February 18, 2013

AP’s Sidoti Bemoans ‘Collective Obsession With the Trivial’ as Its Business Reporters Whitewash the Economy

Liz Sidoti’s offering this morning at the Associated Press, which is clearly a serious competitor for Worst AP Item Ever, carries the “column” label. As such, I suppose we’re expected to accept the idea that the “analysis” offered is hers alone.

But you would think that the self-described “essential global news network” would have enough business judgment to review a reporter’s work to make sure it doesn’t talk down to the general public and indict its own reporting on the economy at the same time. You would be wrong, as will be seen after the jump.

Sidoti’s condescending wrap reads thusly (bold is mine):

So you out there: If you want the country to stop obsessing on the trivial, start with yourself. Before you take to Twitter to smart off about the small stuff in public life, stop and ponder for a moment. Like no other generation, suddenly you have a global megaphone. Ask yourself: Is this really, truly something worth shouting about?

And if not, consider making a choice that so many have such a difficult time with these days. Instead of a fleeting moment of snark on a minor matter, maybe, this once, maybe just shut up already.

You might be making a tiny investment in our future.

Liz, it’s not news when everyday people tweet. It’s almost always irrelevant. What’s truly relevant is the press’s obsession with trivia. You bemoan the national obsession over Marco Rubio’s drink in an earlier sentence, when last week your own Ken Thomas burned through over 500 words in a clearly agenda-driven “news” piece entitled: “Rubio’s Sip of Water Joins Line of Political Slips.”

As to your admonishment to “shut up already,” why don’t you pass that message on to your wire service’s business and economics reporters? If the AP and other news organizations are really interested in having an informed public, they need to have their reporters stick to the facts and “shut up already” with their pedestrian and often embarrassing “analysis” (and by the way, I have confirmed that AP reporters believe that engaging in such “analysis” is an integral part of their jobs).

Let’s look at Sidoti’s three opening paragraphs:

Persistently high unemployment. A sluggish economy. Debt. Deficit. Obesity. Fundamental disputes over guns, immigration and the climate. A to-do list that would exhaust even the most vigorous multitasker. A meteor in Russia, even.

Yet what created one of the buzziest brouhahas in America last week? Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s inopportune sip of water on live TV.

Enormous challenges pack the nation’s plate, but this country just can’t seem to get enough of the small stuff.

I’ll only concentrate on Sidoti’s first four items: “Persistently high unemployment. A sluggish economy. Debt. Deficit.” Others can and will surely have a field day with the rest.

“Persistently high unemployment”? Gosh Liz, the average low-information voter has to believe that things are continually improving. After all, seemingly every unemployment claims and jobs report, virtually regardless of content, gets some kind of positive label, i.e., “mostly encouraging,” “outlook … brightening,” “gradually improving,” “gradually gaining momentum,” and the like. (Additionally, as NewsBusters and the Media Research Center have shown, the labels are far more positive in identical situations when a Democrat or liberal is in the White House compared to when a conservative or Republican is there.)

“Sluggish economy”? We almost never see basic facts about how the current slow-motion recovery compares to previous ones. Almost no one knows that it’s the worst by far since World War II, especially in terms of jobs, because the press almost never says so. As an Investor’s Business Daily editorial noted after the most recent jobs report: “It took an average of just 24 months to regain all the jobs lost in the previous nine recessions. But at the current Obama job-creation pace, it will take about 80 months to regain those lost jobs.” It’s a sad situation when one learns more from a few IBD and Wall Street Journal editorials than one can glean from dozens of alleged straight-news reports. Instead, we get items like the White House press release equivalent generated by the AP’s Christopher Rugaber just before the President Obama’s State of the Union speech last week: “A US Economy That’s Strengthened Over Past 4 Years.”

As to the national “debt and deficit,” AP reporters routinely gloss over, avoid, de-emphasize, and omit key facts. Very few people know that the Obama administration, during its first four years, has run up deficits at an annual rate that is over triple what the Bush 43 administration ran up during its final seven years. Instead, AP and other establishment press reporters will only tell us that “Bush ran deficits too.” The press almost never cites the tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded obligations in Social Security, Medicare, and public-sector pensions, or the constantly deterioriating projections in the nation’s impending “grand experment” known as ObamaCare.

The bottom line, Liz Sidoti, is this: The establishment press is feeding “our collective obsession with the trivial” to an extent never seen in the past — partially out of financial desperation, and partially because obsessing over trivia crowds out serious reporting which would inevitably have to expose how the Obama administration is causing millions of people to suffer needlessly, holding back economic growth, and driving the nation to financial ruin.

If you’re looking for someone to blame for “our collective obsession with the trivial,” Liz, look in the mirror.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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