Question: When is a New York Times "Manufacturing Recession" not a recession?

Answer: When the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) keeps on issuing monthly reports, such as the one yesterday covering April, telling us that manufacturing is in expansion mode.

On February 28 (second item at link), Times Business writer David Leonhardt wrote the following:

For Manufacturing, a Recession Has Arrived

The nation’s manufacturing sector managed to slip into a recession with almost nobody seeming to notice. Well, until yesterday.

To this day, Leonhardt appears to be the only person to "notice" the recession in manufacturing -- because it doesn't exist.

The TimesSelect current tease for Leonhardt's article, which is now behind the Times' subscription firewall, is even worse, leading one to think that it tells us that the whole economy is in recession (bolds are mine):

MSNBC: Fair and Balanced

According to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani committed "terrorism" when he suggested that the country would be "playing defense" if a Democrat was elected president in 2008. And this is the network that’s hosting a Republican presidential debate?

Americans Making Lots of Money: Good or Bad?

On Monday, an ABC graphic provided a shining example of media bias. Co-host Diane Sawer was discussing the recent surge by the stock market. During the segment, a graphic below her read, "Will Dow Hit 13,000 Today? Is Unstoppable Market Good or Bad?"

You Won’t Have Rosie O’Donnell To Kick Around Anymore

"Good Morning America" reacted to the departure of Rosie O’Donnell this week by claiming that the left-wing comedienne was a pioneer for women. (The morning program also ignored her 9/11 conspiracy theories.)

Producer of an MSM morning news show? Got a few minutes to fill at the end of your first half-hour? Why not resort to a tried-and-true winner: a bit of good old class warfare?

That was the "Today" formula this morning. Matt Lauer introduced the segment, enviously entitled "Share the Wealth?: The Rich Get Richer," fanning the flames of envy and resentment with this opener:

TODAY CO-HOST MATT LAUER: Do you feel like you're working harder and harder nowadays just to stay financially afloat while fat cats get richer and richer? It's not just a feeling, and you're not alone. The story now from from CNBC's Scott Cohn.

View video here

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared past the 13,000 level on Wednesday, but the CBS and ABC evening newscasts reported the good news in the media's all-too-frequent “yes, but” framework. CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric fretted that “even as investors are making money in the market, Anthony Mason reports there are concerns tonight about the rest of the U.S. economy.” Mason talked with a celebrating stock trader before turning downbeat: “But Wall Street and Main Street appear to be headed in different directions. While the stock market's been racing ahead, the economy has been slowing down. Housing is mired in a slump.” Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab confirmed bad news for the overall economy, citing how “we have seen economic growth get cut in about half in the last year, so clearly the economy is not as strong as it was a year ago.” Mason ominously warned: “Rising gas prices, up 70 cents already this year, could slow the economy even more.”

ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased World News: “Tonight, the Dow moves into uncharted territory, zooming past 13,000 for the first time. But is the economy as hot as the market?” Gibson set up his lead story by contrasting how “the rise in recent months has been steep, despite less-than-inspiring news on the economy overall.” Betsy Stark featured pleased investors before cautioning how “there were fresh signs today of trouble in the housing market” and “oil prices shot up another dollar today, which will only add to consumers' woes at the pump.” Gibson stayed on the negative, proposing to Stark: “We've had four years of a straight bull market. Doesn't just the timing of this suggest that there might be a correction?” Stark agreed: “By historical standards, Charlie, we're actually overdue for a correction.”

On Monday’s "Good Morning America," an ABC graphic about soaring stock prices proved, yet again, that there’s no positive economic story the media can’t spin downward:

ABC Graphic: "Will Dow Hit 13,000 Today? Is Unstoppable Market Good or Bad?"

From a CNN e-mail I received shortly after the close of Friday's stock markets (this was the entire message):

Wall Street fights off mortgage-risk-induced woes to end the week higher, with small gains Friday.

Anyone reading this e-mail would have thought that this was a net ho-hum week on The Street. After all, the e-mail merely said that the week ended "higher."

"Higher"? More like "way, way higher" -- in fact, the best single-week point gain in four years:

Something rather extraordinary occurred last December which had extremely ominous implications for stock investors around the world, but got totally ignored by the media.

In fact, if not for a recent video posting at YouTube, and a March 20 article in the New York Post, these spectacular revelations would still be well under the radar.

On December 22, CNBC’s James Cramer did a web interview for TV. In it, he told TSC’s executive editor Aaron Task about how he used to manipulate stocks and the market when he was a hedge fund manager, and explained how such people today can’t “do anything remotely truthful” if they want to make money (video available here).

As TSC reported in a recap at its website the same day (emphasis added throughout):

Last night, ABC "World News with Charles Gibson," and CBS "Evening News" both blamed increased foreclosures on lending companies and mentioned tightened regulation instead of discussing the issue of personal choice. NBC "Nightly News" was the only network to bring individual choice into the story on March 13.

"Mortgage companies were lending to people with questionable credit," said ABC's David Muir.

MRC's Business & Media Institute director Dan Gainor appeared on "Your World with Neil Cavuto" earlier to talk about the way the media covered yesterday's stock market slide.

I subscribe to e-mailed breaking news alerts from both Fox News and CNN. Out of curiosity today, I reviewed the news alerts about the market's performance from yesterday's precipitous drop and today's rally.

I found that yesterday Fox issued two alerts to CNN's one. Today, Fox sent an e-mail update about the market's 50-point gain for the day. No such e-mail was issued from CNN, however.

I took the liberty to lift the text from the updates. Here they are in chronological order from earliest to latest:

Fox News breaking news update | 2/27/2007, 15:07 EST