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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CNN Shamelessly Misleads On Economic Report

Last Friday, the Commerce Department released a report claiming the economy grew at a dismal 2.0% annualized rate. By most economists' standards, an economy whose output exceeds last year's output by 2.0% is not growing quickly or strongly by any stretch of the imagination. But that didn't stop CNN from claiming it was a different story. See the article here:

Here is the front page headline from

Click Image for Expanded View

I don't want to get into a debate about semantics here, but this headline is clearly misleading. To a casual reader, it's safe to surmise that they would walk away with the feeling that the economy is growing well (that's what the term "steam" typically means when referencing the economy). While a 2.0% growth number IS growing (I'm not disputing that), it certainly does not line up with the concept that the economy is picking up "steam." Even if you argue, "well since it IS growing... can't you say that yes, it is picking up steam?" Maybe, but when you read the article itself, that's not the message CNN conveys:

     - "Growth around 2% a year is in line with the pace of the sluggish recovery, and is hardly enough to lead to robust hiring.

It's a ho-hum number given the environment we're in," said Sam Bullard, senior economist at Wells Fargo. "We're looking ahead to fiscal cliff, and holiday sales forecasts this year are lower than last year. We're limping into the final quarter this year."

The article even goes on to state that it would require an economic growth rate of 3% to bring the unemployment rate down by one percentage point. This means that the economy would need to grow at a rate that is 50% quicker/stronger than it currently is just to bring down the unemployment rate by anything measurable. In my opinion, that is hardly picking up steam at all. When you also consider that most of the time, over the past few quarters, the GDP growth rate has been revised downward, the headline CNN published does not match the story even closely. 

So what do we have? We have a "ho-hum," "sluggish" recovery that's numbers are more than likely going to be revised downward, and CNN publishes an article with the headline claiming the economy is picking up "steam."

Get real. 

I'm not sure what CNN's intent was. Maybe they're in Obama's pocket, like most of the media is, and they're using their influence to paint a nice in order to sway people to vote for Obama. Maybe not. Who knows? But I do know one thing: journalistic standards of non-subjective reporting is dying a slow, non-steamy, death. 

What do you think? Please share your thoughts below. 


  1. I think the optimistic headline has more to do with the economy growth being higher than what was forecasted.

    I actually came across that same article a couple of days ago, and had similar feelings to you in that 2% wasn't exactly great news. But relative to the 1.7% that was predicted (and the previous quarter at 1.3%), it is certainly good to exceed that.

    Though, again, I agree that this certainly isn't well-described by a 'picking up steam' headline.

  2. Why don't you assholes give it up ?

    You try to blame everything on Obama and pretend that bush has no part in our problems.

    It was a snowball out of controll and he has done a damn good job of slowing it down and pushing it back.

    You people really think that slime ball crook Romney is better ??!

    Bullshit mountain !

  3. Tell me what journalism YOU respect .....Fox ?!! HAAAA !

    Rush limbaugh ? Gimme a break

  4. Ah yes... More respectful responses from the party of civility, tolerance, love, and peace, huh?

    I just love when we get these kind of insult-laden responses. It truly emboldens our resolve. We promote civil, fact based debate between both sides so that we all can learn something, compromise, and move forward. What does your hate-toned rhetoric provide? Nothing but more division, and a sense that the person who makes such comments is immature, uneducated, and perhaps, just a little over-angry.

    Please, for your own health, take a deep breath. Though you didn't show it here, I'll actually pay you the respect and answer this factless set of comments:

    - "Why don't you assholes give up?" LOL why? Do you know what we're trying to "accomplish?" What would we be giving up, the will and the ability to meet and speak freely?

    - "You try to blame everything..." - Some people blame things on Bush, some don't. While I personally don't think he was a perfect president, I do think he did a fine job, and he has been given a bad rap because of the disgusting power of the liberal media. When challenging the "Bush sucks" crowd, usually I'm met with hollow talking points that lack facts and understanding instead of truth and thought based arguments. As far as Obama, not many blame him for the economy, but most blame him for not fixing it in the time he said he would. What do you not understand about this? Blaming Bush does NOTHING. We are 4 years past it. Obama has been in office for nearly half the time as Bush, so blaming GWB is really, really sad. When someone comes in and says "I will fix this... the deficit will be cut in half, unemployment will be here, and I will unite people" and he hasn't, yes, I hate to tell you, but in most people's standards, that's failure.

    - "It was a snowball out of control..." Maybe... and some of it has slowed. Was it Obama's doing? Maybe... maybe not. I do know that Obama has spent a LOT now and mortgaged off the future to get these results. "Was it worth it" is a question that remains to be answered.

    - "Slime ball crook Romney" - LOL, I beg you to back this up with some facts. I could use a good laugh. I'd love to see you come up with proof that isn't simply glassed-over, mindless, parroted repeats of false, hollow, liberal attacks.

    - "Bullshit mountain" - Um, where? Let's see you be an adult and back this claim up with some evidence. Show an example of something in this blog that is false or "bullshit" as you maturely put.

    - As far as journalism I respect. Well, that's a matter of opinion, but for me personally... none of them. Good try on the "stop watching Fox News and Rush Limbaugh" attack. I think I've seen that in the "how to debate as a liberal" playbook, and it's usually used when you have absolutely no facts or position to debate with. It's getting old, and it's soooooooooooo overplayed.

    FACT: I couldn't even tell you if we have Rush Limbaugh on our radio stations here, and I've never listened to a full minute of his show. Good try.

    In closing, try to calm down. Try to get some facts behind what you say. Try to prove a point by backing your opinion with the evidence behind it. Most importantly, grow up, and learn to treat people with respect and civility. As far as quitting, HA! Not a chance. That's the last thing that's going to happen. Good day.

    - Mike (LME)

  5. LME has a point here. Look at today's puff piece by CNN:

    As the millions of people who can't find a job at all what they think about this.

    1. Not sure I understand your tie-in here, MN? I don’t see that as a puff piece as much as it’s simply stating a fact of the economic recovery thus far. Not a single line in that article even implies that things are great or ideal, it just goes into statistical detail of what job sectors have seen growth and what salaries people in those fields average… and concludes from this that low-wage jobs are not the *only* types of jobs created over the past few years.

      Which is a more than fair argument to make, as the statistics essentially say about half of the jobs created average salaries from $25-43/hour.

      I don’t really think that can be argued against either. I mean, how ridiculous would it be to say that not a single person in the past few years has been hired making more than min wage? That’s pretty much the claim that this article is arguing against.

      In that sense it’s almost a ‘strawman-esque’ article as I don’t think any serious person would attempt to factually argue that ONLY low-wage jobs have been created (though, I still have heard it). But a numerical breakdown of the reality of the situation doesn’t make it anywhere close to a real ‘puff piece’ in my view.