Perhaps it's the pied piper effect, but when Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama speaks, the media follow right along in lockstep.
The word "disaster" can invoke images of the aftermath of hurricanes, tornados or tsunamis. But, on the campaign trail where there are political points to be scored - it's one quarter of a slight economic contraction followed up by two quarters of shallow economic growth, according to Obama.
At an August 19 town hall meeting in Albuquerque, N.M., Obama said an "economic disaster is happening right now." The media ignored the exaggeration. Instead, journalists across the board credited Obama with "sharpening his message."
"Then he started running ads saying oh, Obama's just going to raise your taxes and he'll lead to an economic disaster," Obama told his campaign audience. "Mr. McCain, let me explain to you, the economic disaster is happening right now. Maybe you haven't noticed."
Compare that to the economic reality. Although the economy, which has yet to enter into a technical recession, leaves much to be desired ,there are encouraging numbers for the economy as well, as CNBC's "Kudlow & Company host Larry Kudlow pointed out on National Review Online.
"If the economy is in recession, why are business durable-goods orders and shipments booming?" Kudlow wrote. "Non-defense capital goods (capex) excluding aircraft rose 1.4 percent in June, or 19 percent at an annual rate over the last three months. Capex shipments rose 0.7 percent in June, or 8 percent annualized over the last three months. Business looks pretty healthy to me."
But rather than dissecting Obama's claim of "economic disaster," the senator from Illinois was noted for "sharpening" his attack - a buzz word used on the TV media, in addition to other outlets.
"Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., continued his sharper attacks on Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., today at Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque, NM," ABC News senior national correspondent wrote in a August 18 piece about Obama's remark.
Time magazine's Karen Tumulty had a similar reaction to Obama's economic pronouncement.
"Barack Obama seems to have gotten the message about his message. In the past few days, amid growing concerns among Democratic allies, Obama has begun campaigning in a different gear, one that is more aggressive in attacking John McCain and more focused on the economic concerns of struggling Americans," Tumulty wrote for Time.com on August 19, in an article headlined "Obama Sharpens the Message."