Why, if the economic…
Why, if the economic indicators show a smokin’ economy, do folks tell pollsters that they’re not sure the economy is doing well? Could be the power of suggestion.

The paradox of the year is why so many Americans tell pollsters they feel bad about an economy that’s been so good, with solid job growth and corporate profits, rising wages and home prices, and a huge decline in the budget deficit. Perhaps one reason is because the media keep saying the economy stinks.

That’s the conclusion of a study to be released today by the Media Research Center, which finds that so far this year 62% of the news stories on the Big Three TV networks have portrayed the U.S. economy in negative fashion. The “negative full length TV news stories on the economy outnumbered positive stories by an overwhelming ratio of 4 to 1,” the MRC reports.

To cite just one example, a CBS Evening News story on July 22 said that the economy is “very tenuous. It could fall apart at any moment. One piece of bad news, one additional terrorist attack, one negative corporate earnings, and it goes right down again.” Contrast that funeral dirge with what Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress that same day: “The outlook is one of sustained economic growth.” And this was after Dan Rather had departed Planet CBS.

Media coverage of President Bush’s tax cuts has been particularly slanted. During the 2003 tax-cut debate, three of every four major TV network news stories were negative. The favorite criticisms were liberal echoes that it would bust the budget and favor the rich. Earlier this year, a news story on National Public Radio announced that “as everyone knows, the primary cause of the budget deficit was the Bush tax cuts.” No word yet on whom NPR is crediting with this year’s revenue surge of $262 billion. Robert Rubin?

How about the Bush administration, who predicted just such a surge after the tax cuts? We certainly can’t credit Robert Kuttner, who dissed the cuts before their effect was felt, and even called them “damaging”. Tell that to the folks who now have jobs who didn’t before, and those who have more of their own money in their pocket.

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