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June 16, 2004

CNN's Bill Schneider: The Country Doesn't Know the Economy Is Surging Because the Media Aren't Reporting It

This is really more of an update to a previous post, but it's such a huge admission I'm giving it its own new post.

Earlier I linked this Rush Limbaugh bit, in which he plays a Bill Schneider report and then comments on it. I read the first few lines, dug it, posted it.

And then I stopped reading it. Because, for one, I'm not really the world's biggest Rush fan (tuned out after Power Windows, doncha know), and for another, I figured I knew what the rest of the article said. The economy's doing better than people think. End of story.

Actually, Bill Schneider had more to add. A lot more.

Here's the relevant report from Schneider, and then a bit of by-play with Judy Woodruff.

SCHNEIDER: Here's a little secret. The nation's economy is actually doing very well.

At this rate, the administration's projection of 2.6 million new jobs this year, a figure that was widely ridiculed a few months ago, now looks too low. Are happy times here again? Not if you ask the people who matter. The voters.

35% say the country's economy is in good shape. President Bush's job approval on the economy is still low. It hasn't budged in months. Don't people believe the good economic statistics? No, they don't. Right now, when you ask people about the economy, they may not be thinking about growth rates and jobs created. They may be thinking about gas prices and health care costs, the bad news.

[End of report; now comes the Q and A:]

SCHNEIDER: Here's another reason why the good economic news may not be having much impact. It's not being reported.

Media Tenor, an independent media analysis institute, reveals that news coverage of President Bush's economic policy has practically vanished from the major broadcast networks since the beginning of the year. It's all been Iraq. The improving economy is a secret.

WOODRUFF: But we're talking about it here.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, we are.

WOODRFUFF: Okay. Bill Schneider.

"But we're talking about it here," meaning, "Well, we mentioned it once, so we're covered."

Schneider seems to imply that it's because there's news coming out of Iraq that the economic news is being kept a secret.

Here's the problem with that:

There was lots of news coming out of Iraq when the economy was doing poorly, and yet the media managed to find the time to inform us of our economic misery.

Suddenly, the economy is growing like gangbusters, and aw shucks, wouldn't you know it, it turns out the media just plum doesn't have enough minutes in its newscast to devote to the subject.

Remember: When we captured Saddam Hussein -- rather big news, if I remember correctly -- they still managed to squeeeeeze in the news that the economy wasn't growing new jobs. They even were able to point out that capturing Saddam wouldn't create any new jobs.

And now that we're creating lots of jobs? They just want to talk about other things.

Now, I'm not conspiratorially minded or anything. But geeze, I can't help but noticing the media's idea of an important story that must be covered is always whatever story hurts Bush. When the economy hurts Bush, report it; when it helps Bush, hush up.

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posted by Ace at 08:41 PM

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