2 of 3 Networks Cover ‘Good’ Jobs News; All 3 Silent about Collapsing GDP

Once again the broadcast networks showed that when it comes to economic news, they pick news that makes Obama look good.

ABC World News and CBS Evening News both reported the “good news for the economy” on Aug. 5, that 255,000 jobs were added in the month of July. NBC did not. That same day, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced those increases to payroll employment and the unchanged 4.9 percent unemployment rate.

Both shows highlighted those gains in their evening broadcasts, but one week earlier those shows as well as NBC Nightly News all ignored major negative news about the U.S. economy. The economy is the No. 1 issue for voters according to Pew Research Center and GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump addressed the economy in his Aug. 8, speech at the Detroit Economic Club.

On July 29, the Commerce Department announced that the economy (GDP) grew at a distressing 1.2 percent annual rate in the second quarter. The Wall Street Journal called it “disappointing” news and reported that “the figure was well below the 2.5% growth economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast.” First quarter growth was revised down to 0.8 percent.

That economic weakness made the front page of The Wall Street Journal weekend, but not a single evening show on the three networks July 29-31.

The evening shows have a habit of glossing over economic indicators showing continued weakness for the U.S. economy. Between Jan. 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, 91 percent of economic news stories or briefs ignored six key indicators including GDP, labor force participation, hourly wages, median household income, poverty rates and the number of people on food stamps.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.