AP's Pace, Covering Krueger Nomination: Obama Struggles With 'Perceptions the Economy Is Stuck in Low Gear'

Maybe AP stands for "Alternative Planet."

In an early version of Julie Pace's coverage of President Obama's selection of Alan Krueger to be the next head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the following paragraph appeared (bolds are mine):

The decision completes a wholesale shake-up of the team that Obama brought with him to the White House over three years ago. Advisers Larry Summers, Christina Romer and Goolsbee have now all departed, and Obama continues to struggle with perceptions the economy is stuck in low gear on his watch.

Two obvious points:

  1. Obama has been President for just over 31 months, which is over five months short of "over three years ago." It has been about a week short of 34 months since he won the presidential election and started acting like he was already president during his transition. It only feels like it's been over three years, Julie -- wayyyyy over three years, as the Obama administration's policies have set industries like housing back by decades.
  2. In Pace's Place on Planet AP, Obama's problem isn't that the economy is sputtering; it's just the perception that it is. The economy's average annualized growth this year of less than 1% is some kind of mirage.

Actually, there's a name for the planet on which Pace and a large and influential portion of the wire service which employs her reside: Planet DC. In that never-never land, Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is at +11. Meanwhile, each of the 50 states has a confidence index of -13 or lower. Additionally, as noted by Catherine Rampell at the New York Times:

In every state, a majority of residents think the economy is getting worse. In the nation’s capital, however, a full 60 percent of people think the economy is getting better.

This may be good evidence for those arguing that Washington exists in its own disconnected bubble.

Or, in other words, on Planet DC, a land made rich largely on the backs of the 50 states from which it receives its sustenance.

Planet DC has two aspects. Its current condition is one where things are great no matter what the silly economic data says. On the other hand, when a Republican or conservative is in the White House, as was the case during the eight years before President Obama took office, I don't recall the press ever claiming that George W. Bush's economy was facing "perception" problems. In fact, Planet DC's media residents worked tirelessly to create negative and largely false economic perceptions during those years.

Pace's early errors are in the process of being washed clean and flushed down the media memory hole in the AP's updates. A Google web search on the second bolded segment above (in quotes) returned 68 items without duplicates at about 1:30 p.m. But clicking on many and perhaps most of the results returned (examples here and here) brings one to an updated version of Pace's story without the timing error and "perception" howler. A Google News search on the same string returns only one item at NPR.com which as of 1:40 p.m. hadn't been revised.

You see, in addition to having no accountability for differentially reporting on the economic performance of presidents regardless of the underlying economic reality (Republicans/conservatives - "weak," "trying to avoid a recession"; Democrats - "booming," -- or if not, "struggling with perceptions"), being on Planet AP means almost never having to say you're sorry.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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