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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Is It Neutral Reporting to Just Present Anything Politicians Say as Reasonable?

Is It Neutral Reporting to Just Present Anything Politicians Say as Reasonable?

Friday, 03 June 2011 10:43

This is the practice at the WSJ when it comes to Republican nonsense on the economy. The Republicans blamed the economy's weak job performance in May on the deficit and regulations. Is there any coherent story that they can tell on this or does the WSJ not care?

Suppose the Republicans blamed the weak jobs numbers on the Chicago Bulls loss in the NBA semi-finals. Would this also just be repeated without comment. How about if they blamed it on the color purple? Sure, it's just a he said/she said world.

For the record, if a serious person made this argument then they would back it up with evidence. For example, firms that make longer hiring commitments would be doing less hiring than firms in industries with rapid turnover. (Try to explain the loss of temp jobs in May.) We should also see a big increase in average hours worked, since this does not require any commitment by employers. (We don't.)

If reporters did their jobs, politicians would actually have to make coherent arguments when they talked about the economy, instead of just saying whatever nonsense advanced their political agenda.



Comments (6)Add Comment
iterative nonsense
written by frankenduf, June 03, 2011 1:13
y not just cut out the middle man and blame obama?- duh- these guys really are incompetent
written by anonn, June 03, 2011 2:19
What do you think of Robert Murphy's rebuttal of your comments in the congressional subcommittee on gas prices?

written by joe, June 03, 2011 4:33
Murphy says: "As Mises will explain, the other option is for the currency to retain its strength while domestic prices directly fall. This isn't simply a theoretical possibility, either; it's in fact the route I would recommend in the present environment"

That's Greece, Spain and Ireland and it's a disaster. They have to deflate their way to recovery rather than devalue their way to recovery since they are tied to the Euro.

Basically Murphy would prefer lower wages to a weaker dollar. It's a good example of how the Austrian school policies lead to a upward transfer of wealth.
written by bob, June 03, 2011 4:47
"Is there any coherent story that they can tell on this or does the WSJ not care?"

The answer is that the WSJ does not care. The WSJ - or more precisely, the owners and top management at the WSJ - want less business regulation and want the public to focus on the national debt. Therefore, they demand their reporters find quotes and story premises to serve as wrapping paper for their bosses' preconceived demands.

Like Fox News, the Wall Street Journal has become a propaganda tool, not a journalistic publication. Which is exceedingly sad to those of us old enough to remember when it was otherwise.
written by skeptonomist, June 04, 2011 9:29
The NY Times has its contribution to this nonsense on the business pages today:


The authors are supposedly "analyzing" the news, but they simply accept the absurd claim that Republican policies are designed to decrease unemployment and reduce deficits. There seems to be a bizarre taboo in the major media which forbids mention of real motivations, which include the desire of rich people to minimize their taxes, the desire of Wall Street to get its hands on the money flowing through SS, the desire of health-care industries to maintain their profits, etc. etc. The taboo forbids acknowledgement of the existence of class war, except when Republican politicians accuse Democrats and unions of starting it when trying to raise taxes on rich people or prevent wages from falling.
written by John Q, June 04, 2011 10:57
What's more disturbing is the failure of the Democrats to counter the Republicans' BS, leaving naive readers to believe the Republicans must have a point. Even though the press refuses to point out world-is-flat nonsense, it might at least report he said/she said if the Democrats responded forcefully with world-is-round statements.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.