Media News

Is the media to blame for economic ignorance?

August 17, 2023

Posted by Chris Roush

Former ProPublica president Dick Tofel writes on his blog about the disconnect between the recent positive economic news and what consumers think is happening in the economy.

Tofel writes, “How does all this relate to the press? Look at this CBS poll on the economy: It tracks inflation by asking people if they think prices are rising. Of course they do. Even when inflation is 2%, prices are rising; they are almost always rising. Indeed, if they were actually falling on a sustained basis, that would be deflation, which is a symptom of a very sick economy, and something essentially all policymakers seek to avoid. Prices are rising, but inflation, as noted above, is falling—pretty quickly, and quite a bit.

“Meanwhile, the widely expected recession has failed to materialize, the job gains continue, and purchasing power is growing as inflation recedes. More jobs have been created in the two and a half years since Biden became president than in any full presidential term in modern history. The only presidents who saw more job creation were Clinton (eight years), Reagan (also eight) and FDR (12-plus).

“Amid this, we marvel that news avoidance is growing, as people tune us out. In reporting this, the Washington Post observes, citing no sources, that “it’s hard on any given day to find much news that can be described as ‘positive’ or ‘uplifting.’” Really? How hard are we looking?

“If the American people literally don’t know what’s going on around them, shouldn’t we be asking more urgently how we can do a better job of informing them? Is a significant part of that perhaps that we have been far too reluctant to compellingly report positive developments?”

Read more here.

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