The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: biden boom

Biden Boom Hits New Heights, As Press Buries The Good News

When the Commerce Department on Thursday announced that the economy just grew at the fastest rate in nearly 40 years, posting robust growth numbers not seen since the Reagan era, none of the network newscasts treated the announcement as a big deal. In fact, two of the three newscasts, “ABC World News Tonight” and “CBS Evening News” didn’t even cover the story on Thursday — “NBC Nightly News” gave it one sentence.

The same media that remains in inflation hyperventilation mode, just cannot work up the energy to consistently inform news consumers about the red-hot economy under President Joe Biden. It won’t billboard the fact that it grew so rapidly in the fourth quarter of last year that it pushed the annual gross domestic product rate — the broadest measure of economic activity — to an eye-popping 5.7 percent. (The GDP under Trump never got above 3 percent.) Consumer spending also soared 7.9 percent last year, the quickest clip in since 1946.

So attached to the idea of using economic news to bash Biden, the press doesn’t know what to do when the data demolish the media’s preferred storyline. That was obvious by the fact that the coverage of the blockbuster GDP news seemed to go out of its way not to mention him.

In its GDP news piece, the New York Times made no reference to Biden or that the soaring economic data were a boost for the administration. But when the Times covers jobs reports and inflation updates it makes sure to emphasize, prominently in the coverage, that that news is bad for Biden. In its reporting on the jump in the December inflation rate, the newspaper mentioned Biden in the very first sentence, referencing, “a troubling development for President Biden and economic policymakers.”

This trend is quite common. The Associated Press in its reporting on high inflation in December also mentioned Biden in the first sentence, while its recent report on GDP figures didn’t mention him until the tenth paragraph, and made no suggestion that the figures represented a win for the White House.

Then there were the news outlets that acknowledged the GDP numbers were good news, but stressed that bad news was likely around the corner. “Economy Caps Strong Year as Worries Lurk,” was the Wall Street Journal page-one print headline. CNN rushed in with similar, glass-half-empty analysis: “The Economy Boomed in Biden's First Year. His Second Will Be Harder.”

The CNN spin was especially remarkable because the network spent the second half of last year burying Biden with doomsday economic coverage, especially regarding inflation, which was deemed a “political nightmare for Biden.” (Remember CNN’s wacky report about gallons of milk?) Then when GDP numbers confirmed that the economy had been on fire last year, CNN begrudgingly acknowledged the fact (“the economy boomed”), then quickly insisted Biden faces economic trouble in 2022.

Heads, Biden loses. Tails, Biden loses.

That media drumbeat of negativity, cheered on by the GOP, has taken its toll. Recently asked in a YouGov poll if they had “heard mostly positive or mostly negative news stories about the economy,” 48 percent of Americans said “mostly negative,” and just 8 percent said “mostly positive.” (28 percent said both negative/positive, and 16 percent said they hadn’t heard much about the economy at all.) Those results came in the wake of a media study that showed Biden was getting worse coverage late last year then Trump did in late 2020.

Note that the same day the GDP announcement was made, a National Public Radio reporter was on Twitter asking listeners to share their stories of economic gloom: “Has your 2021 raise been wiped out by #inflation? Has your 401k taken such a steep dive you're rethinking retirement? The @nprbusiness desk wants to hear from you.” The plea raised the obvious question: Why does NPR only want to hear bad news about the economy?

Another key fact about the coverage: The GDP for 2021 obliterated expectations that had been set by economists during the run-up to the announcement. Yet still the press shrugged. That’s telling because when it comes to reporting on monthly jobs reports, the press bases its coverage entirely around the same type of expectations. When 199,000 new jobs were added in December, the press treated that as bad news (“faltering,” “a major disappointment”) because the key number failed to beat expectations.

Last year, NPR announced the 210,000-jobs report for November was a “bust” even though the unemployment rate tumbled from 4.6 percent to 4.2 percent in just 30 days. By contrast, back in January of 2020, NPR cheered that the U.S. economy under Trump was “revved up” because 225,000 jobs had been created. That jobs report was good news because it beat expectations.

So why wasn’t the estimate-beating GDP news treated as a huge deal? NPR, which has been committed to doomsday economic coverage under Biden, tried to downplay the news, suggesting that “believe it or not” the economy grew last year.

For NPR, good economic news under Biden is treated as a mirage.

Reprinted with permission from PressRun

Massive December Job Growth Offers More Evidence Of 'Biden Boom'

The economy added 807,000 private-sector jobs in December, more than double what economists had forecasted, providing more grist for claims that President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan is boosting economic recovery.

Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal predicted only modest gains of 375,000 jobs. But the ADP Employment Report, released Wednesday morning by the payroll company, signaled the economy's second-highest private jobs tally since May. Last month, private-sector jobs grew by 534,000.

The White House cheered on the news, pointing to the report as more evidence of a Biden economic boom."December was another month of strong private sector job growth," White House chief of staff Ronald Klain wrote on Twitter. "The American Rescue Plan has bolstered our economy, even in the face of COVID."

Robert J. Shapiro, a columnist for the Washington Monthly who worked as an economics adviser for both the Obama and Clinton administrations, wrote in December that few have noted the "Biden boom," even as Biden has overseen the largest real GDP growth rate in the century. During the first three-quarters of 2021, real GDP increased at almost eight percent annually, compared to an average rate of 2.2 percent growth from 2000 to 2019.

A December report from the Roosevelt Institute found that Biden's signature legislative accomplishment, a $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus bill passed in March called the American Rescue Plan, spurred massive job growth while protecting the economy from the pandemic's worst ill effects.

"We're entering 2022 in a position of a unique economic strength: Six million new jobs — a record number for a new President — have been created since January last," Biden said Monday. "Unemployment is down to 4.2 percent, three years ahead of predictions. New small-business applications are up over 30 percent compared with before the pandemic. And the fastest growth in America in nearly 40 years."

But Republicans continue to hammer Biden on the economy.

"Joe Biden just claimed the U.S. is "entering 2022 in a position of unique economic strength" GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote on Twitter Monday. "The facts: Inflation is highest in 39 years, job growth has stalled, and the supply chain is in crisis."

Some economic experts beg to differ, however. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who was nominated by former President Donald Trump, cheered the falling unemployment rate in December, saying, "amid improving labor market conditions and very strong demand for workers, the economy has been making rapid progress toward maximum employment."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

New Poll Confirms Media Are Burying Us In Slanted Economic News

Reprinted with permission from PressRun

By a staggering ratio of six-to-one, Americans say they are seeing and hearing bad economic news more often than they are positive reports. The new polling results confirm the deep disconnect the media have constructed, as news outlets stress. discouraging news regarding the Biden economy, while often ignoring or downplaying the cascading positive developments.

Still committed to the GOP-friendly — and fictitious — storyline about a U.S. economy in decline, the press is damaging President Joe Biden’s approval rating by painting a false portrait of America. It’s doing the Republicans’ bidding — and the messaging is working.

Recently asked in a YouGov poll if they had “heard mostly positive or mostly negative news stories about the economy,” 48 percent of Americans said “mostly negative,” and just eight percent said “mostly positive.” (28 percent said both negative/positive, and 16 percent said they hadn’t heard much about the economy at all.)

Those results are stunning, considering how many positive economic developments are being generated. Just in recent days we’ve learned that gas prices will soon be falling, wages are hitting record heights for workers, and that weekly jobless claims haven’t been this low since Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock. Yet for most Americans, there’s only one economic story being told — a doomsday one.

The YouGov polling results come in the wake of a new media study that shows Biden is getting worse coverage than Trump did one year ago.

That nonstop stream of downbeat economic updates today has clearly influenced respondents in other ways. When asked “Which do you think is a more important problem facing the U.S. today,” just nine percent said unemployment, where the news was been consistently good this year, but has often been underplayed by the press. By contrast, 42 percent said inflation was the most important problem, a topic that the media have hyped without pause for nearly two months echoing Republicans’ loud, doomsday attacks on the Biden economy. (Remember that weird CNN milk story?)

“The nonstop hype of “inflation, inflation, inflation” unsurprisingly leads many people to believe inflation is a really big problem, even if their own finances are pretty good, because they hear all those wise reporters at CNN, NPR, the NYT and elsewhere telling them it’s a really big problem,” notes economist Dean Baker.

A new Associated Press poll confirms Baker’s claim. The headline: “Income Is Up, But Americans Focus on Inflation.” Why is that? Probably because Americans are inundated with the media’s obsessive inflation coverage.

It’s a “political nightmare for Biden,” CNN recently stressed, while the New York Times published well over 100 articles and columns that mentioned “inflation” three or more times last month. The Washington Post announced inflation is the “defining” challenge of Biden’s presidency. Why inflation? Because the press decided.

The reason inflation has sprouted in the U.S. is because consumer demand is booming as the economy has recovered from Covid faster and stronger under Biden than most people ever thought possible. That silver lining rarely gets mentioned, though.

Contrast the inflation coverage with the unemployment coverage. In the YouGov poll, asked what today’s unemployment rate is, just three in ten Americans could give an accurate response; approximately four percent. Nearly four in ten thought the rate was above six percent. (17 percent thought the U.S. unemployment rate was 10 percent or more.) Just one in three knew that the rate decreased last month. Would more Americans have a better idea about today’s improving unemployment picture if the press more accurately covered it? Yes.

When the October blockbuster jobs report was released showing nearly 550,000 positions created that month, and that revised estimates for September and August confirmed an additional 235,000 jobs had been created, NBC Nightly News that night made no mention of that fact. But when the November jobs report came last week out and showed a “disappointing” 210,000 jobs added, “NBC Night News” slotted it in as the day’s third most important story.

Last Friday, National Public Radio announced the 210,000-jobs report was a “bust” even though the unemployment rate tumbled from 4.6 percent to 4.2 percent in just 30 days. And prior to Biden passing the Covid relief bill last winter, the CBO predicted it would take until 2025 for the U.S. to reach an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent. For NPR listeners though, the economic news last week was a “bust.”

This was all before Pfizer and BioNTech announced that initial lab studies show that a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine neutralizes the looming Omicron variant, which the press had been hyping as a possible grenade targeting the U.S. economy.

On Wednesday, the White House tweeted out an economic update: “The economy has added 5.9M new jobs since January — the most jobs added in the first 11 months of a year. Since January, unemployment has fallen from 6.3% to 4.2% — the fastest single year drop. 16M fewer people are receiving unemployment since POTUS took office.”

That’s not spin, those are the facts. We’re witnessing the Biden Boom. So why are news consumers being buried with bad news?