Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has long been hypocritical about coverage of the economy and how the media should cover it. During the Trump years, it attacked the non-right-wing media for allegedly talking down the economy:
- An April 2019 post by Julia Seymour huffed: "In spite of growing wages, extremely low unemployment and nearly 3 percent economic growth in 2018, the liberal media are becoming obsessed with recession. It didn’t matter that CFOs were confident the U.S. economy “will not experience a recession” in 2019. They were fixated by recession prospects in March anyway. Every. Single. Day."
- In August 2019, Ryan Foley hyped how "FNC host Martha MacCallum reported that 'fears of a recession seem to be running high and some in the media seem almost giddy that an economic downturn would hinder President Trump’s chances in 2020,'" adding that "MacCallum slammed the 'unpatriotic' and 'inhumane' media for rooting for a recession in the hopes that an economic downturn will cause him to lose re-election."
- In another August 2019 post, Kristine Marsh touted how Fox Business host Charles Payne complained about "how the media is now openly hoping for an economic recession under President Trump. Payne called the media’s newest obsession a 'deliberate' attempt to derail the good economy under Trump, and argued there was 'no economic data' to suggest a recession was near."
- An August 2019 post by Julia Seymour,noted that "Fox News MediaBuzz anchor Howard Kurtz had an important question for anchor Maria Bartiromo: could negative media talk damage the U.S. economy?" adding: "Her answer was yes. She argued that the media could impact consumers and their spending decisions and that could harm the economy and said, 'Yes, you can actually have the media talking us into a recession.'"
- Kyle Drennen grumbled in a September 2019 post about an ABC poll showing a "dramatic drop in the President’s approval rating" that "seems to be fueled by real concerns about the economy": "Following weeks of the media rooting for a recession to hurt Trump’s reelection chances, the ABC morning show appeared thrilled that tactic was working with some of its viewers."
- Then, in a January 2020 post, Trump cheerleader Joseph Vazquez crowed that "President Donald Trump’s economy has continued to stupefy prognosticators going into the new year," quoting one analyst calling it "nearly recession-proof." That certainly didn't age well, did it?
On Wednesday’s The 11th Hour on MSNBC, in her discussion with NPR business correspondent David Gura, host Stephanie Ruhle proved once again that she knows very little about economics or even basic business. While Americans are suffering under crushing inflationary pressures, Ruhle let the Biden administration off the hook and claimed the media and people with political agendas are leading the United States into a recession and enabling businesses to use the constant drum beat of inflation chatter as an excuse to raise prices.
While Ruhle did tacitly admit that the amount of stimulus pumped into the economy helped lead to the forty-year high inflation, she excused the spending because we were in a once-in-a-century pandemic.
Ruhle then jumped in to claim her audience who she just whipped up into a panic, by explaining “a recession does not mean the great depression, they happen, they happen every few years. Sometimes for a long period, time sometimes for a short period of time, it is a normal part of our economic cycle.”
That is comforting to Americans who will lose their jobs if there is a recession to know that it could last for a “short period of time.”
We've also noted how the MRC has been quick to scream "recession!" -- indeed, it was rooting for one even though one definition of it, two straight quarters of non-positive GDP, had not even been confirmed yet. In a July 26 post before that number came out, Jeffrey Clark lashed out at a Biden economic adviser -- who he denigrated as a "lackey" in his headline -- for committing the apparent heresy of arguing that two straight quarters of negative GDP might not be the only standard:
President Joe Biden’s chief economic advisor claimed that the economy is “demonstrating resilience” and attempted to split hairs over the definition of a recession to protect his boss at the expense of the American people.
Asked whether a recession was coming, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese nitpicked the “technical definition” of a recession on the July 25 edition of CNN’s New Day with John Berman and Brianna Keilar. “Certainly, in terms of the technical definition, it’s not a recession, the technical definition considers a much broader spectrum of data points.” Deese did not provide an example of the “broader spectrum of data points” to fit his spin.
And to Deese’s gaslighting on the economy, U.S. GDP fell 1.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to CNBC. If GDP falls once again — as the entire country will learn this Thursday — then the U.S. will enter a recession. But that seems to be a very inconvenient truth for the Biden administration.
When the GDP numbers finally did come in and showed a second straight quarter of negative growth, Clark returned with a July 28 post under screaming headline "RECESSION":
Four liberal outlets peered into their crystal balls and declared that the economy would show signs of growth, not shrinkage, just days and weeks ahead of the government’s second-quarter GDP report.
There was just one problem with that sordid attempt to get out in front of the news: The economy ended up contracting for a second quarter in a row, meeting the practical and long-held definition of a recession.
Bloomberg News, CNN, Reuters and MarketWatch promoted absurd predictions that the economy would expand in the second quarter, not contract. The federal government’s GDP statistics released this morning proved every single one of these outlets completely wrong.
Clark didn't explain how not pushing right-wing narratives about the economy made all four of those outlets "liberal." Still, he huffed that "These stories followed a barrage of articles from the liberal pravda machine attempting to shield President Joe Biden from any responsibility for a recession." As if Clark wasn't working for a right-wing pravda in talking down the economy.
A July 29 post by Vazquez whined that PolitiFact and even Siri wouldn't adhere to the newly preferred rigid right-wing definition of a recession:
Facebook fact-checker PolitiFact played the role of the village idiot by fact-checking an Instagram post that dared to slam the Biden White House for redefining the word “recession.”
PolitiFact ran one of its so-called “fact-checks” July 27 with a headline that blared: “No, the White House didn’t change the definition of ‘recession.’” PolitiFact senior correspondent Louis Jacobson chose to attack an Instagram post that used Siri to define the meaning of a recession. “The White House is now trying to protect Joe Biden by changing the definition of the word recession,” said Dear America podcast host Graham Allen. Allen then asked Apple's Siri, which defined recession as a “period of temporary economic decline” that is “generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.” But Jacobson, in all his wisdom, accused Siri of having just “plucked” the definition from an “online dictionary." “ This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed,” Jacobson squealed.
Vazquez found a biased economist from the libertarian American Institute for Economic Research Research to complain that the National Bureau of Economic Research is not "the official arbiter of recessions," as PolitiFact suggested.
Tim Graham grumbled in a post promoting his July 29 podcast on the subject:
When the fact emerged that we've had two quarters of negative economic growth, marking a recession, the so-called "reality-based press" suddenly folded and let the Biden people "push back" at reality.
Let's talk about recession denialism. Recession denial is worse than "climate denial." There's a traditional definition by economists that now is all "informal" and "not definitive."
Graham didn't mention that he and his employer have been working to make "misinformation" a subjective thing lest he and his fellow right-wingers be accused of spreading it.
That was echoed in a July 30 column by Jeffrey Lord, under the headline "Journalists Tank Their Remaining Credibility With Recession Denial":
As noted here in NewsBusters, the liberal media’s reflex to protect Biden is yet again on display, this time with the Biden problem being that yes, indeed, the U.S. has just experienced two quarters of negative economic growth — considered by economists as the official sign the US is in a recession. (For more, see Accuracy in Media's comprehensive round-up of media spin.)
But wait! That’s Joe Biden in the White House, not Trump or some other Republican! The media has quickly rolled out its latest “protect Joe” campaign.
Says the guy who spent years protecting Donald Trump and has tanked what little credibility he has by defending the corrupt, falsehood-laden right-wing channel One America News.
Clark then showed how much more important pushing a political narrative is to him by using an Aug. 3 post to promote another discredited activist: "Glenn Beck RIPS Biden: The President ‘Refuses to Recognize Truth’ on Recession, Inflation." On at the MRC would a charlatan like Beck be considered a credible observer.