. Had he looked even closer, he would have seen that over the year, hourly earnings had grown by 2.5 percent and weekly earnings by 2.2 percent. To say that wages weren’t growing was misleading to the audience.

For more details, you can either check out the full study posted on the Free Market Project Web site, or sign up for FMP’s new (free) weekly e-mail.