Spinning 2.8%

January 28, 2012
Posted by Jay Livingston

Yesterday’s news was that GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2011 was 2.8%.  The Houston Chronicle played up the political import.
Is 2.8% GDP growth good news?
Texas Democrats say it is, Republicans say it’s a fluke
Good news about the economy is good news for the incumbents – Obama and the Democrats.  Bad economic news is good for the Republicans.  You would expect the liberal media elite to crow while the few brave conservative media stalwarts curbed their enthusiasm.  So Fox News, predictably, said that the 2.8% was “modest.” 

But that liberal bastion The New York Times gave the news a mixed review.  Recession fears were fading, but the 2.8% was “not enough to comfort the Fed.” 

But the Wall Street Journal led by accentuating the positive.

Steam indeed.

Meanwhile, at NPR, so often accused of “liberal bias,” 2.8% was Friday’s “Planet Money” indicator, and here’s what their correspondent Zoe Chace had to say about it.
I’m going to start by telling you what 2.8 is not.  It is not a recession.  But that’s pretty much the only good thing you can say about 2.8. 
Why aren’t these media spinning the story the way they’re supposed to?

(A post of two years ago (here) tried to show how political purposes shaped views of whether 3%, is a lot or a little.)

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