Upside Down Economics
Table of Contents:
- Executive Summary
- Networks Play Blame Game, Beating Up Bush More than Obama
- Bush Record on Jobs Far Better
- Much higher 2012 gas and oil prices, covered 3 times more in ’04
- Could the iPhone Boost The Economy?
- Media Inconsistent on Debt and Deficit
- Methodology and Recommendations
The MRC’s Business and Media Institute examined Nexis transcripts from ABC, NBC and CBS, morning and evening news programs, from Sept. 1-30, 2004 and Sept. 1-30, 2012. The search was for news reports containing any of the terms: “economy,” “recession,” “gas prices,” “consumer confidence,” “GDP,” “gross domestic product,” “employment,” “debt,” or “deficit.”
The Business and Media Institute offers a series of recommendations for the media in an effort to help journalists provide more balanced reporting on the economy, especially during a heated election season. Those recommendations include:
- Don't Spin the Economy: Reporters
should be embarrassed over their glee at the prospect of iPhone sales boosting
GDP, the same month they barely mentioned that economic growth was downgraded from 1.7 percent to 1.3 percent. They should also be ashamed of refusing to talk about sustained high gasoline prices under Obama, after years of predicting $4, $5 and $6 gasoline under Bush. Networks should drop the spin and tell negative stories negatively, and positive ones positively.
- Be Consistent: If 5.4 percent unemployment was bad for Bush, shouldn’t 8.1 percent unemployment have been an even bigger problem facing Obama? Economic data should be treated consistently regardless of who is president. If the number discredits a Republican administration, it should also discredit a Democrat.
Economic Data More Often and Make it Relatable: One of the sad facts about network coverage of
economics is how little there is of it. In both time periods, there was little
GDP, the labor participation rate and consumer confidence. The networks should try harder to talk about these data points, not with a one sentence anchor read, but with an explanation of what those numbers mean or reflect about our nation’s economy.