conference-boarToday's report from The Conference Board shows that consumer confidence fell steeply in September:
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had improved in August, retreated in September. The Index now stands at 48.5 (1985=100), down from 53.2 in August.

In a report issued in the run-up to the Board's release (go to the text which follows the "Breaking News Update" here; saved at my web host for future reference), the Associated Press's Stephen Bernard revealed economists' consensus prediction (52.5) and helpfully told readers the level of result (90) that would represent "a strong, healthy economy."

In his 10:36 report consolidating the breaking news with info presented before its release (saved here), that useful information disappeared. In fact, even though it was in the "Breaking News Update" of the earlier report, Bernard omitted the Board's specific reading from his revision. Amazing.

Here is what the AP reporter told readers in his run-up story (bolds are mine throughout):



torn-dollarSometimes you just have to chuckle at the transparent motivations of business writers in the establishment press.

Two Associated Press reports from this afternoon, one from Stephen Bernard and another much lengthier piece from Jeannine Aversa, attempt to set the template for Friday morning's reportage: Despite all the bad news, including a serious downward revision to second-quarter economic growth, it's up to Big Ben Bernanke to calm everyone down, and magically return the economy to some kind of even keel.

No pressure there, big guy.

Aversa's earlier report lays it on especially thick:

Bernanke's top tool now may be power of persuasion



You would think that someone going to the trouble of reporting on something would at least provide the most basic of relevant numbers so that readers could understand what they're telling us.

That isn't the case with the 11:51 a.m. version of Uncle Sam's report on unemployment claims by the Associated Press's Stephen Bernard and Tim Paradis. Their report failed to specifically state what analysts predicted, and waited until a much later paragraph to tell us what their predictions are for tomorrow's jobs report.

The first three paragraphs of that version of the story are in the graphic capture that follows:



APabsolutelyPathetic0109The coverage yesterday by the Associated Press's Stephen Bernard of payroll and human resources giant ADP's monthly jobs report for November focused on a relatively small reduction in the size of the decline in jobs lost and not on the fact that continuing to lose jobs is a bad thing.

That rhetorical sleight of hand enabled the AP reporter to tell us that ADP's reported private sector job loss during the month of 169,000 -- down from 203,000 in October -- was actually good news, because even though it was a decline in the number of people working, the decline of the decline "was not as much as forecast." The forecast was for 160,000 jobs lost.

Readers of a previous version of this post will note that I allowed myself to believe that Bernard had erred when he did not. I apologize for not getting that right. And here I thought I would make it through the whole year without a mistake. :--> 

What follows is a graphic of the first few paragraphs of Bernard's report: