November 20, 2007

MarketWatch Editor’s E-mail Enthusiasm for Economy Disappears in His Journalists’ Reports

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 11:18 pm

I receive the old-fashioned text version of MarketWatch’s daily e-mail. That version of the e-mail always starts out with a short note from the editor about something that is being covered at the site that day.

Monday’s e-mail from Steve Kerch, assistant managing editor/personal finance, was uncharacteristically enthusiastic about the economy:

You have to wonder about all those doomsayers who predict the U.S. economy is on the brink of recession when you look at hotel rooms in New York that are filled at $600 a night, airplanes packed with passengers paying top dollar for flights to the Caribbean and Europe and highways jammed with cars guzzling $3-plus gallons of gas.

As far as travel goes this Thanksgiving holiday, the American consumer is in full rally mode. And it’s not just the short jaunt to a family dinner on Thursday that’s on the menu: More and more folks are making the Thanksgiving week a major vacation window, with international travel in particular seeing a big jump.

Thanksgiving long ago turned from a one-day holiday into a four-day weekend as population migration forced more folks to travel longer distances for family gatherings. But with each passing year it seems the holiday gets extended further, a fall break to bookend spring break four months later.

….. All those people who can afford these trips sure have something to be thankful for. And even if you aren’t one of the crowd that’s on the move, you can be thankful those folks are helping prop up the economy.

Kerch’s enthusiasm wasn’t exactly reflected in MarketWatch reporter Greg Robb’s story that day on the state of the economy (MarketWatch links require free registration). Also note how the headline doesn’t reflect the story’s content (bold is mine):

Economists think U.S. can dodge recession

While the U.S. economy faces a higher risk of recession from credit markets, housing and energy prices, the economists surveyed “still do not see a recession as the most likely outcome,” said Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, the president of the National Association for Business Economics, who conducted the survey.

The median forecast expects the economy to slow in the fourth quarter to a 1.5% GDP growth rate and then gradually improve over the next year.

The economy grew at a 3.9% rate in the third quarter, and many economists expect an upward revision above 4.5% when the government revises the data on Nov. 29.

But according to the survey, some of the 50 economists expect a much steeper slowdown.

The five lowest forecasters expect growth at a paltry 0.5% rate in the fourth quarter and a 0.2% rate in the first quarter. But none forecast negative growth.

Given the unanaimity that growth will be positive, wouldn’t a more accurate headline have been “Economists: U.S Will Dodge Recession”?

In a Monday article about holiday travel, MarketWatch’s Laurie Mandaro turned a sunny economic outlook for the travel industry during the upcoming holiday into one involving trauma:

The travel purse is still plentiful for Thanksgiving

More crowded airports and highways this Thanksgiving travel season show U.S. consumers are overlooking high gasoline prices and falling home values when it comes to plane tickets and road trips, both more expensive than they were a year ago.

And they’re not only meeting family obligations: A growing number of air travelers are using the Thanksgiving week to take off for the Caribbean and Europe, new data show.

All this means more crowds on planes, at airports and on the roadways, prompting comparisons to another hectic experience in the nation’s collective psyche.

“It’s sort of like going to Disney in the summer,” said Barbara Higgins, vice president of customer experience for United Airlines …..

MarketWatch reporters could use an injection of Steve Kerch’s balanced perspective. And if long travel lines and heavy crowds are the worst things impacting our “collective psyche,” we truly do have a lot for which to be thankful.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

How the Housing Report Changed From First News to the Spun Story

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:56 pm

Here’s what a CNN e-mail I received said when the news was first released:

HousingStarts1107

Here’s how the headline at the home page turned out mid-morning:

HousingPermitsDown1107

Note how the bad news came first, with emphasis.

Here’s how the article appeared early in the afternoon:

CNNmoneyHouseStarts1107

Note how, given time, Old Media decided that the single-family news was more important than the news relating to housing starts in general. This is the first time in following these news reports for a couple of years that I’ve seen apartments broken out from single-family homes. Somebody had to look pretty hard for that.

The word “surprise,” which described housing starts in the e-mail, does not appear in the actual article.

It’s clear that the good news that came out in the original e-mail this morning was too much to handle. I guess that wouldn’t be consistent with the “Mortgage Meltdown” theme that CNN is clearly wedded to.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (112007)

Does the Plain Dealer Editorial Board have any idea how incoherent this editorial is? –

Strickland’s deeds on school finance fall well short of his words
School finance was a hot issue for candidate Strickland, but as governor he has backed way off – and that’s good

Yeah, as long as campaigning with a sense of educational reform urgency and governing with absolutely none is okey-dokey.

Dear PD: It’s not.

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From Mark Morford, the guy who brought you this in 2003 …..

These are the final days of peace in America. Please remember to turn off the lights and lock up when you leave.

These are the last days of relative calm before we start bombing and massacring hundreds of thousands of people and in so doing enter into what many believe will a very long, drawn-out, insanely expensive, volatile, destabilizing, completely unwinnable war against a cheap thug of an opponent who has negligible military might and zero capacity to actually harm the U.S. in any substantive way. U-S-A! U-S-A!

There’s this in 2007 (HT Dearborn Underground):

It is now safe to imagine. It is now becoming increasingly easy to actually dare to think that, in less than one year’s time, Dubya will begin packing his bags, jamming into his Spongebob duffel his map of the world coloring book, English-to-English translation dictionaries, mangled pocket edition of the U.S. Constitution, Bibleman action figure set and a “Mission Accomplished!” sweatshirt, and heading off to face his destiny as one of the bleakest, most morally repellent chapters in all of American history.

I wouldn’t make book on Mark Morford’s prescience.

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Part of Morford’s problem noted in the previous item may be that he’s been reading too many bias-laden, misleading, terror-sympathizing dispatches involving the AP’s Bilal Hussein, a stringer-photographer who will face criminal charges involving cooperating with the terrorist enemy in Iraq.

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This is NOT OK in Oklahoma:

A veteran political activist is facing 10 years in prison and a hefty fine for attempting to petition government for redress of grievances. The latest news from Pakistan? No, this is happening in Oklahoma.

Last month Paul Jacob, the former head of U.S. Term Limits and current head of Citizens in Charge, was led out of an Oklahoma City courtroom in handcuffs after pleading not guilty to charges that he conspired to defraud the state. Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who’s overseeing this bizarre prosecution, has accused Mr. Jacob and two fellow petition organizers–Rick Carpenter of Oklahomans in Action and Susan Johnson of National Voter Outreach–of bringing out-of-state petition gatherers to Oklahoma to collect signatures.

If Ohio has a law like Oklahoma’s, and if it had been enforced in 2005, there wouldn’t have been enough jail space in the whole state to accommodate the George Soros-backed out-of-state-dominated Reform Ohio Now crowd. Thankfully, their misguided initiatives all went down to crushing defeats.

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Here we go some more:

“A TOP aide to (New York Gov. Eliot) Spitzer involved in the Dirty Tricks Scandal angrily threatened to ‘professionally kill’ a top utility executive for opposing the governor’s energy policies, sources have told The (New York) Post.”

JammieWearingFool notes: “Shocking perhaps, but not surprising, considering Pope works for a guy who claims to be a ‘f—ing steamroller’ and is a notorious bully.”There was a time when the Post’s Gotham rival, the New York Times, would have reacted to being continually scooped. But a search on “Sptizer Pope” (not in quotes) at the New York Times indicates that they could care less. Being in the tank for Spitzer is apparently more important. At least the New York Daily News is doing a decent job of playing catchup.

Positivity: Doctors call man’s survival a ‘medical miracle’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Englewood, Colorado:

Man hit by a van walks out of hospital more than a month after crash
November 16, 2007

Doctors are calling the survival of a man who was run over by an out-of-control van last month in Centennial, a medical miracle.

21-year-old Victor Soto walked out of Swedish Hospital in Englewood Friday with his family, more than a month after nearly dying. He was mowing a yard near Easter and University on October 3rd when the van smashed through a backyard fence and hit him. Investigators say the paraplegic driver of the van lost control of the specially-equipped vehicle, struck a light pole, crossed all lanes of traffic, then went through a wooden fence before hitting Soto and dragging him across the yard.

Soto said today, “I only remember I was mowing a yard.” Lieutenant Ryan Knutsen with Littleton Fire and Rescue was among the first on the scene, saying “I remember seeing a tire track across his belly or chest.” Soto underwent three surgeries and was at first given less than a 50/50 chance of surviving, with most of his internal organs pushed out his back.

Go here for the rest of the story.