WSJ to staff: Watch how you describe the economy
The regular Wall Street Journal newsletter to its staff warns reporters and editors on how they describe the economy.
The newsletter reads:
For example, the economy appears to be in recovery now, and steps were already taken this year by the government and Congress. It is a difficult situation with real challenges, but not a repeat of 2008-09. It can be disconcerting for readers when one article describes the economy in 2008-09 terms, but others give a different message. As always, the best course is precision and data.
It is worth remembering, as well, that the economy’s slide in the spring was caused both by the virus and the lockdowns. We generally are good about describing the cause that way, and should continue to be.
Meanwhile, there are other matters we need to be cautious about as we write about the new nominees and new administration in general.
An example is rebuilding ties with our allies. Certainly our relations with some allies were strained. Some alliances, like those with Japan and Britain, are just fine. In a couple of cases, like with Israel, relations are stronger and now than they were four years ago.
This is no different from how we rarely use the word reform, in our own voice. The word implies that something is broken, and not everyone might agree. (The stylebook notes that overhaul and revision are more-neutral synonyms, and we usually do a good job with sticking to those words, if in our own voice.)
Read more here.