Press reaction – that Mideast imports are no big deal – is inconsistent with earlier assertions that oil is the reason for Iraq war.  Free Market Project

MSNBC isn’t the only network mentioning the I-word. Fox News Analyst and Cavuto on Business regular Gregg Hymowitz recently raised the specter of impeaching President Bush. On the February 4th edition of his show, Neil Cavuto opened a roundtable business discussion.

According to a large story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on January 26th, income inequality is widening. Wrote David Westphal, "income inequality is likely to deepen beyond its growth of the 1980s and 1990s, when incomes of affluent Americans grew more than three times faster than those of the low-income."

"Inequality is growing in all parts of the country," said Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday that the unemployment rate for January fell by 0.2 percent from December, down to 4.7 percent, the lowest level since July of 2001. But viewers of ABC’s World News Tonight and CBS Evening News on Friday night heard nothing about it, though ABC had time for another full story on the “cartoon outrage” by Muslims and a full piece on an Institute for Highway Safety study on how design changes in SUVs have reduced deaths in smaller vehicles they hit. CBS managed to find time for how, as relayed by anchor Bob Schieffer, when asked about President Bush’s contention that “the Constitution gives him the authority to eavesdrop without a court order on U.S. citizens suspected of having ties to the terrorists”and that “his predecessors have used that same authority,” Bill Clinton “told CBS Radio that as far as he knows, all wiretapping done by his administration was done with the authority of court orders." Before getting to some downbeat stock numbers, NBC anchor Brian William at least devoted twenty seconds to how “job creation was solid last month” as the “unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percent to 4.7, the lowest it's been since July 2001.” (Brief transcripts follow.)

There is seemingly no business-news lemonade that The Associated Press won't try to spin into lemons.

A day after passing off reductions in the rate of growth for entitlement spending as "cuts" which will "pinch the elderly," The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman bemoans tax cuts which will "cost" the government $70 billion:

One day after Congress gave final approval to a contentious measure to reduce the deficit by nearly $40 bill

Tim Graham has already addressed this comment today in his post on comparisons of Bush and Herbert Hoover. I would like to address the point Tom Shales made in his Washington Post column today, A Speech Both Stately And Stolid, and provide a bit more historical basis for the use of this comparison - to Hoover. Shales stated in his opening line:

It turns out that media coverage of the nation’s economic growth can vary a lot depending on how strong or weak the economy is doing. Strong numbers are downplayed or undermined and weak numbers like the fourth-quarter results are highlighted in some of the major media.

The Commerce Department released the fourth-quarter Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”) January 27, and the 1.1 percent growth was well below the 2.8 percent analysts had predicted. Though the stock market rose by 98 points and the dollar rallied strongly against most other currencies, much of the news was strongly negative. Articles over the weekend had phrases like “The economy slowed to a near crawl in the final quarter of 2005, a listless showing that was the worst in three years,” and “Those numbers suggested that the economy is slowing – and an end is in sight to free spending.”

One of the most bearish reports came from that evening’s “NBC Nightly News.” Reporter Anne Thompson began her segment in a similar vein:

Tonight President Bush will deliver his annual State of the Union Address, and Harry Smith of the "Early Show" previewed the speech this morning. Smith interviewed Dan Bartlett, Counselor to the President in the 7:00 half hour and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) in the 7:30 half hour. There were stark differences in the tone Smith took with each of his guests, and in the amount of time allotted to each.

This past Sunday on Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, viewers were treated to an interview of former President Jimmy Carter conducted by reporter Rita Braver. Most of the subject matter that was covered was fluff, what President Carter does to keep himself busy, trips he’s taken, elections he’s overseen and so forth.

With all the speculation about Katie Couric moving to the CBS Evening News anchor desk, a guy like me whose shtick is to cover her antics at the Today show could be concerned about his blogging future.

Not to worry. Flipping over to Good Morning America today reassured me: there is an apparently inexhaustible supply of liberal media bias and the talking heads to spout it.

In her report yesterday on existing home sales, Reuters reporter Kristin Roberts chose to emphasize a one-month decline in December and negative anecdotal information from the Midwest, while failing to give her readers favorable big-picture data that had been handed to her on a silver platter.