Incoming NBC Today show co-host Meredith Vieira, on Friday's ABC daytime show The View, showcased her susceptibility to baseless media hype and her own economic ignorance.


A stunning announcement was made by the Treasury Department Wednesday. As reported by the Associated Press: “A flood of income tax payments pushed up government receipts to the second-highest level in history in April, giving the country a sizable surplus for the month.”

(Update: At the end of this piece, I predicted this announcement would not be widely reported. Well, though all three broadcast networks addressed the tax cuts agreed upon in the House on their evening programs Wednesday -- with the NBC "Nightly News" and the CBS "Evening News" both doing major segments on the ramifications of the House's decision -- not one of these evening news programs bothered to inform their viewers about April's near-record tax revenues.)

Of course, this quite flies in the face of the regular media carping and whining about the president’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts negatively impacting federal revenues, doesn’t it?

Regardless, the article continued: “In its monthly accounting of the government's books, the Treasury Department said Wednesday that revenue for the month totaled $315.1 billion as Americans filed their tax returns by the April deadline. The gusher of tax revenue pushed total receipts up by 13.4 percent from April 2005.”

And which April in history is actually in first place? If you said April 2000, you’d be wrong:



Maybe the ABC show should change its name to 'Demagogue Morning America'. Earlier this week, Charlie Gibson trotted out windfall-profit taxes and limits on executive compensation as 'solutions' to high gas prices.



In another example of journalists saying whatever they want whenever they want without regard to accuracy, CBS’s Anthony Mason on Wednesday’s “Evening News” declared erroneously that America’s debt declined during the Clinton years (video link to follow). Certainly, this is a myth that has been purported by the media since Clinton left office…but nothing could be further from the truth.

Before we get to the facts of the matter, here’s the context. In an obvious effort to explain why the tax cuts accepted by the House on Wednesday were a terrible thing, the “Evening News” followed its report concerning this issue with a discussion of the federal debt. Anchor Bob Schieffer passed the baton to business correspondent Anthony Mason who began with an interview with the real estate developer that created the national debt clock near Times Square in New York. After discussing the debt with this gentleman, and an economist, Mason stated: “In the Clinton years, when our debt actually began to shrink the clock was turned off and covered up.”

Well, Anthony, the clock may have been covered up during this period, but the gross federal debt never declined during the Clinton years. Not once. According to the debt statistics at the Office of Management and Budget, the national debt



It was reported on this morning’s "Early Show" on CBS that the Dow Jones Industrial average is on the verge of reaching record highs. CBS correspondent Susan McGinnis went so far as to mention that was are "In a three-year bull market that has some experts predicting a new record could come any day." That raises the question, where has the media been the last three years?



NBC’s Today hyped hybrid cars this morning but didn’t give consumers the full skinny on them. At the top of this morning’s Today show Katie Couric promoted an upcoming segment on the popularity of hybrids by way of taking this shot at the President’s poll numbers: "Then another crisis facing this administration, those soaring gas prices.



Among other areas where the media slant coverage in an anti-business direction, the MRC's Business & Media Institute (formerly the Free Market Project) has doggedly tracked the media's biases against "Big Oil" and in favor of Big Government.



On Saturday, The New York Times and the Washington Post had the same idea: line up average Americans to suggest any emerging macroeconomic happy talk is ignoring how "many people" are still feeling an economic pinch.



For months, the media have blamed virtually anything but free market forces for the rise in oil and gas prices. NBC’s Lisa Myers attributed these increases to greed on a recent Nightly News report stating almost disgustedly “Exxon earned 9.5 cents on every dollar of gasoline and oil sold, cashing in at every stage of the process.”

Imagine the nerve of ExxonMobil actually making a profit. Oh the humanity.

A few days earlier, CBS’s Russ Mitchell, clearly concerned about price gouging, asked one of his guests on the Evening News, “How easy is it for a gas station, for an oil company to just jack up the price of gas?"

I bet you can’t guess the response.

Yet, in the midst of all this hysteria, a highly unlikely source – National Public Radio’s Internet website – published an article entitled “Q&A: What’s Behind High Gas Prices?” In it, author Scott Horsley adroitly cut through the hype, and



The worst possible 'solution' to the high cost of gasoline would be price controls, since they would simultaneously discourage production while driving up demand. But running a close second and third in the bad-idea sweepstakes would be a windfall-profits tax on oil companies and a cap on the amount oil companies can pay their executives.



From my latest article at FreeMarketProject.org:

Continuing her “Eye on the Road” series, CBS’s Sharyn Alfonsi showcased a Washington, D.C.-area teacher who she says can’t afford her commute due to rising gas prices.



Anyone with a working TV set knows that the broadcast networks have hyped the high gas price story (“Pain at the Pump”) to ridiculous levels. A new MRC study of the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows found a whopping 183 stories in just three weeks, an avalanche of TV coverage that (helpfully to Democrats planning their midterm election strategy) has buried far more important good economic news, like robust economic growth, low unemployment and a booming stock market.

One device the networks have used to maintain an outraged tone in all of their coverage has been to plant themselves next to gas pumps and find motorists who aren’t embarrassed about whining on camera. The MRC analysts who went through all of the coverage — Geoff Dickens, Brian Boyd, Mike Rule and Scott Whitlock — counted 151 sound bites from gas buyers during the period we studied, April 12 to May 2.