Here is the front page headline from CNN.com:
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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."
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.