By contorting Chairman Bernanke's words, and creating a distorted picture of the American economy, the mainstream media once again failed to serve the interests of the American people.  Mainstream Media Gleefully Celebrate Nonexistent "Recession" 

Liberal Commentators Commence Undeniable, Brazen Effort to Depress Americans and Cheerlead Electoral Change 

In a poorly-concealed effort to facilitate electoral change, irresponsible mainstream media voices cannot contain themselves in prematurely celebrating a non-existent recession.  In the first two weeks of 2008 alone, the broadcast media referenced an economic recession some 54 times, according to the Business and Media Institute. 

There's only one problem:  we are not in a recession, and it's far from certain that we will be anytime soon. 

First, a definition of "recession" is in order, because its actual meaning is unclear to most Americans.  The United States Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis defines "recession" as two or more consecutive quarters of decline in gross domestic product (GDP).  In contrast, our economy grows when it produces more goods and services than it did during the preceding quarter. 

For its part, "GDP" is simply the total value of all final goods and services produced in our economy in a given year, as measured by the market. 

With this in mind, let's take a simple, straightforward look at the facts. 

In the third quarter of 2007, the most recent quarter for which Commerce Department GDP estimates are available, the American economy expanded at a remarkable 4.9% clip.  Even more remarkably, this estimate constituted an upward revision from the Department's initial 3.9% estimate. 

By way of perspective, economic experts generally hold that the economy's long-term potential growth rate is approximately 3.0%. 

More remarkable still, this 4.9% GDP expansion was the fastest pace in some four years.  Indeed, the American economy hasn't even seen a decline in GDP since the third quarter of 2001.  In other words, it is absurd to assert that we are somehow in a recession, given the fact that America has enjoyed six years of uninterrupted GDP growth. 

Beyond straightforward GDP numbers, however, other benchmark measures also reveal a fundamentally strong economy, contrary to the hysterical media chorus. 

For instance, the nation's employment situation is the most concrete manner in which the economy affects most Americans.  And this week, the Department of Labor announced that first-time claims for unemployment declined yet again to 301,000, reaching a four-week low.  This was a decrease from the previous week's 302,000 estimate, and the four-week moving average, which provides a longer-term snapshot, also decreased this week from 329,000 to 315,000. 

By way of perspective, weekly unemployment claims below 400,000 generally indicate a stable employment climate, and claims below 350,000 indicate a growing employment pool.  This is simply because job turnover is a natural byproduct of our capitalist economy, and some portion of the workforce is constantly changing jobs and filing unemployment claims. 

Believe it or not, this week's unemployment numbers are even down substantially from one year ago this week, when 328,000 initial unemployment claims were filed, and from this past November, when some 352,000 claims were filed. 

For all of 2007, according to the Department of Labor, payroll employment rose by 1.3 million, following 2.3 million in 2006.  Although the 2007 employment increase is lower than that of 2006, it is obviously a healthy, sustained increase. 

Thus, the employment picture also illustrates the fundamental soundness of the economy, despite media histrionics to the contrary.  Inflation and interest rates also remain tame by historical standards, particularly relative to the double-digit numbers seen during the Carter Administration. 

But don't try telling this to the utterly irresponsible mainstream media.  As they do everything within their power to see a liberal back in the White House, they can scarcely conceal their glee in trumpeting talk of a recession. 

Brian Williams, for example, proclaimed on the January 17 episode of "The NBC Nightly News" that "there is no shortage of evidence showing a U.S. economy either already in recession or heading there."  And despite the fact that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke explicitly stated that the Fed is "not forecasting a recession," CBS's Bianca Solorzano prevaricated on the "Early Show" that "Bernanke confirmed recession fears." 

These comments constitute the tip of the iceberg.  By contorting Chairman Bernanke's words, and creating a distorted picture of the American economy, the mainstream media once again failed to serve the interests of the American people.  Just as they have removed Iraq from the headlines as the situation there has steadily improved, leading media voices are mischaracterizing the news in pursuit of their own agenda, whether acknowledged or not. 

Is it too much to ask that the mainstream media at least accord their pronouncements with simple facts?  We're not holding our breath. 

January 24, 2008
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