Thursday, April 03, 2008

John Lott: Recession Media Nudged

On Fox News Network, during an interview, John R. Lott claimed the recession talk started months ago, by the media, and it's a self-fulfilling prophecy situation - a creation of the media that's been talking about recession.

Lott was asked about Bernake's report concerning statistics' downturn.

Lott restated the media created the situation by downplaying a good economy, etc...

The 'Recession' Is a Media Myth
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
By John R. Lott, Jr.

A little perspective on the economy would be helpful. The average unemployment rate during President Clinton was 5.2 percent. The average under President George W. Bush is just slightly below 5.2. The current unemployment rate is4.8 percent, almost half a percentage point lower than these averages.

The average inflation rate under Clinton was 2.6 percent, under Bush it is 2.7 percent. Indeed, one has to go back to the Kennedy administration to find a lower average rate. True the inflation rate over the last year has gone up to 4 percent, but that is still lower than the average inflation rate under all the presidents from Nixon through Bush’s father.

Gas prices are indeed up 33 percent over the last year, but to get an average of 4 percent means that lots of other prices must have stayed the same or gone down. On other fronts, seasonally adjusted civilian employment is 650,000 people greater than it was a year ago. Personal income grew at a strong half of one percent in just February.

Despite all that, this last week, Barack Obama proclaimed “As most experts know, our economy is in a recession.” Hillary Clinton made similar staements last fall. Yet, as any economist knows, a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth, and we haven’t even had one single quarter of negative growth reported. The economy slowed down significantly during the end of last year, but that was after a sizzling annual GDP growth rate of 4.9 percent in the third quarter.

Housing has obviously been a big drag on the economy, but many other sectors of the economy, such as exports, have been doing well, some extremely well. For example, aerospace exports increased by over 13 percent last year.

The media’s focus on the negative side of everything surely helps explain people’s pessimism. In a recent interview Fox’s Neil Cavuto claimed this bias “is all part of the media’s plan to get a Democrat in the White House.”

Indeed, research has indicated that media bias is real. Kevin Hassett and I looked at 12,620 newspaper and wire service headlines from 1985 through 2004 for stories on the release of official government releasing numbers on the unemployment rate, number of people employed, gross domestic product (GDP), retail sales, and durable goods...,2933,343671,00.html

John Lott website

Shameless Liberal Media Distorts the True State of the Economy
FOX: The ‘Recession’ Is a Media Myth By John R. Lott, Jr. During the 2000 election, with Bill Clinton as president, the economy was viewed through rose-colored glasses.

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