The Associated Press's coverage of Friday's deep U.S. stock market dive in two Friday afternoon reports engaged in the reality avoidance longtime readers here have come to expect.
An item by Stan Choe ("Get used to it: Big drops for stocks are back again") spent most of its verbiage on "volatility," and only cited "China's sharp economic slowdown ... Tensions in the Middle East ... the plunge in prices of oil and other commodities" as reasons why the "volatility" will continue. (AP seems to believe that "volatility" is a synonymn for "decline"; it isn't.) Separately, Alex Veiga's more detailed coverage, after an analyst's insistence that "Oil is the root cause of today," didn't get to Friday's awful economic data until his ninth paragraph, and then only vaguely descrbed "some discouraging economic news." Meanwhile, a CNBC columnist, using a word amazingly not found in either AP writeup, warned that "A recession worse than 2008 is coming."
The press's fierce determination to avoid blaming any of the steep decline in this nation's stock markets so far this year on horrid U.S. economic data, or on the Obama administration which has given us such a sour economic environment, has gone way beyond annoying.
Shortly after noon at Yahoo Finance, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average's Friday dive hit 500 points, Nicole Sinclair, who is also a senior analyst at TheStreet.com, asked: "Why the heck are the markets tanking?" The mystified Sinclair came up with five reasons. None of them directly related to U.S. fundamentals, which she eventually described as "mixed," or recently released data, though she finally mentioned "disappointing" December retail sales in passing in her second-last sentence.
You're Definitely A Liberal When ... Assertion #7,546 -- You claim with a straight face that taxpayer-funded food stamps are wondrously stimulative for the economy.
It's been so long since this one crossed my path that I'd begun to believe it was too delusional even for the left.
But sure enough there it was, making its inevitable reappeance on Thom Hartmann's radio show last week. Perhaps it had something to do with the onset of the holiday season. While many if not most liberals no longer believe in Santa Claus, here's one who still believes in Santa Claus economics.
Twenty years of economic growth averaging less than 1 percent have failed to convince Japan's leaders — and apparently its citizens — that Keynesian-style government spending and handouts are not the answer to turning that long-suffering nation's economy around.
So the Shinzo Abe government, fresh from learning that the country is in yet another recession — its fifth since 2008 — is doing more of the same, while counting on press shills around the world like the Associated Press's Elaine Kurtenbach to be gentle in their coverage. Kurtenbach cooperated as expected early Friday morning (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Call it the triumph of the "new normal."
At Reuters today, after today's first revision of third-quarter gross domestic product showed that the economy grew by an annualized 2.1 percent, up from the late-October estimate of 1.5 percent, reporter Lucia Mutikani and Editor Paul Simao demonstrated that they have completely given in to the artificially lowered expectations of past seven miserable years. Despite the fact that annual growth in the U.S. economy averaged 3.4 percent from 1946-2007 — a period which included ten recessions — and that it has seen four-year spurts averaging over 4 percent several times in the past three decades, the Reuters pair claims that its "long-run potential" is now only 2 percent, thus making today's 2.1 percent result "respectable."
Japan's two-decade romance with Keynesian economics has led to another betrayal — and yet the press and all the supposedly smart economists and analysts seem to believe that just one more fling might bring about a different result.
The Land of the Rising Sun, aka the Land of the Two-Decade Zombie Economy, has just reported an annualized contraction of 0.8 percent in the third quarter. The decline, following a revised 0.7 percent second-quarter downturn, means that the country is once again in a recession — its second in three years (Update: And fifth since 2008). Oh, but don't worry. It's no big deal. The Associated Press insists that it's only a "technical" recession, and more Keynesian "stimulus" could set things right — even though such measures, in place to varying degrees since the 1990s, have consistently failed to bring about sustained, meaningful recoveries:
The "fact-checking" press has become a parody of itself during the past several years.
It's not only because of their irritating penchant for putting statements by Republicans and conservatives under a twisted microscope while ignoring drop-dead obvious falsehoods delivered by Democrats and leftists. It's because, among other things, the fact-checkers often admit that a statement is true, but then proceed to essentially say, "So what?" They also take policy goals articulated by candidates, which may or may not come to pass, render an opinion that it can't be done, and then pretend that they've actually proven something. An example of each annoying habit was found in Tuesday evening's Associated Press "fact check" of statements made by Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush during the most recent Republican presidential candidates' debate.
The political definition of Cronyism is: government policy that favors one or more specific beneficiaries - at the expense of everyone else. To wit: $80 billion of the 2009 “Stimulus” was wasted on “green energy” companies - 80% of whom were Barack Obama donors. Amongst the parade of horribles contained therein: the government took money from energy companies - to fund competitors to their energy companies.
Sadly, a $3.5-trillion-a-year federal government budget is filled to the rafters with nigh-endless Cronyism. There’s so much to undo - one must triage and prioritize. And while we work to reduce and eliminate, we most certainly should not create a whole new Cronyism - that will dwarf all the others combined.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) late last week gave us a quintessential example of aiming at the tiny - while they have for years championed the huge. Behold:
On Thursday, the government reported that the nation's economy turned in yet another quarter of poor economic performance, estimating that its gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the third quarter.
The business press almost universally downplayed the news, and told readers that the fourth quarter will be better. No one talked about how much the tepid growth of the past six-plus years since the recession officially ended has been sacrificed in the name of misguided and dangerous Keynesian stimulus. As is so often the case, an editorial at Investor's Business Daily did that, performing a job the press has consistently refused to do.
The government's Personal Income and Outlays report for September bore more evidence of a slowing economy. Consumer spending rose by only 0.1 percent, trailing expectations of 0.2 percent. That's troubling news, given that the optimists believe that strong consumer spending will supposedly drive stronger fourth-quarter economic growth.
Lucia Mutikani's coverage at Reuters made a common error in explaining the importance of consumer spending, made a significant technical error in describing the report's contents, and ignored a very disturbing item present in the government report's detail (related items are tagged ,  and , respectively, in the excerpt following the jump; bolds are mine):
If you're a few hours late catching up on reports on economic data at the Associated Press, one of the best ways to determine whether the news was good or disappointing is to see whether the story's headline and opening blurb are still present about four hours later among the wire service's "Top (usually 10) Business News" items. The good-news items will usually still be there; the disappointing ones will usually be gone.
Sure enough, as of about 12:30, Martin Crutsinger's dispatch in the wake of the 8:30 a.m. Durable Goods report from the Census Bureau was no longer a Top Story. That's because, even though Crutsinger did his level best to ignore pertinent facts and try to pin the blame elsewhere, the news was awful.
The folks at the Associated Press aren't even trying to disguise how pleased they are after Canada's most recent elections swept the Liberal Party into power after almost a decade in the wilderness.
They're claiming that victorious Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems destined to ignite the second installment of "Trudeaumania," the late-1960s press anointing which accompanied his father Pierre into that same position. It's quite clear that the AP is uninterested in informing readers about how awful Pierre Trudeau's actual record was. They instead want readers to believe that happy, reality-avoiding leftist days are here again.