October 30, 2005

Dr. Sanity Nails the Psychological Impact of MSM Business Misreporting

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 11:25 am

There’s lots of reaction to the collective Mainstream Media yawn in reaction to the 3rd quarter GDP results.

Dr. Sanity cuts through the fog to get to “root causes”:

The American public is hearing voices. And like auditory hallucinations experienced by psychiatric patients, these voices whisper continual doom and gloom. They tell the American consumer that prices are too high. That the economy is tanking; that poverty is on the rise; and that everything is bad bad bad.

These voices are persistent and continual. They are unrelenting. They are often frightening. And like the command hallucinations that torment many of my patients, they are completely and totally untrue. You are bad. Life isn’t worth living. They are trying to hurt you. Don’t try, it’s not worth it.

It is very rare for such voices to say anything at all positive. They have a specific goal–and that goal is the distortion of reality.

So why do patients believe them? Especially the one’s that are bizarre and so obviously out of touch with any known reality?

….. It is a triumph of false perceptions over reality. It is testimony to how profoundly and fundamentally people trust their perceptual faculties and let their peceptions rule, even when those perception come in conflict with common sense, truth, or reality.

We, the American people have come to have a similar trust in the voices of the MSM. Over the years, they have almost become an additional perceptual faculty that we rely on–simply because life has become too complicated and overwhelming, that the use of our ordinary senses is insufficient in the modern world.

In other words, we rely on the media in the same way we rely on our own senses to provide us with the information necessary to make decisions and judgements in the real world.

The MSM has become those evil voices inside our head.

….. WHY ISN’T THIS (GDP report) IMPORTANT NEWS? WHY ISN’T IT SHOUTED FROM THE HOUSETOPS?

Meanwhile, consumer confidence fell sharply. (halfway down linked page–Ed.)

So, like a patient hearing the command hallucinations we become more and more hopeless and depressed in spite of the reality around us.

….. We are hearing the voices of the MSM inside our heads and they are tricking us into believing something that isn’t true.

….. I would wager that the instant the Democrats take over the White House at some future date, the voices will cease to trouble us and we will be cured of our “malaise”. Not because anything will have changed, but because the voices will have achieved their purpose.

You may remember that before George W. Bush’s first inauguration Dick Cheney and other incoming administration people were expressing concern that the economy was tanking (which it WAS–See Update 2).

What did the press and the Democrats say? “You’re talking the economy down!

So, by omission and downplay mixed in with the occasional class-envy lies, what has the press been doing since early 2001?

More important, you have to wonder how much better could the economy have performed if news readers, listeners, and viewers weren’t reading, hearing, and seeing the pessimistic drumbeat day after day after day.

So for all you reporters who “care” so much–How many individuals and families have NOT escaped poverty because consumers and businesspeople made decisions based on your pounded-in “don’t try, it’s not worth it” pessimism not supported by the pretty darned good reality? Of course we’ll never know, but don’t even try to tell me that the answer to that question is zero.
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UPDATE: Anchoress on the “Rodney Dangerfield Economy” (I’ll have to remember that)–“Unfortunately, her conclusions are too similar to mine: it will take a D in the WH to get the P to tell the T.”

UPDATE 2: The Media Research link (also used above) cites 2.2% as the third quarter 2000 revised GDP growth result. The final result was minus 0.5% (to find the result, change the starting year to 2000 at the link).

That’s a pretty sizable revision. The first, and much rosier numbers, would have been released about a week before the 2000 election. Hmm.

It gets better. AP reported on the government’s periodic comprehensive revision of the Gross Domestic Product that took place in December 2003, and implicitly noted a big revision that had to have taken place before the comprehensive revision:

WASHINGTON – The longest economic expansion in U.S. history faltered so much in the summer of 2000 that business output actually contracted for one quarter, the government said Wednesday in releasing a comprehensive revision of the gross domestic product.

Based on new data, the Commerce Department said that the GDP – the value of the country’s total output of goods and services – shrank by 0.5 percent at an annual rate in the July-September quarter of 2000. Previously, the government had said GDP was rising at a weak annual rate of 0.6 percent during that quarter.

So, stay with me here:
- “Known” 3Q 2000 result as of Dec. 2000 from MRC link — +2.2%
- “Final” revision before “comprehensive revision” — +0.6%

This is a HUGE swing compared to what we normally see. Differences between initial and revised results are usually within plus or minus 0.5%. They all relate to the last reported quarter before the 2000 elections. You can reach your own conclusions. It is at the very least a very curious coincidence.

Note: I believe that the “comprehensive change” to minus 0.5% that came later should not be a matter of concern, because, as the AP link says, it is “something the government does every four or five years based on more comprehensive economic data becoming available and also revisions in the methodology used to compile the GDP.”
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Selected BizzyBlog Blasts from the Past:

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1 Comment

  1. [...] it will take a D in the WH to get the P to tell the T. Then go BACK to Bizzyblog, because he’s written more, done more research. I’m glad someone is.

    By: TheAnchoress @ 4:14 am
    | [...]

    Pingback by The Anchoress » The Rodney Dangerfield Economy — October 30, 2005 @ 2:55 pm

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