Topic: Media Research Center
We've documented how the Media Research Center rushed to declare that U.S. was in a full-blown recession -- largely so it could push right-wing narratives by blaming President Biden for it -- and attacked anyone to dared to suggest that two straight quarters of a (slightly) negative gross domestic product is not the only possbile definiton of what a recession is (and it even found a way to blame George Soros as well). Kevin Tober was still harping on the negative GDP numberds in a Sept. 29 post:
On Thursday morning, The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released their third and final revision on the nation’s GDP growth for the second quarter and it wasn’t good. The BEA found that the economy shrank 0.6 percent for the second straight quarter which means the United States economy is in a recession. Knowing this news is bad for the Biden administration and the Democrat Party [sic], the evening newscasts made sure to cover it up.
ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News both ignored the news entirely, while CBS Evening News allowed a scant 22 seconds to the story while avoiding the word “recession” or tying Biden and his disastrous economic policies to this in any way.
While CBS at least covered the negative GDP growth revision, ABC & NBC decided Queen Elizabeth’s autopsy report showing she died of old age, or Ginni Thomas’s beliefs on the validity of the 2020 elections were more important than the nation’s economy.
Tober offered no evidence that network newscasts have ever covered GDP revisions. Curtis Houck whined in a post the next day:
Amid their non-Hurricane Ian coverage on Friday, NBC’s Today and the 3rd Hour of Today returned to a recent liberal media trend in defending the Biden administration by dismissing the reality that the country’s in a recession. This time, they wondered if it “matter[s] when everything you buy everyday is more expensive” and “it doesn’t feel good out there.”
Of course, nowhere in either news show did the Biden administration come up or be assigned blame.
Of course, neither Tober nor Houck provided any evidence that specifically links any Biden policy to the decline in GDP.
In another Sept. 30 post, Joseph Vazquez hyped "the economy’s poor performance under Biden," adding that "following new third estimate data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showing that U.S. GDP contracted for the second straight quarter in a row to meet the technical definition of a recession, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 550 points on Thursday; the S&P 500 dropped 2.4 percent and the Nasdaq sank 3 percent." Vazquez cited only partisan right-wing sources like the New York Post and the Washington Examiner as purported proof that Biden was to blame.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the MRC's narrative manufacturing plant: GDP increased in the third quarter. That blew up the MRC's narrative, so it was forced to reverse direction. An Oct. 27 post by Tober demanded that we look beyond the numbers to argue that the GDP growth doesn't actually mean anything:
On Thursday morning, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released the third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) numbers which reportedly showed that the United States economy grew 2.6 percent in the third quarter. Predictably the three evening news networks hyped the supposedly good news for their friends in the Biden administration and ignored the real reason for the positive economic growth despite the two past quarters being negative. The 3rd quarter numbers were almost entirely due to U.S. trade exports, not due to the health of the economy at large.World News Tonight anchor David Muir began carrying water for the Biden administration and embattled Democrats running in this year's midterm elections by spinning the seemingly good numbers: "President Biden in Syracuse, New York, celebrating the new numbers on the economy today," Muir noted.
Hyping the numbers, Muir went on to report that "the gross domestic product, of course, a measure of goods and services produced increasing 2.6 percent this last quarter." Later on in the segment, he spoke to correspondent Terry Moran and gushed that "these were encouraging GDP numbers today."
Tober made sure to praise his favorite cable news channel for making the partisan narrative flip-flop along with the MRC:
Back in reality, on Fox News Channel's Special Report, Jacqui Heinrich told viewers the truth about the state of the economy: "At first glance, today's GDP Report suggests the U.S. Economy is turning around after two consecutive quarters of negative growth," Heinrich prefaced. "But a closer look shows the 2.6 percent growth was driven by fluctuations in international trade, not reflecting the underlying health of the economy and increased government spending."
Tober didn't explain why it suddenly became "reality" to look beyond the GDP numbers when it had criticized those who previously did so.
Despite having to explain away that inconenient number, the MRC continued to cling to the old narrative as well. A Nov. 1 post by Jeffrey Clark huffed that "the U.S. entered a recession roughly three months ago. A July Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) report revealed that GDP fell for a second quarter in a row, which meets the definition of a recession, according to American Institute for Economic Research economist Phillip Magness."Clark rehashed the obsolete talking point again in a Nov. 14 post:
For the “past century,” as economist Phillip Magness explained in August, a recession has primarily been defined as GDP falling for two consecutive quarters. That’s precisely what happened in July, per a Bureau of Economic Analysis report, but President Joe Biden’s media cronies have been crusading to redefine the meaning of the word “recession” in an attempt to stem political backlash from President Joe Biden’s economic disaster.
In both posts, Clark censored the fact that GDP increased in the most recent quarter -- which would have undermined his narrative. And narrative is more important than the truth at the MRC.