"Our Country!
In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right;
but right or wrong, our country!"

    --Commodore Stephen Decatur

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Media's Credibility Gap

Today, the New York Times asks the question, "Why is good news being received with such doubt?"  Like the boy who cried wolf, the Times and other mainstream media outlets have been gushing praises of President Obama's economic policies and looking for the silver lining in every new unemployment report.  Hilariously, in the very same article, Mr. Norris unintentionally gives us an example of this phenomenon.
The employment report for March, released a week ago, was a milestone that has been little noted.  The household survey, from which the unemployment rate is calculated, showed a gain during the first quarter of this year of 1.1 million jobs, the best performance since the spring of 2005.

True, the more widely reported numbers from the survey of employers are not as good.  But those numbers are subject to heavy revision as better data becomes available.  At the turning points for employment after the last two downturns, those numbers turned out to be far better than was reported at the time.
To hear the Times tell it, we should be optimistic because even though the unemployment numbers are still really bad, they will ultimately be revised by a few tenths of a point.  This must be very reassuring to the millions of unemployed Americans.  By repeating dubious assurances that recovery is just around the corner over the past year, the New York Times has earned a reputation as nothing more than a fatuous tool of the Obama Administration.  It is little wonder that the public remains skeptical.

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