Abysmal coverage of market turmoil
Michael Hlinka, who reports on business issues of the day for CBC’s “Metro Morning,” talked with Lauren McKeon of the Canadian Journalism Project about the abysmal coverage of the latest installment of the U.S. debt crisis, political bias in business reporting, and the questions journalists are missing.
Here is an excerpt:
J-Source: Now, there are some people that are saying that the S&P just confirmed what we already knew: that the U.S. government has a major fiscal problem right now, and things aren’t going so. But others are saying it’s this big shock – but the government was doing so well! Have journalists oversold the idea that the economy was recovering?
MH: Yes. I think they basically followed the party line. I’m a full-time teacher. I do a business commentary and I love doing it, and it’s a great, great experience, but I spend most of my time working with students and preparing academic materials, that’s sort of my stock and trade.
One of the stories that has not been pursued is the number of times the economic revisions, the numbers have been revised down in the United States. In fact, I can give you anecdotally, this morning they released the productivity numbers for the second quarter and they revised the productivity numbers for the first quarter down dramatically. Last week, when they recorded the GDP numbers for the second quarter, the numbers for the GDP first quarter were revised down dramatically. Nobody is looking – that I’ve heard of – at these stories and saying why are they so far off in their initial estimates and why is the consistent bias on the upside on the upside rather than the downside? Because if it were an honest error one would think that there would be equally wrong reporting: overly optimistic and overly pessimistic numbers. Why is the persistent pattern out of the Bureau of Statistics in the States all of the revisions have been downwards, in some cases sharp downwards revisions, over the past year. I think it’s an interesting questions and no one’s really delving into that.
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