Media coverage of economy ignores most Americans
The news media routinely paint a distorted picture of the economy, one attuned almost entirely to the fortunes of the most affluent, according to new research.
Alan M. Jacobs, J. Scott Matthews, Timothy Hicks and Eric Merkley write for MarketWatch.com that, “But while voters know how their own pocketbooks have fared since the last election, most people turn to the news to evaluate the economy as a whole. But our research finds that reporting on the U.S. economy by the media is highly skewed: Rather than capturing the economic fortunes of most Americans, economic reporting instead tracks how well only the very richest are doing.
“Analyzing more than 30 years of economic news articles from 32 high-circulation daily newspapers in the United States, we compared the tone of coverage about the economy with the actual income gains and losses of different income groups. Across the board, economic news is more positive in tone during periods when the top 1% is seeing their incomes rise. Conversely, the economic news is worse when those at the top are facing incomes losses.
“In both situations, evaluations of the economy by the news media are almost entirely unrelated to the economic experiences of the bottom 99% when their fortunes diverge from those at the top.”
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