The boys at NewsBusters are tearing themselves away from their obsession over Jesse Jackson's "nuts" comment to run to the defense of Phil Gramm's seemingly indefensible claim that America is in a "mental recession" and America is a "nation of whiners."
How so? By trying to prove that Gramm is right and blame -- you guessed it -- the liberal media for anyone thinking that there's a recession:
A July 10 post by Brent Baker (also an MRC CyberAlert item) claimed that ABC's Charles Gibson "conceded 'the fundamentals of the economy may be sound, as Gramm argues." Huh? Housing and oil aren't economic fundamentals? Baker also asserted that "ABC's World News has delighted in highlighting silly whining from hapless Americans."
Scott Whitlock insisted that "when discussing former Senator Gramm's comment about whining, media outlets should examine their own role in this debate."
Ken Shepherd cited an unreliable opt-in poll to assert that "61 percent of respondents think that, yes, America is a nation of whiners" and lamented how "the media refuse to take responsibility for their role in hyping doom and gloom to make America's economic woes seem worse than they objectively are."
Kyle Drennen resorted to the narrowly technical: "In reality, Gramm’s assertion that America is not in a real recession is completely accurate, as a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth and there has yet to be even one quarter of negative growth."
Justin McCarthy similarly insisted that "remark that we are not in a recession is a fact."
Nathan Burchfiel echoed Whitlock, claiming that "the media have played a big role in drumming up negativity and pessimism about the economy. Gramm criticized the media for ignoring positive things that are happening with the economy."
Lyndsi Thomas cited a MRC Business & Media Institute report to claim that "print media coverage at the actual beginning of the Great Depression was more balanced and less hyperbolic than current reporting about the economy, which has been cooling, but not yet entered a recession." But that report compared apples to oranges --"daily news reports from Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, 1929, in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post ... were compared to daily reports on ABC, CBS and NBC from March 13 to March 19, 2008."
Kneejerk defense is an amazing thing, isn't it? We can't wait to see how NewsBusters spins McCain's statement that the funding mechanism used by Social Security since its inception is an "absolute disgrace."