The media’s pessimistic holiday shopping forecasts fail to register with reality.
Don't miss my latest at the Free Market Project: Contrary to the media’s pessimistic forecasts for the Christmas shopping season reported by the Free Market Project in late October, strong retail sales this Thanksgiving weekend got the annual end-of-the-year buying bonanza off to a bang. In fact, the economic data available prior to this weekend looked so strong that the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, actually raised its sales forecast for 2005 holiday shopping from a 5 percent year-over-year increase to 6 percent.
Regardless of this upgrade in expectations by retailers themselves, and the fabulous start to the shopping season, the media continued to rain on everybody’s parade.
Don't miss my latest writing for the Free Market Project: Media claims about a “housing bubble” are nothing new. Since before the 9/11 terror attacks, the media have been calling the housing market a “bubble” while predicting an imminent, devastating decline. Not only have they been wrong in forecasting such a top, they have thoroughly mischaracterized what an investment bubble is. Now that the market for homes has finally slowed a bit, the media are declaring the bubble has burst.
- A Bubble?: Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has denied the existence of a national housing bubble for several years, but the media have used the term repeatedly.
- Strong Gains: The increase in real estate values the past five years has not resembled the rapid rise typically seen in a bubble. In 2000, the national median existing-home value was $139,000. This grew to $215,900 by the third quarter of 2005 – a 55-percent nominal increase but a 34-percent inflation-adjusted gain.
- Home Sales Still Going Up: New home sales jumped another 13 percent in October. While sales of existing homes were down 2.7 percent from September, the median national price rose to $218,000, a 16.6 percent increase since October 2004.
You've come to Newsbusters because you want to see a concrete example of liberal bias. Who delivers that better than the New York Times?
This is reality. We're 4 years out from the worst attack since Pearl Harbor, post dot-com crash, we've had more hurricanes than any year since some old man first started keeping track, and we just about had a major U.S. city -- an economically important city -- wiped off the face of the planet. The hurricanes took out oil infrastructure at a time when we can ill afford a disruption in supply.
And yet the economy is, quite simply, running hot.
That would be great, except for the fact that a religious conservative is sitting in the White House. Will the powerful New York Times stand for this? After all, there has been so much invested in making Bush look like a religious idiot.
The article starts by calling out the obvious.
Now without reading ahead, pause here. What do you think the next word in this article is going to be?
By most measures, the economy appears to be doing just fine. No, scratch that, it appears to be booming.
Strong "Black Friday" showings across America were given short shrift by the Washington Post this "Cyber Monday" which buried the story in a four-paragraph blurb on page A10 in the District and Maryland home edition.
But not only were the numbers good in comparison to last year, they far surprassed the expectations of the National Retail Federation (NRF), the industry group which analyzes and forecasts the performance of the American retail industry.
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For those who missed it, the Federal Open Market Committee released minutes from its November 1 meeting on Tuesday, and the stock market rallied as a result. Yet, depending upon which Associated Press story you read, you were either elated or despondent.
For instance, the AP’s Michael J. Martinez began his report: “Stocks extended their rally yesterday after the Fed's latest take on the economy raised hopes that the central bank's string of a dozen interest rate hikes are coming to an end.”
By contrast, Jeannine Aversa began her article: “Worried that high energy costs could spread inflation throughout the economy, Federal Reserve policymakers this month decided they should keep pushing interest rates higher.”
Remember the good old MSM formulation from the days when Newt was Speaker? The notion that slowing the runaway growth of any government program was actually a cut?
Just in time for Thanksgiving, it's back.
My local paper, the Gannett-owned Ithaca Journal, leads with this tear-jerker of a banner headline: "Budget Cuts Would Hit State's Poor Hard". Here is a link to the article.
In homes across this country that subscribe to the New York Times, Americans will wake up on Thanksgiving morning to be told that the land they love is still in some kind of Great Depression. Of course, unemployment is at 5 percent, more Americans own their own homes than ever in history, and the average citizen has a higher net worth – meaning assets minus debt – than ever before, including during the supposed boom years of the late ’90s. Alas, none of that is important to the Times editorial staff...not even on Thanksgiving.
To be sure, this kind of economic mischaracterization is certainly nothing new to the mainstream media. However, stuck in the middle of an editorial about one of the nation’s most cherished holidays, on the very day in question, does make it a little more distasteful than usual:
A recent NewsMax piece (scroll down to article #2) gave high praise to yours truly. Please excuse the obviously shameless self-promotion, but I’m verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.
“Noel Sheppard isn't pulling any punches these days.
“Sheppard has become an increasingly popular economic guru, and he could well be the political right's answer to noted liberal pundit Paul Krugman of The New York Times.
“Sheppard is widely accessible in cyberspace, and he continues to land haymakers, delivering crushing blows to mainstream media arguments that the American economy is in peril.
“This past weekend, Sheppard took the mainstream media to task for their questionable evaluation of economic news as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’”
"Cheaper gas gets season rolling," trumpets the front page of the November 23 edition of USA Today, in a story that breaks the usual media template on "soaring" or "record" gas prices that the Free Market Project study documented in early November.
USA Today's coverage of dropping gas prices continues on pages 8-9A with "Pump prices dip below $2 in some states; still up from '04," which is complemented by an color-coded county-by-county map of the United States displaying current average gas prices.
[ view map online: Flash plugin required to view]
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General Motors has had its share of trials lately – renegotiating worker benefits and now closing plants. The media continue to blame the auto manufacturer’s worries on high gas prices and foreign automakers. The glaring omission in the coverage is the United Auto Workers, the union that has driven GM’s costs to unsustainable heights.
That's not Joe Biden's approach, as CBS's Hannah Storm discovered on Tuesday's Early Show.
Since his surprise call on Thursday to withdraw American troops from Iraq, the media have been speaking nothing but high praise for Rep. John Murtha (D-Penn). Yet, the press haven’t always been so fond of the congressman, and their recent love affair with Mr.
MRC Free Market Project's Amy Menefee gives two thumbs down to Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Living over at freemarketproject.org.
Writes Menefee, "claims against the company in [producer Robert] Greenwald’s film were undermined by his hyperbole and his staunch refusal to acknowledge the way Wal-Mart really impacted communities – paying millions in taxes, employing thousands, and saving countless shoppers millions of dollars."