July 27, 2012

CNN Email Alert: ‘GDP Report Tops Forecasts’ (By One-Tenth of a Point)

Today’s report on the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) during the second quarter didn’t impress anyone — except, apparently those who send out email alerts to CNN Money subscribers.

For several years, it has seemed like the primary goal of these alerts has been to create the illusion of pervasive prosperity when the economic news is even remotely tolerable, and to ignore or downplay news that is really bad — all so that the relatively disengaged can be convinced that the economy isn’t performing as poorly as it really is. The email alert received shortly after the government released its report showing that the economy grew at an annualized 1.5% rate during the second quarter arguably fits both categories:


Note that CNN made sure to, like, not tell readers what the GDP figure really was. Yes, they said what is was in an email an hour earlier right after the report got released, but that doesn’t cut it — not when you’re bragging about such a pathetic number and how it is supposedly the reason for an uptick in the market.

As seen at my home blog this morning, the pre-release predictions I found were (the original reports have since been replaced by revisions after the report was released):

- Bloomberg — 1.4%
- Associated Press — 1.5%
- Reuters — 1.4%

Additionally, Business Insider’s morning email had 1.4%.

So I’m supposed to believe that the markets got excited about the reported GDP number coming in a whole one-tenth of a point higher than most of the major forecasts? Give me a break.

In a report which seems to have disappeared after subsequent revisions the Associated Press’s Martin Crutsinger put a different and more tolerable spin on the market’s opening rise, claiming in essence that it was because today’s report wasn’t as bad as some forecasters thought it might be. I’m not convinced the markets were reacting to the confirmation of what everyone pretty much knew was coming as much as it was beginning to build enthusiasm (naively, I believe) over supposed “improvement” in the problematic situation in Europe.

Can anyone expect excitement (CNN) or relief (AP) with a GDP number so low in a Republican or conservative administration? Neither can I.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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