The Economy Will Not Improve Until the Dems Take Over

I saw came across an old but interesting study that illustrates what I have so often written. When Bill Clinton ran in 1996, 5.2% unemployment, inflation of 3%, and 2.2% growth - produced 85% postive stories in the media. When George Bush ran in 2004, the facts were similar - unemployment was 5.4%, inflation 2.7% & growth at 3.9% - yet 77% of the stories were negative.

Today’s unemployment rate of 4.6% with 2% inflation and 3.4% growth would be heavenly if John Kerry had been elected in 2004, but since George Bush is in charge, those numbers are reported as infernal. I often wonder how much brighter the economy would be painted if Kerry had won. The numbers would be nearly identical, since not much the president can do has an effect in those first two years, but how much better would they have seemed to the liberal media. The words restoration, renewal and regeneration jump to mind. They would be the headlines.

If current trends continue through this year, 2007 we will have a wonderfully low unemployment rate, an all time high level of real wage, record or near record household net worth and an economy that has been growing robustly for more than four years. There will really be nothing to complain about, but the media will report this as they would a great depression.

There is a lesson here. Even rational people are influenced by the mood of the times. Partly because of the overly good news published in the media, stocks were overvalued during the later Clinton years. Reality caught up with them in his last year in office when we saw a decline of nearly 10% followed by two more years of decline. The poor guy who bought in 1999 suffered mightily and only now has recovered. Today we have the opposite situation. The economic news has been significantly better than much of the mainstream media has reported, or at least led many people to believe. Stocks may be undervalued. This has been the case for a few years now. A person who started to invest in 2003, despite the doom and gloom, has made a pile of money. So if you can see through blue smoke, maybe you too can profit. Those who really believe the gloomy news can stay poor and unhappy. It is what they are good at anyway. This does not need to be our choice. The good news is that that the bad news ain't.

In any case, if a Dem is elected in 2008, the economy will improve because a 5.5% unemployment rate for a Dem is like a 4.5% rate for a Republican and even if the economy doesn’t grow at all, that is good enough if it is not George Bush.

Additional Reference

Posted by Jack at February 9, 2007 10:22 AM
Comments
Comment #207302

Jack,

Nowhere in your numbers does it address a growing number of folks that have been flying under the radar, and perhaps the unemployment numbers have shrunken accordingly.
It is impossible to say just how many people are working within E-Bay, or the myriad of other online auction sites, and not reporting that income.
In the business I am in I am seeing more and more folks working on a cash only basis.
None of these folks would be reflected in the unemployment numbers.

Posted by: Rocky at February 9, 2007 11:41 AM
Comment #207307

Rocky

There is no reason to believe more folks are under the radar. We always hear that the stats are not perfect. This is correct. They were no more perfect in 1996 and they will probably not improve by 2008. If they were good in 1996, they should be good now.

In your particular e-Bay example, that is an argument that the economy is BETTER than the numbers indicate. If these people are making money and not telling anybody, they are richer than our stats are telling us.

Posted by: Jack at February 9, 2007 11:47 AM
Comment #207314

Jack
Not accurate to simply blame the so called liberal media. The houseing correction,intermitant high gas prices,endless war, pretty flat wages(two ticks ain’t much),huge deficits,alarming medical cost,huge fed deficits,job exporting,the continued drumbeat to dismantle SS,record trade imbalance….All this has an effect. To blame it all on the media is to ignore some very complicated problems.A bit like saying your house would not of burned if you had not called the fire dept.

Posted by: BillS at February 9, 2007 12:18 PM
Comment #207317

Jack,

That study you refer to was conducted by the Media Research Center. Here is how they describe themselves:

n October 1, 1987, a group of young determined conservatives set out to not only prove — through sound scientific research — that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values, but also to neutralize its impact on the American political scene.

So their whole reason to exist is to expose “liberal bias”. Why bother doing “scientific research” when you already know what you are going to find?

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 9, 2007 12:23 PM
Comment #207318

oops, I listed deficits twice..oh well,they deserve it.We overlook their significance at our peril.

Posted by: BillS at February 9, 2007 12:27 PM
Comment #207325

Jack how can you say the numbers would be the same if Kerry were elected?You would have seen exactly the opposite with a Kerry Administration.Kerry opposed every thing George Bush is about.I do however agree that if the Democrats held the Whitehouse today this great economy would be front page news every day.Just like when Bill Clinton took credit for Ronnies economy.This Economy is all about confidence how could you possibly be confident in John Kerry?

Posted by: gw at February 9, 2007 12:41 PM
Comment #207328

Jack, good reporting; those facts don’t lie and it holds the “media” accountable. There’s no denying it and, the previous comments, haven’t disputed that; they just argue about the war, some people they know that aren’t doing well and (my favorite) the people working off a cash only basis. (?!)

And Jack, I’ll tell you, the GDP is the one that’s standing out the most. Take a look at the current GDP news, that’s a good sign for our economy!

Posted by: rahdigly at February 9, 2007 12:47 PM
Comment #207330

Rocky
Would ya be talking about folks ‘flying under the radar’ if Kerry was President?
There has always been folks ‘flying under the radar’. Why doesn’t the liberal media talk about them when there’s a Democrat president?
I believe the economy is doing OK. For now. But if we don’t change a whole heap of things we’re gonna to have a depression that’ll make the on in the 30s look like a boom. And I don’t care what party has the White House or Congress. We need to act or it’s gonna happen. And both parties will have to eat a whopping big piece of the blame pie.


gw
If Kerry had won in 04 we would possibly just now start to see the results of his policies. It take at a couple of years for the economy to react to a Presidents policies.
This is what got me in 92. According to Clinton and the liberal media we were in the worst economy in 50 years. Clinton won and all of a sudden everything was just honky dory. And he hadn’t even took office yet.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 9, 2007 1:05 PM
Comment #207332

Ron,

I was only addressing Jacks unemployment numbers.

Rahdigly,

Do you deny that there is an underground economy in this country?

E-Bay, for instance was founded in 1995, hired it’s first employee in 1996, now employs 11,000, and grossed more than $4.55 billion in 2005.

So you tell me, just how many of those transactions were declared, let alone taxed?

Posted by: Rocky at February 9, 2007 1:29 PM
Comment #207337

Yo Rock, you’re making an accusation that (somehow) the numbers are wrong. You need to take it up with the US dept of Labor, the Commerce Department, and every other organization that does the data crunching in the Economic Report.


Looking at those numbers, this economy is doing (very) well and the anti-Bush crowd can’t even acknowledge that, not for 1 minute.


So, we know who you are, just do us all a favor and try (try,try) and dispute the actual fact that the media, along with the majority of Democrats, try to paint today’s economy as soups lines from the 1930’s every chance they get. The Facts don’t lie!

Posted by: rahdigly at February 9, 2007 1:57 PM
Comment #207338

Gw

Kerry would have made some changes, but it tends to take a while for changed to start working. It is the same with Bush. Until late 2002, it was essentially still a Clinton economy.

Woody

Their purpose is to find bias… and they did. It seems to me 4.5% unemployment would be interpreted the same no matter who was president, but it is not.

Rocky & Ron

If Rocky’s numbers are right, unemployment is LOWER. The Bush numbers are better. People are hiding their income and their prosperity.

Posted by: Jack at February 9, 2007 1:59 PM
Comment #207340

Rahdigly,

I never even mentioned anything about the economy, I only attempted to put an asterisk next to Jacks unemployment numbers.

Go back and read what I actually wrote, this time, and then answer the question without your spin.

Posted by: Rocky at February 9, 2007 2:08 PM
Comment #207343

Rock, I don’t care about your question, b/c it is irrelevant to the actual economic report. Jack’s post was about the economy and the juxtoposing of Clinton’s economy (1996) with Bush’s (2004) and how the media reported the two. And the result is that the media has been debunked!

So, dispute that instead of trying to side track with the “asteriks” unemployment rate. Frankly, I don’t know enough about the factoring of unemployment rate and underground (tunnel?) economy (whatever); I just go by the Economic reports.

And, the numbers don’t mislead; just the media does.

Posted by: rahdigly at February 9, 2007 2:23 PM
Comment #207347

Jack you are still failing to take in concideration the confidence factor.Wall Street has no confidence in those who are not willing to fight to protect America.No war-no defence contracts, tax increases-layoffs so on and so forth.High Interest rates-housing goes down the tubes.I shutter every time I think of John Kerry as President of the United States of America.

Posted by: gw at February 9, 2007 2:28 PM
Comment #207353

Jack,

Bill was an incredible politician, very popular with the people, very charismatic. Even the Monica scandal didn’t cause him to lose the hearts of most Americans. George does not have Bill’s political skills, the public doesn’t trust him, his ambition to be seen as a great War president has failed. Right now, if George said the sky was blue, most of us wouldn’t believe him.

Are you sure the media has a liberal bias re: the economy? Or does it just like likable people more?

Posted by: Trent at February 9, 2007 2:43 PM
Comment #207354

Jack,

“If Rocky’s numbers are right, unemployment is LOWER. The Bush numbers are better. People are hiding their income and their prosperity.

The numbers would be lower because these folks would have taken themselves out of the unemployment lines and are instead making it on their own.
It seems to me that would mean fewer people competing for fewer jobs.

Posted by: Rocky at February 9, 2007 2:43 PM
Comment #207361

Trent,
“Bill was an incredible politician, very popular with the people, very charismatic. Even the Monica scandal didn’t cause him to lose the hearts of most Americans. George does not have Bill’s political skills, the public doesn’t trust him, his ambition to be seen as a great War president has failed. Right now, if George said the sky was blue, most of us wouldn’t believe him…Are you sure the media has a liberal bias re: the economy? Or does it just like likable people more?”


You just proved the point that the media has the power to distort the public. And, distort they have! They’ve made Bush unlikeable; not Bush. Bush has a tremendous impact on the economy and the media print the negative “spin” night after night.

The Fact is The media is biased, lazy and frankly worthless to American interests unless there’s a democrat in office; and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen for a long time.

Posted by: rahdigly at February 9, 2007 3:00 PM
Comment #207365

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: big, macro-economic stats have limited value, mostly comparative. The unemployment rate, for instance, does not reflect the wage levels of new hires. My understanding is that new jobs are being created with wage levels/non-wage benefits considerably lower than jobs that are being lost, @ a $9,000 differential. One can sense this intuitively just from the knowledge that we are slowly shifting from a manufacturing base to a service base.
Republicans have consistently maintained over these past 5 years that balancing the federal budget would damage the economy. Look at the implications of that statement. Isn’t it that basically the republican party saying to americans “look, we can give you a robust economy, low unemployment, decent GDP growth and reasonable inflation but we can’t do it without borrowing, net, trillions of dollars of foreign money to subsidize it all.”
You know, this isn’t a baseball game where you can go 3 for 4 and be batting .750. Hitting your numbers on 3 out of 4 of these stats doesn’t cut it. Running big deficits five years into an expansion is poor stewardship. For you, Jack, to be portraying it any other way is simply spin.

Posted by: Charles Ross at February 9, 2007 3:15 PM
Comment #207367

Trent

Bush is not so likeable, but he did manage to get in 2004 what Clinton did not in 1996 – a majority of the vote in the presidential election.

Re likable – the public loved Ronald Reagan, but the media tended not to be so supportive.

Also as Rahdigly says, the media contributed to both the popularity of Clinton and the problems of Bush.

Let me give a simple example. When Clinton had troubles with congress, the media always said the “republicans in congress or even right wing members of congress are attacking the president.” Now you see things like “congress rejects Bush’s …”

I do not want to jump too much on Clinton, but consider the treatment of Libby. He is in trouble for doing what Clinton did.

Rocky

It depends, I suppose, on how much they are making. We actually cannot draw any particular conclusion, but it is certainly as likely to make the actual condition better rather than worse.

Posted by: Jack at February 9, 2007 3:17 PM
Comment #207368

Charles

The deficit is a problem. We need to cut spending.

I will agree the deficit, which is around the same % this year as it was in 1996, is a problem if you agree that the other numbers are just great.

The proper characterization would be:

Current economic conditions are generally superb but we face the challenge of high deficits (as we did in 1996)

Posted by: Jack at February 9, 2007 3:21 PM
Comment #207374

Yes, i agree, the big numbers look great but they do not exist in a vacuum. Those numbers look great not IN SPITE of big federal deficits but, in good measure, BECAUSE of big federal deficits.
In the course of a year, we are borrowing @ .95 cents of every deficit dollar (interest Please don’t argue with this as what I have stated is precisely what the republican party is saying when they argue against higher taxes!!
The truth of the matter is that we cannot cut spending to balance the budget because there is simply not enough discretionary spending to cut. This is why republicans, instead of talking about cutting medicare and social security have employed a new word: “Entitlements”.
So. Yes, there are numbers that make for good reading, that suggest that the economy is doin’ good, but after three plus trillion in borrowing what else could one expect?????

Posted by: charles Ross at February 9, 2007 3:38 PM
Comment #207376

Jack, apologies for the last post, it is a bit disjointed. In the second paragraph much of what I said was lost and it was so succinct and to the point that I can’t remember exactly what it was!!

Posted by: Charles Ross at February 9, 2007 3:43 PM
Comment #207390

Jack,

There are a couple of problems with their economic numbers. First of all, they are just looking at 1996 and 2004 in isolation, not the preceding years. Secondly, they aren’t looking at income. The problem with the Bush economy is that no one has gotten a raise. Consider these income numbers.

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/p01ar.html

Between 1992 and 1996, real income went up by 11%.

Between 2000 and 2004, real income went down by 3%.

So if you were wondering why people were happier with Clinton at 1996 than Bush in 2004, look at how much $ they had in their pocket.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 9, 2007 4:57 PM
Comment #207391

Jack
Bush 43 inherited a pretty decent economy from Clinton. We had a slight recession right after he took office but nothing that couldn’t be expected after all the years of a good economy. But it pretty much started to recover by 04. And the Democrats couldn’t capitalize on it like they wanted too.
Bush 41 inherited a pretty decent economy from Reagan. We also had a recession right after he took office. Again nothing that wouldn’t be expected. The only thing is Clinton was able to capitalize on it before things got better and that got him in office.
The fact is that after years of prosperity there is going to be a correction to get things back on track. And recessions are going to happen regardless of who’s in office. If Gore had won in 2000 there still would have been a recession. It was due and it came. No one could have stopped it.
Depressions though I believe are largely due to government policy. And with the way things have been done up in Washington for the last 50 years I’m surprised we haven’t had one yet. But unless policies change up there were gonna have one that’s gonna make the one in the 30s look like a boom.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 9, 2007 5:05 PM
Comment #207396

Woody

I can see why people might be happier or sadder, but the numbers still mean pretty much the same things. It would make sense to complain re the incomes, although not about other things. They should also show a little more sophistication in their analysis.

I would also point out that your measuring different points along an economic recovery. The economic downturn of the early 1990s ended in March 1991. 1992 was an inflection point & 1996 is recovery plus four. The downturn at the end of the 1990s began in March 2000 and ended in 2003. We should check back at the end of 2007 to see how much incomes rose from 2003-7.

If you look at this chart on page 4. You will notice that real income in 1996 STILL HAD NOT reached the level of 1988. The media could have gone back eight years and with the election in 2008, I am sure they will.

Posted by: Jack at February 9, 2007 5:34 PM
Comment #207397

Ah yes, correlation being passed off as causation: Jack’s specialty.

gw-

WOW! I mean…WOW!

When petty partisanship overtakes common sense, logic, research, and genuinely caring about resolving issues, maybe its time to go take a nice long walk and count to 100.

I’m a republican, and I value the ability to express one’s self without resorting to random finger-pointing and childish banter.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 9, 2007 5:36 PM
Comment #207408

Kevin23,

I’m pretty sure that Jack’s main point is not to show correlation vs. causation, but the media’s willingness to throw both out the window.

Posted by: Rob at February 9, 2007 6:57 PM
Comment #207416

Rob-

Thanks, but Jack has made a lot of points in this thread. I’m just summing it all up.

re: the media - they just cater to their millions of loyal viewers and readers in a desperate attempt to chase advertising money. As I alluded in a recent thread in the center column about “bad” media, the solution is clear. STOP supporting the same few media conglomerates that spoon-feed you the same crap on a 30-minute rotating basis. Instead, go spend your valuable time and money on something that does align with your lifestyle. Those mediums desperately need your support to compete with the tabloid entertainment industry. And there are, in fact, plenty of them. The rest of the world should be so lucky.

But it is interesting how many of us worship capitalism as the ultimate tool, but it often doesn’t line up well with our well known sociological findings regarding human tendencies. Free will seems to be more and more a myth with every study done. So the idea that competition solves everything is fundamentally flawed. It usually takes some rich cook to invent something out of left field to change the rules of the game carefully set up by those who finance a given industry to protect their assets from rapid change and volatility.

I’m not advocating that governments have anything but magic beans themselves. Basically what I’m saying is that things are generally not as simple as who was president and when, or what party was in congress. Jack often makes wild assumptions and passes them off as obvious facts. I don’t subscribe to hero view of history. This is why I don’t believe in blindly following a president, or creatively using the constitution to do things outside of its mandate, or trying to manipulate the market. Its also why I don’t believe that people really know what they want to see on TV. Yet, what are people up in arms about every day? How to “best” let other entities exert more control over their lives. Its crazy.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 9, 2007 8:43 PM
Comment #207421

Just wait a minute. Isn’t the real argument here about tax cuts? Tax cuts will stimulate the economy, at least I think so. Is one trillion dollars (I have no idea if this number is even close) or so in tax cuts simply loaning money into our economy while borrowing all of the money for the Iraq/Afghanistan war? Basically, did the tax cuts pay for themselves or not? Without them, how much would the economy have grow. And the strange growth of the housing market, with everyone realizing what a smart investment it is to own/buy. I think this may have to do with more information at people’s fingertips ie. the internet, housing tax calculators and such. Sorry for the rambling post. Interesting economy right now.

Posted by: SilverIce9 at February 9, 2007 9:35 PM
Comment #207424

Kevin

My favorite media outlet is NPR. NPR leaves significantly to the left. It does not stop me from listening. I just understand it is left and I adjust my understanding of what they say.

I am just pointing out the bias in the media.

I also like to point out the bias of liberals in this blog. I know that I am partisan. I know that I have A truth. Many of those of the other side thing the know THE truth.

The tone of my article is very pragmatic. I am just suggesting that we who know better can profit by the error others might make.

You just need to adjust your expectations. You can listen to NPR or watch CBS, but adjust most of what you see a little to the right.

Posted by: Jack at February 9, 2007 9:42 PM
Comment #207428

kevin23,

“Its also why I don’t believe that people really know what they want to see on TV. Yet, what are people up in arms about every day? How to “best” let other entities exert more control over their lives. Its crazy.”

I agree, if the focus groups weren’t watching I think that “news” would be totally different.

I listened to an interview last year on NPR with a reporter who’s name escapes me. He was one of the original reporters when CNN first started back in 1980, and he was bemoaning the fact that the “news” is now producer driven, not reporter driven.
I guess the saying should be changed to “never let the truth get in the way of the ratings”.


Jack,

A wise man once said;

“It isn’t the sum you get, it’s how much you can buy with it, that’s the important thing; and it’s that that tells whether your wages are high in fact or only high in name.”

Mark Twain
A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Posted by: Rocky at February 9, 2007 9:50 PM
Comment #207429

SilverIce9-

That is the very problem I’m talking about. Bush would have us believe that the tax cuts do, in fact, pay for themselves. Many REAL economists debate this from both sides. The responsible ones will say they don’t know what, if any, effect government action has on the overall trends in the economy. So why advocate tax cuts when we have record spending and no end in sight for it? To do so is to hope the economy grows, and the government should not be in the business of hoping. Thats when they get into trouble.

We need to focus more on the goal of fiscal responsibility and achieving results, and less on the goal of “stimulating” anything.

Jack-

I’m glad you listen to NPR. I do too when I can stomach it. As a former NYer, I also love the Times. Most of my favorite media is left-leaning I guess, but I really don’t read it that way. I try to read between the lines as much as possible. A lawyer by training, I find myself disagreeing with writers more often than I take their words as gospel. It is, nonetheless, informative.

I get scared by those who just listen to the morning radio pundits and parrot their sentiments every day. They get taken for a quite the rollar coaster ride…and many will swear to you that they are firmly standing on their two feet the whole time. I believe you’d call them “useful idiots”.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 9, 2007 9:56 PM
Comment #207430

I agree with Jack.

I live in the state with with worst unemployment for the last 4 years (Michigan). Those who are working in our Democrat-run state are doing exceptionally well. Yes, there are many foreclosures on homes, but most small businesses are doing OK. In fact, my service industry business did very well in 2006.

But, even among those who lost a job in the last 4 years, a high percentage have found other work (although many have had to re-locate to your states.) If the national economy were doing as poorly as some would have us believe, there would be no jobs available for those who re-located. Furthermore, the jobs found have not been at McBurger.

On top of that, there are more illegals taking jobs in our economy now than 4 years ago. The result is that it is hard to get what you order when you do go drive through the burger joint. There wouldn’t be room at the bottom for these workers if our economy were tanking.

Posted by: Don at February 9, 2007 9:59 PM
Comment #207431

huh?

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 9, 2007 10:01 PM
Comment #207437
You just proved the point that the media has the power to distort the public. And, distort they have! They’ve made Bush unlikeable; not Bush. Bush has a tremendous impact on the economy and the media print the negative “spin” night after night.

rahdigly,

I’m afraid I didn’t prove anything; I merely wrote some thoughts. As flattering as your claim is, I’m afraid my idle thoughts don’t have that kind of power ;)

This is a matter of perception. When I read the NYT, I see something different.

Ok, for fun, let’s take a look at the front page of today’s NYT.

1) Shiite District, Flash Point in Baghdad, Rebuilds —BAGHDAD, Feb. 8 — Just past the main checkpoint into Sadr City, children kick soccer balls at goals with new green nets, on fields where mounds of trash covered the ground last summer. A few blocks away, city workers plant palm trees by the road, while men gather at a cafe nearby to chatter and laugh.

Pretty positive lead, and the next paragraph is good news, too. True, later in the story there is stuff you guys would call “leftist” because it points out problems, but there are problems.

2) Less Is More, but in Idaho, Not for Long — BOISE, Idaho, Feb. 2 — When Gov. C. L. Otter took office last month and immediately halted construction work on the state Capitol his objections went beyond the $130 million price tag for the renovation and addition.


“My concern is also about the expansion of government,” said Mr. Otter, a Republican. “When you have more space, bureaucracy doesn’t like an empty office. It creates a vacuum. It sucks people into it, and all of a sudden you’ve got to have more people.”

I suppose quoting the governor could be seen as a rightwing bias, but I call it simply reporting his views. Later in the story, the writer says that growth has brought “a ton more government.” In context, that certainly seems supportive of the governor’s views, but again, it seems like a simple factual statement to me.

3) Accord Is Signed by Palestinians to Stop Feuding
— Read it yourself — where administration officials are mentioned, I don’t see any leftwing bias.

4) Edwards Learns Blogs Can Cut 2 Ways — WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 — John Edwards learned the hard way this week of the perils of grafting the raucous culture of the Internet to the decidedly staider world of a presidential campaign.

—-[Two paragraphs cut — read ‘em yourself if you think my liberal bias led me to cut them.]

Mr. Edwards could keep the women on his staff and have to answer for the sometimes vulgar and intemperate writings posted on their personal blogs before he hired them late last month. He could dismiss them and face a revolt in the liberal blogosphere, which is playing an increasingly influential role in Democratic politics and could be especially important to his populist campaign. Some bloggers saw the controversy as manufactured by conservative groups.

Opps, the NYT said some bloggers think there is a conservative plot, so that’s clear liberal bias, except, um, damn, it also said the two women’s comments were sometimes “vulgar” and “intemperate.” I suppose one could cite the paragraph as either left- or right-wing bias; I call it reporting.

5) Some story about dogfighting in Russia. I couldn’t care less, so I didn’t read it. I no doubt missed out one some great liberal bias — maybe the article is critical of dogfighting; damn the commie NYT.

6) New York to Test Ways to Prevent Nuclear Terror — WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 — New York City is about to become a laboratory to test ways of strengthening the nation’s defenses against a terror attack by a nuclear device or a radioactive “dirty bomb.”

Starting this spring, the Bush administration will assess new detection machines at a Staten Island port terminal that are designed to screen cargo and automatically distinguish between naturally occurring radiation and critical bomb-building ingredients.

In the sixth paragraph, we begin to get some quotes from people, including the NY police commissioner, who are critical of the program. And after that, some supportive comments by a government official. Then we get background and I didn’t follow the link to more. Biased? Actually I have no doubt that some of you would think it is biased because it quotes some criticism.


7. N.Y. Governor Escalates Feud With Legislature

Some squabbling among democrats — I’m not particularly interested so I didn’t read it, but perhaps some of you will demonstrate why this article as a liberal bias.

After those big headlines, there are a slew of minor headlines including stuff about Ann Nicole Smith and soccer in Italy. I don’t give a damn, so I didn’t read ‘em. Something also about prewar intelligence; I’ve read that stuff before, so, tell you what, for fun, I’ll assume it demonstrates a leftwing bias just to throw you guys a bone.

Here’s the link to the front page of the NYT if you want to read the commie rag’s stories yourself:

http://www.nytimes.com/pages/todayspaper/index.html

What’s interesting is that, of course, there is a bias in these stories, but it’s a deeply ingrained one, tied up with our society’s ideology, but you guys are speaking about something far different.

Posted by: Trent at February 9, 2007 10:19 PM
Comment #207439

Just keep repeating it Jack, just keep repeating it and soon enough it will be true in the minds of the righties.
When the Bush Administration tried to do away with PBS/NPR a few years back, supposedly due to such left wing bias they were unable to prove this false claim even when Bush appointed a crony to run the place.
But just keep repeating it and it will be true.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 9, 2007 10:34 PM
Comment #207444

j2t2

Re NPR - I am just being pragmatic. I am not interested in proving NPR is left leaning. I like it anyway. I find that I cannot trust NPR comments re Bush unless I adjust for left bias.

I listen to Dianne Rehm many days. I expect her dumb comments to pull left. I do not pay attention to them, only to her guests, who are usually balanced. I do not expect Nina Totenburg to give a conservative judge an even break, so I adjust.

I also expect NPR will cover all sorts of useless lefty demonstrations. I just ignore them.

BTW - you have to do the same for Fox News. In fact ALL news is biased. You just have to adjust. Each program will be different.

IMO - you get the best balance from PBS Newshour. Meet the Press is also good. This Week and Fox News Sunday are about the same level of bias, one a little left; the other a little right. Among the evening news, ABC is the best; CBS is the worst.

All that said, 4.5% is the same no matter who is president. So is 3.5% etc. One of the best ways to test for bias is substitution. If it was good when Clinton was president and bad for Bush, you probably have bias.

Posted by: Jack at February 9, 2007 11:12 PM
Comment #207449
If you look at this chart on page 4. You will notice that real income in 1996 STILL HAD NOT reached the level of 1988.

Now you are charging Clinton for the damage made by the other Bush.

If you want to go by eight years, it looks even better for Clinton. Real income went by 25% from 1992-2000. If you want to take it out to 2001, after the boom went bust as you argue, it’s 24%.

Now Bush. From 2000-2005, real income went down by %1. Maybe he’ll look better at the end, maybe not.

You can argue that the recovery started before Clinton arrived, but he still gets credit for keeping it up for two terms. The GOP leaders said they didn’t want to accept the blame when he wrecked the economy…

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 10, 2007 8:01 AM
Comment #207450

Jack,

It’s just not that simple. You are using your own views as a baseline, and any deviation from your own views, you consider a bias.

If we consider the “average” view of Americans (already a very problematic concept), then we would have to say that any deviation from a view that Bush re:, for example, Iraq, is doing a very poor job to be a bias.

I don’t hear much about the national debt from the big media (when I Googled “national debt,” the first major news media hit is number 19, and it’s a story from 2000, when Clinton was president). It’s grown from about $5.7 trillion to nearly $9 trillion since 2000. Why is this very scary statistic not pounded into our heads? It must be bias!

As far as the study you reference goes, come one, Jack — you know the problems with it as well as I do, but let me enumerate: 1) two days are compared, and the data points for each day are less than 45, 2) it assumes that these two days occurred in a vacuum and did not try to account for anything else going on the world— indeed, the study’s snapshot of the economy involved only three points, 3) it focused on four TV sources and two newspaper sources, yet these six sources represent the “media” — as far as I’m concerned, anyone who gets their news primarily from the idiot box is going to have a very simplified view of the world, and 4) it offered little recognition of the study author’s own views, but as we’ve known since at least Einstein, the observer’s relative position has everything to do with what is observed.

Now, notice the reaction of the commentators here: those on the right typically, without any sort of analysis of the study itself, instantly accept its findings because it affirms what they already believe. Any data that affirms is assumed to be correct, and without any consideration, assume the study is a good one, despite the problems any statistician would instantly recognize. (And if you want to say that those on the left instantly doubt the study, that’s fine, but at least the skeptics are more willing to look at the study’s methodology itself.)

As you say, Jack, all media is biased, but not for the reasons you suggest. All media is biased because a purely neutral point of view does not, cannot exist! This argument you guys on the right use — it’s a nice way to deflect responsibility. Bush can’t be responsible for his own un-popularity; it must be the media’s fault!

I’d hazard the reason that you personally perfer what many on the right (including yourself) call lefist media is because it’s most informative! You consume it and then make a mental adjustment to make it conform to your own point of view (I’m paraphrasing you, Jack). I don’t know. I hear the NYT called a commie rag all the time, but have you read the stories it prints about, oh say, Chavez? I think the guy has the makings of an authoritarian meglamomaniac my view is affirmed by the NYT stories I read.

Posted by: Trent at February 10, 2007 8:25 AM
Comment #207456

I believe it is the proliferation and explosion of the 24 hour news cycle. Coupled with instant access to online information, and the transformation of fact driven news to the now more sensationalism. The cable news is less about straight reporting and more about conversation from studio back and forth with the field reporters. Even as late as the 80’s we were still like mushrooms in that most of the day we were kept in the dark and it wasn’t until dinner time that we were fed the crap. Now it comes all day and night. IE—ms. smith and her recent unsurprising death. or the Astronut or etc. etc. Based upon our supposed desire for blood, dirt, gossip, envy-revenge we have gotten plenty and are growing evermore cynical.

The news is slanted, catie couric cant help it, chris matthews, Oreilly, Hannity, all are filling space with their biases.

We have too much of a couple of good things in this country which I believe have lead to what I see as the widening chasms. I don’t think our problems are so complicated based upon stastical numbers and such. I think they are much more basic.

First problem is choice. Choice is a result of discriminatory decision making—Look at the grocery store, hardware store, auto lots etc. we have so much to choose from that we clique when choosing. Ford v. Chevy, Coke v. Pepsi, Drip irrigation V. popup, even in water selection.

I am in no way advocating communism or government controlled choices, just that when there is fewer to choose from, less choice anxiety.

The second is too much information. The only time I really spent days in front of the news cycle gleaning info was the imbedded reporting of the war. Otherwise, the hour done here and there on a story has been enough to satisfy. Except here in the last year as I have been following this blog with a few interjections of my own. So now I let the information in (and sometimes feel like a junkie for it.) But find no matter what the info is, the constant drum beat is burdensome.

Posted by: scottp at February 10, 2007 9:37 AM
Comment #207460

Woody

In terms of policy, 2000 (Bush was not even in office) 2001 and part of 2002 are not “Bush years”; just as 1992, 1993 and part of 1994 are not Clinton policy years. That lack of economic literacy is certainly a problem for the media.

You are blaming Bush for damage caused under Clinton. Actually neither Clinton nor Bush did it. Look at my link (page 4). The trends are long term. Presidential elections do not have a noticeable difference. Presidents get too much credit or blame.

Trent

The national debt matters mostly as % of GDP. In this case, it is declining as the economy is growing faster than indebtedness. If we did not face the entitlement crunch in a few years, the debt would not be much of a concern. Nobody really wants to bring up entitlements because neither party wants to address the problem.

Re my bias - yes I am right of center, although my main point of rightness is business and free market, which makes me pragmatic. I am not prone to passion. I view the media pragmatically. How much use is it? How well can you use it to make predictions? How much does it help you understand? I find a lot of posturing in the media and most of it leans left. Many journalists just do not understand business and even when they do it is easier to write in terms of human agency. Lots of things just happen and are part of very large and complex systems where the actions of particular people will have counter intuitive results. I am going to write a post re income inequality, for example. It is very complex. The media often blames tax cuts, although an NPR series is (I admit) addressing the real causes.

Returning to the original point, I fail to understand why 4.5% unemployment, 3.5% growth and 2% inflation can be seen as a problem. This should be pretty much spin proof.

Posted by: Jack at February 10, 2007 10:53 AM
Comment #207464

Jack-
Your problem is, you’re not acknowledging that perceptions of a lousy economy might begin from the reality of a lousy economy, and that your big numbers might be trailing indicators of the health of the economy, and not leading.

This is the media sleight of hand that’s employed with the bias theory: we can tell people to ignore their own perceptions because they are a product of the media. This neglects the fact that sometimes the media is a reflection of perceptions on the ground, and people’s attitudes a reflection of their personal experience.

It really doesn’t pay to play games as to what people really are thinking there are other economic indicators that are saying that the Middle Class is seeing less of a share of the money, paying more bills, seeing negligible wage increases, and so on and so forth. Debt is greater, and people are losing jobs for longer, only to come back to much poorer paying jobs.

You can tout the big numbers, but think of it in these terms: if 19 people in room make 200 dollars a year, and the 20th makes a million, is total or average income of people in the room going to reflect the prosperity of those in it? Also, those numbers can be the trailing indicators of other problems- the economy can be highly non-linear and chaotic in its behavior, especially when a great deal of speculation is going on, or when fraud and deception are common in reports given to investors.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 10, 2007 11:14 AM
Comment #207465

Jack,
I can’t argue that the numbers are good and based upon the numbers we all should feel good, but for some reason we don’t. We see big business is doing better than ever, we see the wealthy doing better than ever before, but we just dont see the middle class and poorer people doing well at all. As you trade in your old 40K job for the new 25K job you dont feel the same about the strength of the economy and the quality of the numbers. Yes we can get cheap electronic goods and poor quality dry goods cheaper then ever, but sometimes life is about more than TV sets and such. The numbers are good but I dont think they tell the whole story. However Bush does deserve credit for the numbers being good.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 10, 2007 11:31 AM
Comment #207466
In terms of policy, 2000 (Bush was not even in office) 2001 and part of 2002 are not “Bush years‎; just as 1992, 1993 and part of 1994 are not Clinton policy years. That lack of economic literacy is certainly a problem for the media.

You are blaming Bush for damage caused under Clinton. Actually neither Clinton nor Bush did it. Look at my link (page 4). The trends are long term. Presidential elections do not have a noticeable difference. Presidents get too much credit or blame.

“economic literacy” = knowing how to make Bush look good?

Look, I realize that Bush was not President in 2000. I was using that as a baseline. This how America looked before Bush; this is how much it changed by 2005.

We can move the time window around all day, but the fact remains that you don’t have to be ignoramus to think that the economy has stagnated for most people under Bush. Your own chart shows the evidence.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 10, 2007 11:34 AM
Comment #207467

All the big media serve the ideology of capitalism because all are not only beholden to it but also function within it. This is not necessarily a conscious or insidious thing; it’s just the way it is. The much discussed differences between Democrats and Republicans fade into insignificance when seen on a large spectrum. CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, etc. exist because they sell product that consumers buy and because they attract advertising dollars. A more relevant discussion about the media, I think, would discuss the degree to which the state controls content and to which capitalist/consumerist forces determine content. It’s interesting that to a large degree true diversity of content is only seen in media that, for whatever reason, is less dependent on outside funding.

Posted by: Trent at February 10, 2007 11:38 AM
Comment #207469

Woody

Actually you do. And it is significant ignorance to believe that the president can turn the economy on or off that fast. Recall that the Federal fiscal year runs from October-October and the president takes office in January. So even if he could do this on/off thing, Bush really did not have access to the switch until October 2001. There really is not possible way Bush could have caused the downturn, which started before he came into office and accelerated before his team was in position.

You might give him some credit for the upturn that began in 2003, however, for the same reasons.

We had a slow down from 2000-2003. Since 2003, things have been very good. A simple look at a calendar will show that the slowdown started during Clinton times. If you look at the charts or if you invested in stocks, you see clearly that the trends toward these negatives started in 2000 - early in 2000.

If you look at median real income charts, you see the same trends. 1999 was the peak year. After that it went down. Bush had not arrived yet. Incomes started to rise again in 2005 and spiked up in 2006. There really is no important indicator that is not good.

We have the threat of deficits and entitlements. Those are real threats, but they have not changed much. The debt as % of GDP is declining because of robust economic growth and higher than anticipated tax revenues.

I believe reporting on the economy is the most clear cut example of media bias &/or ignorance. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. A 4.5% unemployment rate, 3.4% growth and 2% inflation is factually good.

Posted by: Jack at February 10, 2007 11:48 AM
Comment #207470
Ron Brown wrote: I believe the economy is doing OK. For now. But if we don’t change a whole heap of things we’re gonna to have a depression that’ll make the on in the 30s look like a boom. And I don’t care what party has the White House or Congress. We need to act or it’s gonna happen. And both parties will have to eat a whopping big piece of the blame pie.

Ron Brown,
Yep.
A correction is on the way.
Yet, it’s amazing how few believe it, and/or care about it, or want it discussed.
In fact, it seems many have a motivation to quell such beliefs (for nefarious reasons).

Jack wrote: Today’s unemployment rate of 4.6% with 2% inflation and 3.4% growth would be heavenly if John Kerry had been elected in 2004, but since George Bush is in charge, those numbers are reported as infernal.
True, but that’s not what is truly important, is it? Even you have written about what you call:
  • the entitlements iceberg we are sailing toward
  • demographics are just going to smash us

Yet, there’s the incessant attempts to put a positive spin on an economy that is deceptively being propped-up by massive debt, spending, borrowing, and money-printing.

That is merely part of the illusion that is trying to be maintained at a tremendous cost in the future.
We all know there’s a huge train-wreck on the way, yet we keep ignoring it, because no one has the courage to address the problem. Thus, the problem will get solved the hard way.

With so much debt (over $22 trillion of federal debt; $20 trillion of nation-wide personal debt), spending, borrowing, and excessive money-printing of the last 30+ years, you’d think this economy would look much better, eh?

After all, it’s easy to look wealthy while you’re maxin’ out your credit cards.

But, what would the economy look like now if it were not for the massive debt, spending, borrowing, and excessive money-printing?

Congress has a re-election rate of over 90% (see graph) for the last decade. Neither main party has had much of a lead since 1996. Before that, Democrats had a pretty big lead for decades. So, who is to blame? Which party? The “IN PARTY” is always more irresponsible, which is why they become the “OUT PARTY”. Each contiually take turns while 90% of incumbents keep their cu$hy, coveted seats, and continue to ignore the most pressing problems.

So, if we are to believe that the OTHER party is always the problem, and BOTH parties have had their turns, then somehthing doesn’t make sense.

Lots of people say Clinton balanced the budget, but they don’t realize he did it largely by printing a lot of money (the Fed and government printed a whole lot of money (between 1995 and 2000); some of the M3 increase was growth, but not all $2.5T of it (an increase from 4.636T to $7.117T)) !

That was also an illusion of a good economy that started to tank in 1999.

Now, the federal government is spending, borrowing, and printing money to create another illusion of a good economy.

Ron Brown wrote: It takes at a couple of years for the economy to react to a Presidents policies.

Yes. In fact, it can take decades, and some decisions can have effects a century (or more) later.

Consider the last 30+ years of massive debt, borrowing, spending, and excessive money-printing.
How long can that continue?
Thirty years ?
Twenty years ?
Ten years ?
Five years ?
Or less ?

How long do we have before we finally feel the painful consequences of:

  • $8.7 trillion National Debt

  • $12.8 trillion of Social Security debt; surpluses are nothing but paper (i.e. bonds)

  • $450 billion Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. debt

  • cost of war in Iraq (over $360 billion thus far)

  • Katrina costs continue to swell (Congress already approved $122 billion, but it may cost more)

  • hundreds of billion$ of unfunded liabilities for next year for Medicare and the Prescription drug plan

  • over $1 billion per day of interest alone on $8.7 trillion National Debt

  • the Social Security Trustees 2006 annual report says that tax revenues must be raised by 16% now (or cut benefits) to avoid short falls by 2017

  • the Social Security Trustees say Medicare’s difficults are even more severe; increasing tax revenues another 16% for Medicare and 16% for Social Security; the younger workers aren’t gonna like their taxes being hiked 32% (or more); a generational storm is brewing

  • trade deficits are appalling; nation-wide personal debt is over $20 trillion; how long can we consume more than we produce?

  • inflationist practices (excessive money-printing) erode savings, retirements, and fixed income, which hits the poor the hardest (4.5% inflation erodes $100 to only $63 in 10 years, and $45 in 15 years)

  • energy vulnerabilities are a ticking time-bomb; energy costs, natural gas, and electricity costs are skyrocketing

  • rising costs of healthcare are eroding savings; Americans are already swimming in debt; and 195,000 Americans are dying each year (2000, 2001, 2002) due to potentially preventable medical mistakes and Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs)

  • education costs are rising while the quality is falling; this is not helping American compete in a global economy

  • illegal immigration burdens are costing American citizens over $70 billion per year due to burdens on ERs, hospitals (84 hospitals closed in California), schools, law enforcement, border patrol, prisons, welfare, Medicaid, insurance, unemployment due to millions of displaced American workers, and voting fraud, and crime; politicians ignore it, pitting American citizens and illegal aliens against each other

  • the waste, graft, fraud, and corporate welfare by a severely bloated federal government costs hundreds of billions annually; Medicare fraud is massive; Bill Frist’s HCA hospitals had to return hundreds of millions for Medicare over-charges

  • pensions are being plundered; property is being legally plundered via eminent domain abuse (7 new cases per day)

Many things (e.g. Social Security, Medicare, the PBGC, the economy, etc.) are threatened because of massive debt, borrowing, uncontrolled spending, and excessive money-printing.

There is ample reason for concern, and even the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare systems are calling for action now.

Even Bernanke (Fed chairman), Greenspan (former Fed chairman), and David Walker (U.S. Comptroller) are stating warnings and calling for action now.

Yet, Do-Nothing Congress keeps ignoring all of it, as if it will all magically disappear, and voters keep rewarding them for it by repeatedly re-electing them, and wallowing in the extremely circular, divisive, distracting, destructive partisan warfare.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 10, 2007 11:49 AM
Comment #207475

d.a.n.

It is not a postive spin to say that the economy is good now and has been since 2003. Today as I look out the window, it is very sunny. The weather report predicts snow in a couple of days. Would I be accurate saying it was cloudy today because it might snow on Tuesday?

The economy is good today (and has been since 2003) and we face serious challenges with entitlements in the not to distant future. Both statements are correct.

One is for certain sure: if the economy was doing poorly today, the entitlement mess would be a lot more of a threat.

We should address the entitlement mess, but you cannot properly address a problem unless you properly identify it. If you insist that the economy is bad today, you are just mistaken and will be unable to solve the problem by any means but random chance or muddle.

Posted by: Jack at February 10, 2007 12:13 PM
Comment #207487

Bush is using the national debt to kill Jack’s ‘entitlement’ programs. It may even be his reason for lying us into this stupid war. Bush hates Social Security almost as much as he hates America.

Posted by: Marysdude at February 10, 2007 1:14 PM
Comment #207492

I have an idea that’ll stop all the argument about the economy.
Sense the blue states don’t want a good economy, we’ll just declare their economies down the tubes.
And sense the red states want good economies, we’ll just declare their economies booming.
Both sides can be happy then.
But what are y’all gonna do when the national economy lands somewhere around the equator because both y’alls parties are ignoring the problems facing this country?
Who are y’all gonna blame then?
The other party?
The only folks to blame will be all y’all for ignoring what’s happening and voting the party ticket while both parties play politics with our children’s futures.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 10, 2007 1:38 PM
Comment #207497

Blue states provide a net inflow of money to red states through the federal tax system. If you want to separate the god fearing, independent, union/welfare hating republican-leaning red states from the blues, it is the reds who suffer.
Also, two trivia question regarding red states/blue states and the issue of “family values”: Which state has the highest divorce rate? Which state has the lowest divorce rate? Both as of 2004.

Posted by: charles Ross at February 10, 2007 2:30 PM
Comment #207502

Jack,

Ok, you say Bush got control of the economy in 2001. YOUR chart shows that wages have been flat since 2001. These are facts. I don’t see numbers from 2006, but the original subject was the 2004 election cycle anyway.

I understand that an economic downturn started in 2000, and I understand that you take that as an explanation for several years of wage stagnation under Bush. But that is a judgment, not a fact.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 10, 2007 3:03 PM
Comment #207512
Jack wrote: d.a.n , It is not a postive spin to say that the economy is good now and has been since 2003.
Jack,

Yes it is positive spin, because it ignores what enables it to look OK.
It ignores the fact that the economy is OK only as a result of massive debt, borrowing, spending, and money-printing is propping up that economy.
It is an illusion.
It is a false picture.
It is NOT the whole picture.

Sure, the stats look OK all by themselves, but that is NOT the whole picture, and the whole picture is what is MOST important, most honest, most accurate, and unbiased by political leanings.

Jack wrote: The economy is good today (and has been since 2003) and we face serious challenges with entitlements in the not to distant future. Both statements are correct.
Yes, but the “challenges with entitlements” is an understatement.

It’s more like what you wrote before … “the entitlements iceberg we are sailing toward” … and the “demographics are just going to smash us”.

Yes, that has a more appropriate hint at the true urgency of the problem.

However, it is NOT just entitlements.
There is the $8.7 trillion National Debt, and other federal debt (over $22 trillion altogether), and the massive nation-wide personal debt (over $20 trillion).
It’s not possible to ignore the impact of these several things on each other.
It is approaching a very serious situation, and saying things are “good”, “very good”, or “OK” approaches the absurd.
To say it is fine today means nothing if it is being financed on the backs of others for many decades to come; and possibly threatening an economic melt-down.

Jack wrote: One is for certain sure: if the economy was doing poorly today, the entitlement mess would be a lot more of a threat.
True.

But, it still begs the question:

    why does the economy appear OK at the moment ?
The massive debt, spending, borrowing, and excessive money-printing is a threat to everything about the economy, and for a very long, long time. Shouldn’t that be somewhere within the same breath?
If Social Security and Medicare tank miserably, don’t you think there’s gonna be some economic problems to accompany it?
These things are not separate.
They are interrelated.
Many of the major components each have the potential to disrupt everything.
Ignoring one or two (e.g. Social Security and Medicare) will undo everything, much less the large number of things that Congress is still ignoring and has been for a very long time.

Jack wrote: We should address the entitlement mess, but you cannot properly address a problem unless you properly identify it.
Yes, we should address the entitlements mess now.
Jack wrote: If you insist that the economy is bad today, you are just mistaken and will be unable to solve the problem by any means but random chance or muddle.
Don’t worry.

I’m not saying the economy is terrible right this moment, but I am saying it is being propped up by massive debt, spending, borrowing, and excessive money-printing.
The economy probably would not be OK now if it was not being propped up with the massive debt, spending, borrowing, and excessive money-printing since 1999 (and before).
It’s easy to look “good” or “OK” while you’re maxing out all your credit cards.

The problem in general is fiscal irresponsibility for the past 30+ years. We didn’t get here overnight. It took a long time to get this serious, and it will take a long time to correct.

And, it’s likely to get MUCH worse, before it gets better.

Anyone who looks at the numbers (like Bernanke (Fed chairmen), Greenspan (former Fed chairmen), David Walder (Comptroller), the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare Administration, and many other economists) knows there isn’t just a little problem. We have a big problem, and it is growing fast.

While the economy might appear OK at the moment, it is only a temporary result of massive debt, borrowing, spending, and money-printing, and that there will be painful consequences for that later.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 10, 2007 4:23 PM
Comment #207518

Jack:

Fed governer Poole reported this week that the US economy was “fundamentally sound”.

http://stlouisfed.org/news/speeches/2007/02_09_07.html

In addition he said that we should face the entitlement program with confidence. In otherwords it is a solvable problem.

I think the economy is like global warming. The left will think the economy is bad and we are heading for doomsday no matter what the facts say.

The right really struggles with the concept that humans contribute to global warming.

From what I can read from the federal reserve, the economy is GREAT.

Long term inflation is “very well contained”. Our credit rating has not been this good in a generation. When was the last time we had a bond interest rate (proxy for credit rating) of less than 5%?

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at February 10, 2007 5:49 PM
Comment #207519

Jack:

I thought you would enjoy this:

http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2007/02/35t-increase-in-household-net-worth.html

Basically, we as a country are getting fabulously wealthy in our hard times of low savings rate.

Move over doomsdayers,

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at February 10, 2007 5:56 PM
Comment #207520

Woody

Wages are flat since 2001. They actually went DOWN before that. If you look closely at the chart, you see the uptick at the end, but the 2006 figures were not included. I read that in WSJ and include it in an post last week.

It is not Clinton’s or Bush’s fault. Look at the chart. It fits a long wave pattern. It was not so bad anyway, BTW. We are now at about the 1998 level of real wages and better than every year before that.

Charles

People pay taxes. States do not. We group the states as blue or red, but they are not monolithic. I do not know if Republicans or Democrats pay more of the taxes. If the stereotype about rich Republicans is true, it is probably the red side.

d.a.n.

If we were printing too much money we would have inflation above 2%. The debt is a problem, but it is coming down as a % of GDP because of robust economic growth and higher tax revenues. Yes we need to cut spending and address entitlements.

Unfortunately, I do not think we will address entitlements until the problem does become worse. It will require a major restructuring. There is not enough political will in either party to do the needful things. The best thing we can do is grow the economy as much as possible to make it better able to absorb the shocks. On the individual level, do not make yourself dependent on Social Security, cuz you will not be getting it all.

Posted by: Jack at February 10, 2007 6:00 PM
Comment #207524

The main point of this post was the media’s bias when comparing the two Presidents who both had (relatively) the same Economic numbers. Most of you have side-tracked with the computing of the numbers; however, the main number in this is the amount of negative stories for one President compared to the other. Yet, you want to continue to take sides and ignore the issue. So, someone step up and dispute that. Come on…fight the facts with facts; not semantics!!

Posted by: rahdigly at February 10, 2007 6:58 PM
Comment #207529

Jack,

Current inflation is supposedly 2.6% (not 2%), and the average annual inflation for 2006 was more (3.24%).

Anything over 1% is too much.
These inflationist practices are harmful, erode earnings, punish the poor, and create economic instability.
Look at the CPI and inflation since 1955.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 10, 2007 8:33 PM
Comment #207533

rahdigly,

The facts are that two days were selected in the survey, the evidence as to negative or positive news was based on the opinions of the study’s authors (check the site they are affiliated; it makes no bones about its political affiliation), only four news shows and two newspapers (which most on the right believe are liberal, anyway) were examined, etc., etc. Further, it treats these two days as if they were in a vacuum. These six media outlets are presented as representing the “media.” What “facts” are we supposed to dispute? One must be cautious when evaluating such stuff.

Posted by: Trent at February 10, 2007 9:54 PM
Comment #207537

More negative publicity is a result a lot of things that are causing voters to feel like the nation is going the wrong direction (which it is), and it is not merely linked to economic conditions only:

More recent poll (source: www.pollingreport.com/right.htm) results for Feb-2007 show that a significant majority polled still don’t think the nation is headed in the right direction:
Right Direction: 28%
Wrong Direction: 68%
Undecided: 4%

So, it doesn’t seem to merely be a partisan bias, since Democrats now have the majority.

Also, wages stagnated, foreclosures are rising, the debt is out-of-control (over $22 trillion of total federal debt), entitlements are headed for a train-wreck, healthcare is increasingly unaffordable and unreliable, education costs are climbing while quality is falling, nation-wide personal debt is over $20 trillion, Katrina, Iraq, Afghanistan, bloated government, politicians that are votin’ on pork-barrel, corporate welfare, graft, and voting themselves raises (8 times between 1997 and 2006) while our troops risk life and limb and go without adequate medical care, body armor, and promised benefits, etc., etc., etc.

But, other than that, things are wonderful.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 10, 2007 10:36 PM
Comment #207562

Trent,
“The facts are that two days were selected in the survey, the evidence as to negative or positive news was based on the opinions of the study’s authors (check the site they are affiliated; it makes no bones about its political affiliation), only four news shows and two newspapers (which most on the right believe are liberal, anyway) were examined, etc., etc. Further, it treats these two days as if they were in a vacuum. These six media outlets are presented as representing the “media.” What “facts” are we supposed to dispute? One must be cautious when evaluating such stuff.”


Prove the “facts”, that this right-wing sight sighted, were incorrect. I agree this is a right-wing sight; however, dispute (otherwise) the fact that there were 80% positive news stories in 1996’s economic report as to 20% positive news stories with 2004 (economic) stats. D-I-S-P-U-T-E I-T!


There’s been nothing but denial (on this blog) about the actual facts of the economic report; instead, there’s been attacks on the infation rate, unemployment rate, “underground” (whatever) and that it’s the right-wing attack machine behind this.


The fact is, there’s a provable media bias here and, all you anti-Bush/pro media types have “run” (and dodged) from the simple fact that the media has been debunked. They’ve been bias in many cases; this one in particular. They are definitely caught (red handed) and anyone defending them; one, can’t take it and; two, is in complete (and utter) denial. This article proved that the media was “favorable” (putting it midly) to Clinton and “UNFAVORABLE” (!) to Bush with similar economies. PERIOD!


Now, if anybody replies back with this mumble jumble garbage about anything but what this article actually said, save it. I don’t have time for it!!!!
:-)

Posted by: rahdigly at February 11, 2007 2:49 AM
Comment #207570
We are now at about the 1998 level of real wages and better than every year before that.

I won’t check your numbers, because they make my point for me anyway. By your account, the average worker is making about the same amount of money now that he or she made almost a decade ago. But you insist that anyone who isn’t ecstatic about this is an ignoramus. Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion…

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 11, 2007 7:59 AM
Comment #207572
Prove the “facts”, that this right-wing sight sighted, were incorrect. I agree this is a right-wing sight; however, dispute (otherwise) the fact that there were 80% positive news stories in 1996’s economic report as to 20% positive news stories with 2004 (economic) stats. D-I-S-P-U-T-E I-T!

rahdigly,

You are pretty funny. I pointed out obvious problems with the study, yet you still want me to dispute the findings. You even demonstrated your ability to put hypens between letters!

Want to help me out? Provide me with the tapes of news coverage on those two days. I suppose I could take a trip to a bigger town than I live in to find the two newspapers published on those days, but that’d take several hours out of my day. Tell you what. If you’re willing, I’ll allow you to FedEx them to me. Agreed?

You remind me of my ex-girlfriend. She claimed a psychic diagnosed a medical condition for her. I don’t belief in such mumbo-jumbo, but how am I supposed to prove that the psychic didn’t pinpoint her medical problem? Am I therefore supposed to believe in psychic claptrap?

Did you even read the study? I did. I was involved for years in statistical studies; they are useless unless the raw data is also provided. With this study, we were not provided with a detailed breakdown of methodology, just a loose description. It is very difficult for the lay person to have access to the materials “studied.” Compare that with analysis of Census data. Anyone can easily get the raw data and the questionnaires used to gather that data. We have access to the methodology to estimate responses of those not surveyed. Why is that useful? That’s not a rhetorical question.

Posted by: Trent at February 11, 2007 8:41 AM
Comment #207584

Man, this must be hard on many of you. It’s hilarious to see when the media gets debunked; all of it’s followers (and defenders) are stammering and dodging around the (real) issue.

Reporting on the media stories the “Day before” and the “Day after” the economic report, for both (President’s) re-election year, was an effective way to see just how bias the media truly has been. There should be no reason (whatsoever) the positive to negative news stories should be that one-sided when the Economy was (relatively) the same. No reason whatsoever!

However, I need a good laugh, so please continue with the dodging and (out-right) denying of the bias media. It’s like watching a vampire (movie) when the sun comes up. “No, no, noooooooooo!!”…

Posted by: rahdigly at February 11, 2007 12:12 PM
Comment #207590

As I said, rahdigly, you’re pretty funny. I wished you had addressed at least something I’ve written in my multiple posts on this topic, but c’est la vie.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to get back to reading today’s New York Times article about how the Democratic-controlled Congress is finding ways to wiggle out of the lobbyist spending limits it just imposed. Damn that commie rag.

Posted by: Trent at February 11, 2007 12:45 PM
Comment #207595

Woody

By late 1996, the average worker was making about the same as he had in 1988. We keep on seeing these parallels. As least I can see them.

Posted by: Jack at February 11, 2007 1:07 PM
Comment #207598

Jack,

Assuming that your figures are correct, no one wants to read an upbeat story about how the fat cats on the other side of town are raking in the dough, while your credit card bills are climbing and you get closer and closer to not keeping up with the minimum payments. I’m not saying it is Bush’s fault, but when corporations get to run the Congress AND the White House, things don’t bode well for the workers… regardless of what the Conservatives try to pass off in their talking points.

I’m doing quite well, but I, at least, will admit that there WILL BE a price to pay for sticking it to the middle class and lower class workers. Creating an economy that benefits the wealthy while squeezing the middle and lower classes will result in some future unpleasantness. Of that, I am certain.

Posted by: LibRick at February 11, 2007 1:30 PM
Comment #207599

Jack,

You can see the parallel because you’ve got blinkers on. What is special or meaningful about the years 1988-1996? It’s presidential terms, but two different presidents from different parties.

I’m not going to waste any more time on this. You are obviously committed to your particular interpretation of the facts.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 11, 2007 1:32 PM
Comment #207600
In terms of policy, 2000 (Bush was not even in office) 2001 and part of 2002 are not “Bush years‎; just as 1992, 1993 and part of 1994 are not Clinton policy years. That lack of economic literacy is certainly a problem for the media.

Ok, one more point: Since you an economically literate guy, you must be aware that there are less than two “Clinton policy years” in that eight-year period you just used…

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 11, 2007 1:41 PM
Comment #207607

Woody

We may have a disagreement about how much a president can fine tune the economy. The U.S. makes up around a quarter of the total world economy, so we are a big part and the president can influence a lot of policy, but the economy is bigger than the U.S. and bigger than the president. I do not credit or blame Clinton or Bush with much in the short term. I have said many times that Clinton was a good steward of the economy. Bush has been very similar to Clinton in the effects. Future economic historians will not see a big change.

To blame Bush for the 2000-2002 slowdown just makes no sense. That does not mean I blame Clinton, although it was clearly part of the Clinton economy. It was a long term thing, which you see on the charts.

Beyond that 9/11 altered a lot about the way the government interfaces with the economy. I find it amazing that our rapid recovery from that blow gets almost no mention. Whether you want to give Bush any credit or not, that would appear in anybody’s objective list of complicating factors.

Posted by: Jack at February 11, 2007 2:43 PM
Comment #207609
Bush has been very similar to Clinton in the effects. Future economic historians will not see a big change.

OK, I said I would stop, but you are just making it too easy. By your own theory, it will still take four more years for the data to come in from the Bush administration. But you already know how it is going to turn out, and what historians will think of it. Faith-based economics.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 11, 2007 2:55 PM
Comment #207616

Woody

I do not credit or blame the president with so much. I guess I think the people do the work, not the politicians of either party.

Do you really believe that the president coming into office suddenly changes something as big as the economy? How fast could that happen? It was very silly to count from the day (or in Bush’s case the year before) a president comes into office.

Clinton was very lucky. He came into office when the economy was going up, but before people felt it. He left office when the economy was going down but before people felt it. It created the illusion that he had done it. Sort of like the rooster getting credit for the sunrise. This is not so bad, but it leads Dems to the false conclusion that it was only his policies.

Clinton did a competent job, but made no spectacular changes. You would have seen similar results under Bush I reelection. Of course it would not have been reported as good news as much.

You should not fall for the hype. If you thought times were good in 1998, you should think times are good now.

My original point just pointed out that good news is reported as bad news when Bush is in office and will be reported as good news again if a Dem wins the next election.

Posted by: Jack at February 11, 2007 3:28 PM
Comment #207633

Jack, when are you going to realize that the opposing view point (Anti-Bush/Pro Media) will not admit that there is a bias against Bush. There have been over 60 reponses, to your post, that had nothing to do with the bias; instead, they all side tracked with the “numbers were wrong” or they “didn’t include this or that” (etc, etc). Some have even tried to make this about their numbers instead of reponding to the original post; they’re just self involved I guess.


It is a good post and (certainly) worth mentioning. However, hatred for Bush will trump all enemies and “good” news. That’s for sure.

Posted by: rahdigly at February 11, 2007 8:21 PM
Comment #207637

rahdigly,

Well I, for one, didn’t directly address the bias issue because I don’t have the data. I can’t even remember the last time I watched a network news show.

Maybe there is a bias, maybe not. All I know is that this study doesn’t look very credible. The group that conducted an avowed purpose of finding “liberal bias” in the media. That’s their purpose in life. If they find no liberal bias, or some other kind of bias besides “liberal”, they don’t eat so to speak.

Look at their list of media outlets. Where are the Wall Street Journal and Fox? WSJ has more readers than the New York Times. Fox has more viewers than CNN. Why are they leaving out the most popular news sources? Because it would interfere with getting the desired result.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 11, 2007 8:57 PM
Comment #207654

Woody,

I’ve concluded it’s pointless to argue with the guy. He refuses to discuss the merits (or lack of) the so-called study; he simply craves acknowledgment that the study is accurate. Meanwhile, the sensible thing to do is not look to the media for any opinions but simply to glean information. If we need someone else to affirm our opinions, well, then, they are really our opinions, are they? What’s curious is that market forces, of course, determine the success of the media; capitalism is action. By the same token, the think tanks that get regular mention in the media are generally “conservative” ones; “liberal” think tanks barely register. I don’t hear any outcry about that.

It’s all rather funny. I just this minute got through reading a column on the front page of yeseterday’s NYT business section that practically gushes over Exxon/Mobil. In my opinion, all mainstream papers pay homage to our corporate/capitalistic system (hardly surprising, considering these papers are owned by corporations, themselves); where is the concern on the right for bias there? No, by bias they mean their own opinions are not being sufficiently affirmed.

Posted by: Trent at February 11, 2007 10:33 PM
Comment #207683
What’s curious is that market forces, of course, determine the success of the media; capitalism is action.

Indeed. With all of the media outlets people have to choose from, it is absurd to think that they are being force-fed material far to the left of their own preferences. You can dispute that theory with one “invisible hand” tied behind you back.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 12, 2007 7:30 AM
Comment #207688

Jack, let me take an analogy that you used and show you why it is spin to say the economy is doing well:

It is not a postive spin to say that the economy is good now and has been since 2003. Today as I look out the window, it is very sunny. The weather report predicts snow in a couple of days. Would I be accurate saying it was cloudy today because it might snow on Tuesday?

Saying that “the weather is looking good” on a sunny day, when it is only sunny because you were able to push the clouds back and arrange for an otherwise snowy day to become a downright blizzard, is not accurate. It’s spin. That’s what you are doing with the economy. By deficit spending now, the Bush administration has figuratively pushed the clouds back and given us a brief sunny day… but at the same time it’s set us up for a real blizzard down the road when we need to pay that money back again.

Posted by: Jarandhel at February 12, 2007 9:13 AM
Comment #207701

Woody,

“Look at their list of media outlets. Where are the Wall Street Journal and Fox? WSJ has more readers than the New York Times. Fox has more viewers than CNN. Why are they leaving out the most popular news sources? Because it would interfere with getting the desired result.”


CBS, NBC, and ABC are the “established” media; their ratings (are still) double (in some cases tripled) of the cable news media. FNC was started in 1996, so they wouldn’t be a good source for 1996. Also, the purpose was to establish how the “MSM” views one President over the other, Fox and the WSJ are not the MSM; probably b/c they (actually) favor US interests. :-)


As far as the site’s credibility, why don’t you come up with some proof that they manipulated the numbers; try nexus lexus or googling it. The fact is that this is (certainly) accurate, even though this company is right-wing; you think the liberals are going to do this study and debunk their own media?! Don’t think so.


So, woody, prove where the study was wrong with the coverage of the media outlets they studied! Show us proof that the numbers (now, that’s negative/positive numbers I’m referring to) were even or more positive for Bush than Clinton. Once you do that, then I’ll drink the lib Koolaid. Until then, it’s just the facts…

Posted by: rahdigly at February 12, 2007 11:13 AM
Comment #207707

If you say so, rahdigly, then it must be true, right?

Speculation and possible correlation passed off as causation. Its that simple.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 12, 2007 11:58 AM
Comment #207713

More like changing the subject; ignoring the subject; along with name calling and discrediting the site (to which you didn’t prove incorrect) and the blogger (me).


Same old song and dance for you guys… Stick those heads in the sand and deny everything. Nice.

Posted by: rahdigly at February 12, 2007 12:32 PM
Comment #207721
Fox and the WSJ are not the MSM; probably b/c they (actually) favor US interests. :-)

Do the words “circular reasoning” mean anything to you? You say Fox and WSJ are not the MSM, even though they are popular enough to be “mainstream” by any reasonable definition. The only reason to say they aren’t the MSM is because they have a right-wing slant. But if you use ideological criteria to define the MSM, it has to fit those criteria by definition.

I said I don’t know about the bias, but you demand proof! Shall I prove that I don’t know?

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 12, 2007 1:03 PM
Comment #207722

As far as I know, the term “MSM” media means the “elite” media or “old, dinosaur” media. Fox, WSJ and Washington Times usually gets put in the “alternate” news medium.


You don’t know about the bias? The article clearly pointed out different (bias) responses about one President and a totally opposite reponse to the other, with nearly identical economies. Take a look:

“On June 4, 2004, the government announced the unemployment rate remained steady at 5.6 percent, with about 248,000 new jobs created. CBS reported the numbers, but then Dan Rather turned negative: “But while the jobs picture is improving nationally, there are still some problems locally, and CBS’s Jim Axelrod reports, on that a Presidential election could turn.” Axelrod reported from the Timken factory in Canton, Ohio, “shutting three factories and shedding 1,300 jobs,” and showcased a worker predicting this could push Ohio to vote for Kerry.

By contrast, on June 8, 1996, the government stated the jobless rate was up two-tenths of a percent, to 5.6 percent. Dan Rather insisted on CBS that rate was “still low, and the numbers, pure and simple, can be misleading.” Reporter Ray Brady explained: “There was a slight rise in the unemployment rate, but that’s not necessarily bad news,” since more people were encouraged to hunt for jobs. “


Man, this study certainly puts the liberal panties in a bunch. Ha! Ha! This is just one of the perks for not drinking anyone’s Koolaid; get to sit back and watch people squirm, dodge and freak out over a study.

Posted by: rahdigly at February 12, 2007 1:25 PM
Comment #207724

Rahdigly,

You are just using different words for “liberal”. WSJ has been around for over a century, and its readers are certainly elite. It has more readers than the New York Times. Again, the only reason to leave it out is because of its right-wing political slant.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 12, 2007 1:46 PM
Comment #207728

Instead of arguing semantics, why don’t you respond to when the article sighted when Rather and other reporters were making excuses for Clinton and using negative tones with Bush?! They even use a graph to chart the negative to positive news stories. If you disagree with the actual numbers, then prove where this study is wrong.

Instead, you (and others) argued that “this is just right-wing spin, therefore is must be wrong”, and (frankly) that’s not debating the issue. Use fact information to prove this study incorrect before you just “hold your breath”, “stomp your feet” and “huff and puff” about a study that targeted the media bias.

By the way, they (most likely) didn’t sight WSJ and FNC, b/c they’re not the ones they think are bias; it’s the ones that they PROVED were bias that they did the study on. And, low and behold, 80% positive for Clinton compared to 20% with Bush.

Posted by: rahdigly at February 12, 2007 2:11 PM
Comment #207734

Rahdigly:

I can prove immediately that this study was biased by a simple fact: There was no control group.

As Woody pointed out before, and as you have admitted in your last post, their study covered only those media outlets they claim are liberally biased. It did not include studies of media outlets they believe are unbiased, or even conservatively biased. Therefor, there was no baseline to compare. We know that these outlets reported stories they felt were 80% positive towards Clinton, and 20% positive towards Bush. We don’t know how that compares to a truly neutral newspaper. Neutral does not necessarily mean 50-50 for each person, it means looking at the overall situation objectively. If one actually is worse, reporting more negatively on that person is not bias. To really tell how biased these outlets were, we would need something to compare them to which was objectively unbiased, and see how far their reporting deviated from it. They did not provide that.

Posted by: jarandhel at February 12, 2007 3:31 PM
Comment #207735

Either he doesn’t understand, or he chooses not to admit he understands. Either way, not much room for debate.

Posted by: Trent at February 12, 2007 3:42 PM
Comment #207739

Jarandhel,
“their study covered only those media outlets they claim are liberally biased.”

Correct! They covered the media outlets that they felt were bias and, as a result, they proved they were (indeed) bias (80% to 20%). This is (probably) why a bunch of you are arguing anything but these facts. Can any of you (smart anti-Bushies) prove that the % of news stories, from these bias news organizations (ABC,CBS,NBC,CNN, NYT and Washington Post), were “even” or “fair and balanced”?! Don’t think so.

“We know that these outlets reported stories they felt were 80% positive towards Clinton, and 20% positive towards Bush. We don’t know how that compares to a truly neutral newspaper.”


Exactly!! None of these media outlets are “neutral”!!! That’s the point of this entire article; that’s why they were singled out. It’s not alright that 80% be in favor of one Prez over the other with similar economies. Man, was third grade difficult for some of you? And, did any of you pass it?! :o)


I’m telling you, all you’re proving is that the anti-Bush crowd cannot (and will not) accept the facts when they are “slapped” (right) across the face with them. Ha! It’s very entertaining, though.


Posted by: rahdigly at February 12, 2007 4:50 PM
Comment #207743
Correct! They covered the media outlets that they felt were bias and, as a result, they proved they were (indeed) bias (80% to 20%). This is (probably) why a bunch of you are arguing anything but these facts. Can any of you (smart anti-Bushies) prove that the % of news stories, from these bias news organizations (ABC,CBS,NBC,CNN, NYT and Washington Post), were “even” or “fair and balanced”?! Don’t think so.

You made this up. The study purported to analyze “the media,” not cherry picked media to give the results they wanted. Read the thing; don’t make stuff up. Any idiot could “prove” the opposite and it would be just as meaningless. We can’t analyze the stories ourselves; we don’t have them! Since you apparently do, perhaps you can send them to us.

You don’t seem to understand how important point of view is when judging such things. There is no such thing as pure objectivity when you are dealing in a subjective realm. If you want to say the media appear biased to you, no one will gainsay you. For the record, I’ve consistently opined that all big media is biased toward the corporate/capitalist mindset.

You do seem new to the internet, so let me clue you in about something: those “Ha’s” come off as desperate and strained — they don’t convey what you dearly hope they do. What you do convey is that you don’t understand what makes a study valid. Have you wondered why no one is rushing to help you out? Because everyone else gets it!

Look, if it makes you happy, I’ll say that the study said the media are biased. Ok?

Posted by: Trent at February 12, 2007 5:16 PM
Comment #207748

Rahdigly-

“More like changing the subject; ignoring the subject; along with name calling and discrediting the site (to which you didn’t prove incorrect) and the blogger (me).


Same old song and dance for you guys… Stick those heads in the sand and deny everything. Nice.”

I just called it like I saw it. And I thought I addressed the matter head on, and hit the nail right on the head. Not sure who discredited the site, or blogger, or whatever you said in jumbled english. And I have no idea who “you guys” is….but maybe that’s just part of your charm? You know, arbitrary lumping people together and attacking them via straw-man attacks.

Or are you a victim today?

It changes so often, I get confused.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 12, 2007 6:11 PM
Comment #207756

Rahdigly:

Jarandhel, “their study covered only those media outlets they claim are liberally biased.”


Correct! They covered the media outlets that they felt were bias and, as a result, they proved they were (indeed) bias (80% to 20%). This is (probably) why a bunch of you are arguing anything but these facts. Can any of you (smart anti-Bushies) prove that the % of news stories, from these bias news organizations (ABC,CBS,NBC,CNN, NYT and Washington Post), were “even” or “fair and balanced”?! Don’t think so.

Your problem, rahdigly, is that the raw percentages of stories favorable to each president don’t tell us anything about whether or not the media was biased. To do so, we would need to compare the percentage of stories favorable to each president in the supposedly biased media against the percentage of stories favorable to each president in an unbiased sampling.

Never taking a side, giving equal support to all sides, is not always neutral. If half of the reporting on 9-11 had been supportive of the hijackers and half had been supportive of the US, that would hardly be said to have been fair or balanced. In order to determine bias, you need something to compare it against. Objectively, 9-11 was bad, plain and simple. The reporting reflected that. That doesn’t mean it was US-biased or biased against Islamicism.

Similarly, with the presidents, the fact that 80% of stories favored Clinton and only 20% favored Bush does not mean that the media was liberally biased. The fact of the matter is, the raw numbers quoted in those articles do not exist in a vacuum. Bush has had an expensive foreign war racking up massive debt through deficit spending. Taken together with the numbers quoted, Bush’s economic picture looks much worse than Clinton’s did. The entire state of our country changed drastically between 1996 and 2004. Just because certain economic indicators matched, that doesn’t mean the situation must be interpreted in the same way to be unbiased. The whole picture matters.


“We know that these outlets reported stories they felt were 80% positive towards Clinton, and 20% positive towards Bush. We don’t know how that compares to a truly neutral newspaper.”


Exactly!! None of these media outlets are “neutral”!!! That’s the point of this entire article; that’s why they were singled out. It’s not alright that 80% be in favor of one Prez over the other with similar economies. Man, was third grade difficult for some of you? And, did any of you pass it?! :o)

You and the authors of the study claim that they are not neutral, but you provide no comparison with a news outlet that you claim is. We have no way of knowing if a neutral news outlet, by your standards, would not have had similar numbers in favor of Clinton over Bush. Even if they were more favorable to Bush, we have no idea of the degree to which they would be. Thus, the study is inherently flawed. It provides no measure which places the 8 to 2 ratio of stories favoring Clinton to stories favoring Bush during those time periods in perspective.

I’m telling you, all you’re proving is that the anti-Bush crowd cannot (and will not) accept the facts when they are “slapped” (right) across the face with them. Ha! It’s very entertaining, though.

I think that you could benefit from an understanding of basic science necessary to perform accurate studies:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_control

It would also be necessary to take into account the issue of sample size; this study claims to have reviewed the articles of six news outlets over a period of four days; 2 days in 1996 and 2 days in 2004. Really one day’s worth of reporting for each publication, since the broadcast stations reports and newspaper article were collected seperately from different days. Exactly how many articles relevant to either Bush or Clinton were published on those particular days, total? Is it a statistically significant sample?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sample_size

Posted by: Jarandhel at February 12, 2007 6:37 PM
Comment #207762

By the way:

Yet a new study by Dan Gainor, Director of the MRC’s Free Market Project, found that while the national media mainly cheered the Clinton economy in 1996 (85 percent positive), reporters have mostly jeered the Bush economy in 2004 (77 percent negative). Two 2004 stories were judged as neutral.

According to the graphic in the article, in 1996 there were 35 positive economic stories and 6 negative stories. (A total of 41 altogether) In 2004, there were 38 negative economic stories and 6 positive stories. (A total of 44, 46 including the two neutral stories mentioned in the above quote.)

35/41=0.853658537 or roughly 85% as the article claims. But 38/44=0.863636364 or roughly 86%, while 38/46=0.826086957 or roughly 83%. Not 77% as reported by the Media Resource Center. If the center is incapable of doing simple percentages, I find myself rather skeptical that they could conduct an effective scientific analysis. They certainly don’t understand that taking 87 stories published over a period of 4 days is hardly a representative sample for an industry that publishes 365 days a year.

Posted by: Jarandhel at February 12, 2007 7:14 PM
Comment #207770

Trent,
“Have you wondered why no one is rushing to help you out? Because everyone else gets it!”


Newsflash, Trent, I don’t need anyone to help me out with people that refuse to debate and accept the issue that is clear as daylight. You’d think with three (or four) people teaming up with you, one of you could (at least) answer the fact. Yet, when all of you are wrong like this, I guess it’s easier to “posse” up and attack anything (and everything) but the actual study.

Jardenhel,
” To do so, we would need to compare the percentage of stories favorable to each president in the supposedly biased media against the percentage of stories favorable to each president in an unbiased sampling.”


Newsflash to you (too): YOU ARE NOT (I REPEAT NOT) GOING TO GET AN UNBIASED SAMPLING FROM THOSE MEDIA OUTLETS. Y-O-U A-R-E N-0-T!! That’s the point.

“According to the graphic in the article, in 1996 there were 35 positive economic stories and 6 negative stories. (A total of 41 altogether) In 2004, there were 38 negative economic stories and 6 positive stories. (A total of 44, 46 including the two neutral stories mentioned in the above quote.)…35/41=0.853658537 or roughly 85% as the article claims. But 38/44=0.863636364 or roughly 86%, while 38/46=0.826086957 or roughly 83%. Not 77% as reported by the Media Resource Center.”


Ok, under your calculations, more were positive for Clinton and more were negative for Bush; so, you’re saying that there “isn’t” a bias?! Because the study was actually wrote 77% of the stories rather than 83%, that’s enough not to go with the story?!! Your numbers just proved that it was worse for the media (the same media you’re trying to defend). Ha! This is a (real) laugh riot.


Kevin,
“Or are you a victim today?…It changes so often, I get confused.”


Let me (un)confuse you; I’m not a victim, nor do I claim to be one. Having three (to four) of you run from the facts that the media is bias is entertainment for me; especially, when I here things like “just b/c 80% of the news stories, from the media studied (which make up the lions share of news outlets, by the way), doesn’t mean that they are bias”. Ha! (that’s for you Trent). It’s so funny seeing people run from the truth. Like turning on the light and watching the cockroaches scatter around..


>”Truth Hurts Everybody”, a line from my favorite band of all time (The Police). It’s so true though.By the way Trent, the journalist’s are supposed to be objective, not subjective. Yet, subjective is exactly what they’ve been and they’ve been caught.


You guys should quit while you’re behind…

Posted by: rahdigly at February 12, 2007 8:07 PM
Comment #207771

Rahdigly-

You really don’t understand why a control group is necessary?

And I didn’t profess an opinion on media bias one way or another in this thread. I understand how unqualified I am to make that kind of determination. And I have far too much respect for myself than to try and pretend there is objective research on the matter.

You on the other hand…

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 12, 2007 8:14 PM
Comment #207776

Qualified schmallified, if you can’t see (or don’t want to see) that one Prez gets over 80% positive news stories and the other receives 20ish% positive with similar economies, then you’re never (ever) going to get it. Period.


It’s not science; it’s just plain ole common sense. Hell, open your eyes and ears each night and you’ll realize it when you watch or read the MSM. However, one will have to put their ideology and anti-Bush hatred, aside first!


Good luck…

Posted by: rahdigly at February 12, 2007 8:39 PM
Comment #207780

This is now exactly like watching Stephen Colbert.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 12, 2007 9:06 PM
Comment #207781

rahdigly, there have been many studies of media bias, and some of them support your position. It’s very difficult to even find proper terms and definitions to use. You would do better than to hang everything on one very obviously flawed study. Here’s some help for you the next time you venture into these waters. There is good evidence that most journalists are democrats, or at least define themselves that way. It is not unreasonable to assume that their views influence their reporting. Quantifying that is more difficult. For a rundown on past media bias studies, check out this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_bias

There you should have find the material and the links to more material for you to make a better case. Why am I doing this? Truthfully, it’s just generosity and pity; the same reason I give bums handouts. I was a journalist, rahdigly, and in my experience, journalists were usually a bit left of center — I say a bit, because all of us were diehard capitalistis, just like almost everyone else in this country. However, I realize that I just have anecdotal evidence, certainly not enough to assert with any confidence what it’s like in newsrooms across the country. But let’s assume it’s true that most journalists are, say, Democrats. Why? We had conservative reporters and they apparently didn’t suffer any discrimination. The truth is, it was liberals for the most part that chose the field. My gut feeling is that, for the most part, only liberals would chose such a poorly paid field. Like teaching, it requires an enormous amount of idealism. Do I assert that my opinion is factually true? Of course not. By the way, most journalists I knew took their jobs very seriously; they did not deliberately slant the news. But we all write and speak based on what we perceive.

Posted by: Trent at February 12, 2007 9:07 PM
Comment #207786

Trent,
“The truth is, it was liberals for the most part that chose the field. My gut feeling is that, for the most part, only liberals would chose such a poorly paid field. Like teaching, it requires an enormous amount of idealism.”


Of course liberals “choose” the journalist and Teacher fields; they can (and do) control and manipulate the news and information that way. And, believe you me, they have!! Our (public) school systems are a complete and utter joke. Look at the college campuses; every other week there’s a news story (mainly on FNC) that show how students are taping what their professors are saying in class. What they say is some anti-Bush, (sometimes) anti-American proproganda that they then deny or cover up once they are confronted with it.

Liberals know they’re not winning at the ballot box, so they try and win it in the Universities, journalism and Judgeships. Who you kidding?!


Tell you what, I have some military clients I have to train early tomorrow morning (0500), so I’m going to go to bed and I can’t sleep if I’m laughing.


Liberals in teaching and journalism…oh man, you are a sketch. Ha! Good night…

Posted by: rahdigly at February 12, 2007 9:48 PM
Comment #207787
Jardenhel,

For someone who’s complained so many times when I mistype your name, you might take a bit more care with mine.

” To do so, we would need to compare the percentage of stories favorable to each president in the supposedly biased media against the percentage of stories favorable to each president in an unbiased sampling.”


Newsflash to you (too): YOU ARE NOT (I REPEAT NOT) GOING TO GET AN UNBIASED SAMPLING FROM THOSE MEDIA OUTLETS. Y-O-U A-R-E N-0-T!! That’s the point.

THEN THEY NEED (I REPEAT NEED) TO GET A COMPARISON CONTROL SAMPLE FROM A *DIFFERENT*, UNBIASED MEDIA OUTLET! THAT’S THE POINT. Not that they didn’t get an unbiased sample from these outlets, but they didn’t compare these outlets with another supposedly unbiased outlet.

“According to the graphic in the article, in 1996 there were 35 positive economic stories and 6 negative stories. (A total of 41 altogether) In 2004, there were 38 negative economic stories and 6 positive stories. (A total of 44, 46 including the two neutral stories mentioned in the above quote.)…35/41=0.853658537 or roughly 85% as the article claims. But 38/44=0.863636364 or roughly 86%, while 38/46=0.826086957 or roughly 83%. Not 77% as reported by the Media Resource Center.”


Ok, under your calculations, more were positive for Clinton and more were negative for Bush; so, you’re saying that there “isn’t” a bias?! Because the study was actually wrote 77% of the stories rather than 83%, that’s enough not to go with the story?!! Your numbers just proved that it was worse for the media (the same media you’re trying to defend). Ha! This is a (real) laugh riot.

I’m saying the numbers CAN’T prove a bias in the absense of a control sample. Not that there isn’t one, I’ve made no argument one way or another in that regard. This study just doesn’t prove there is. And yes, if they get their numbers wrong on the final percentages, I do have to question the entire study. How do we know they didn’t miscalculate elsewhere, when tallying up the total supportive stories? We’re not talking rocket-science math here, we’re talking division. Anyone with access to a calculator could figure out they got it wrong. Did they not use one?

Look, you’re obviously not getting this, so let me try one more time…

If you poll a group of Americans who work together (lets say 100 people) and fifty of them think that something is bad, and fifty of them think that something is not bad, does that make the group unbiased? Let’s suppose the question had been “Is crime bad?”, and fifty of the people in the group were prison guards and fifty were inmates. Is that balanced and unbiased? Could you infer from that, that a larger population of Americans would be neutral on the question of crime? Of course not.

Doing the same study over effectively, you’d poll a larger group to try to get a representative sampling of the population you were studying. If you were comparing Americans vs nonamericans, you might also set up a control group made up of even numbers of each to make sure that any difference you see in either group is actually a deviation from the baseline. You could even remove the labels on the groups so you wouldn’t know which was which until you were done evaluating their responses. This study didn’t even remotely attempt it, its authors went into it knowing exactly what they wanted to find and cherry-picking not only which news outlets they wanted to review but also what subject and what days of what years to cover. We’re not even given data on what non-economic stories were covered in the papers those days which may have been positive or negative for either president.

This study of yours is very similar to my hypothetical polling of prison guards and inmates. It polled six news sources, for a total of 87 stories taken from a period of two days on two different years. These sources each publish news 365 days a year, which means even if all these sources combined carried only one story a day, this sampling would represent less than 12% of the available news for those years. Obviously, since newspapers and television news carry many stories each day, this would actually be a gross overestimate of how big a percentage of stories were actually studied, but without exact numbers I can’t really get any more detailed in how small their sampling was relative to the available data which could be sampled. And that’s without even getting into the idea of expanding the study to compare the other years of both men’s presidencies, which I believe would make for around a further 4380 days worth of news. Reducing the sampling of 87 stories to a mere 1.7%, even assuming only one story per day was published for all six sources. Do I really need to go further for you to get how statistically insignificant this sampling is, and why you can’t prove an overall bias in the these six sources, let alone the overall mainstream media, from it?

Posted by: Jarandhel at February 12, 2007 9:52 PM
Comment #207790

Heh, I wish I were as powerful as rahdigly seems to think I am.

Posted by: Trent at February 12, 2007 10:03 PM
Comment #207805

Some people fear “the man”. Some fear “the evil empire”. Some fear islamic extremism. Some people fear being eaten alive by giant ants (ok…that might just be me).

Other people fear the media and school teachers.

Talk about truth being stranger than fiction, eh?

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 13, 2007 12:18 AM
Comment #207819

Man, you guys are too(ooo) easy. You get all bent out of shape over a study. Face it, your media (darlings) are busted on this one; and this is just one study. They’ve been doing this for years and they’ll continue to until they are (eventually) swallowed up by the “new” media (FNC, talk radio, internet).


And many of you have become (or think you’re) pollsters and statiticians with this study. The fact is that the majority of Americans are not stat freaks and “sample” happy; they look at these studies in a practical way. They see 80% in favor of one prez and 20% for the other with similar stats; they know there’s a bias. Yet, you guys remain in denial about the facts; see where that gets you. Ha!


I’m moving on now, you guys are like a broken record and in serious denial. You won’t be alone though, the truth and reality will keep you company. Can’t wait to meet up with the wolf pack again so you can mislead, distort and deny your way out of arguements. Later suckers!


p.s. Jarandel, relax, the mispelling wasn’t intentional; I was responding to 4 different people who were in denial, so my typing was fast.

Posted by: rahdigly at February 13, 2007 7:57 AM
Comment #207823
And many of you have become (or think you’re) pollsters and statiticians with this study. The fact is that the majority of Americans are not stat freaks and “sample” happy; they look at these studies in a practical way. They see 80% in favor of one prez and 20% for the other with similar stats; they know there’s a bias. Yet, you guys remain in denial about the facts; see where that gets you. Ha!

You don’t need to be a pollster or statistician to know how statistics and polling work. It’s taught in school, in both math classes and science classes. Information about it is even available online, which we have linked to for your edification. I’m sorry you’re not interested in educating yourself on the subject.

You say that 80% in favor of one president and 20% in favor of the other president with “similar stats” clearly shows bias. Well, first off, it’s not 80 to 20. It’s 85 to 13 as I showed before. Secondly, those “similar stats” were not occuring in a vaccum: Under Bush as of November 2004 the economy had lost 821,000 jobs. But at the same point in 1996, Clinton had overseen the creation of 10.5 million jobs. According to the Census Bureau, family income in 2004 was down three years in a row ($1,511 under Bush) and 4.3 million Americans had fallen into poverty. By the end of Clinton’s first term, family income was up more than $2,400 and 1.5 million Americans left the poverty rolls. The 1996 deficit was $180 billion better than projected when Clinton took office; the 2004 deficit was $800 billion worse. Are you getting yet why the articles may have been more critical of Bush despite “similar stats”?

But hell, all of this was pointed out before, back in 2004 when these comparisons were first made. http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000039&refer=columnist_sperling&sid=aTQfuSHQpf.I

Posted by: Jarandhel at February 13, 2007 8:57 AM
Comment #207850

I just performed my own study. I walked outside and asked 100 people whether they felt the news was biased. The results were that 80 people said there was no bias, 20 said there was. That’s 80 to 20 Rahdigly! What don’t you understand about that?

And yes, you’re right. MUCH too easy.

(note: please pay no attention to where the study was conducted, under what pretexts it was conducted, how questions were posed, the likelihood of not reaching a representative sampling of people, the fact that none of the results are verifiable, and that there is no baseline from which to draw conclusions one way or another. Remember…its common sense. And so disagreeing with me means you have none).

Maybe Rahdigly is on to something here. Making up validity rules as I go along is a whole lot easier than taking time to think, research, and cross referencing that which I unilaterally declare to be “common” knowledge. The scientific method is for cowards and wimps.

Posted by: Kevin23 at February 13, 2007 12:21 PM
Comment #208513

If you actually look at all the facts, rather than just repeat the “liberal media” mantra of the pundits, you’ll see the media hated Clinton and is pro-Bush. Just look at media matters for example. The “liberal media” thing is a myth and a lie.

The media has failed to question nearly every major policy created by Bush or the Republican party, the justifications for the Iraq War, the so-called “trickle-down” theory, the failures leading to 9/11, the massive corruption, global warming, etc.

They certainly hated Clinton, they hounded him constantly for the whole Monica Lewinsky thing (what he did was bad of course, but they wouldn’t cover Republicans doing similar things like Newt Gingrich, McCain,etc.), and before that went after him for a bunch of supposed scandals that all turned out to be nothing. During the 2000 election they hated Gore and loved Bush, for example they never looked into any questionalbe things Bush did like insider trading, but smeared Gore over things like his supposed internet quote. One trend is clear, the corporate mainstream media tends to portray Republicans as only honest, decent people who only care about America (when they cover GOP scandals they only cover it quickly and move on), and Democrats and progressives as always sleazy,dishonest, or corrupt regardless of the reality.

Posted by: thomas at February 17, 2007 1:04 AM
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