‘These are prosperous times in America.”
If that sounds like pro-Trump propaganda, that’s because it’s rarely uttered by anyone who isn’t already a supporter of the current president.
But that’s how National Public Radio, to its credit, began a story about the incredible jobs boom underway right now in a segment called “America Is In Full Employment, So Why Aren’t We Celebrating?”
“Why doesn’t today’s full employment come with effervescence?” reporters Pallavi Gogoi and Scott Horsley ask.
But while the reporters do a good job of describing the widespread benefits of the current economy, they also manage, in asking that question, to expose the extreme bias at work among the overwhelming majority of their colleagues in the press.
“Unemployment has reached a nearly 50-year low. The jobless rate for Hispanics has never been lower; the past two years have been the best job market ever for African Americans. Wages are starting to rise — and, more significantly, for the lowest-paid workers. That may not endure, but it’s a reversal of the long-term trend where the most highly paid workers were also the best rewarded. The job market today is so hot that groups that were sort of on the margins also are finding opportunities — including people with disabilities or a prison record.”
Did you get all that? Wages are rising for the lowest-paid workers. Minority groups have never had it so good. People at the margins are getting pulled back into the labor market.
So why, they ask, is the country “not quite exuding the self-possession or excitement that should accompany these exceptional times.”
First of all, that claim that nobody is celebrating the current economy is wrong. Every measure of consumer confidence and optimism is up. In some cases, way up.
Just this month, the IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index hit a 15-year high of 58.6 — anything over 50 signals optimism. By contrast, this index averaged below 50 for President Obama’s entire eight years in office.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index also hit a 15-year high in its latest rating.
The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which was 98.6 the month before the 2016 presidential election, is now at 129.2. The index was 100 in 1985, when the economy was in the middle of the Reagan boom.
Measures of business confidence are high, as is the biggest measure of confidence around — the stock market.
The fact that the NPR reporters aren’t aware of this shift in confidence says more about the bubble they live in than what is actually happening in the country.
Inside this bubble, it’s all doom and gloom, anger and frustration, and an absolute fixation on driving President Trump from office. The idea that people are happy is alien because, inside the bubble, nobody is. The closest they get is to say that “anger over politics may be skewing views of the economy.”
That is why, in detailing the “exceptional times” we live in today, the NPR reporters never once mention what has contributed significantly to bringing them about. Namely, President Trump’s economic policies of tax cuts and deregulation.
Nor do they cast an eye on their own profession. If there’s not dancing in the streets, it’s because the mainstream press refuses to cover the economy. Or if they do, they fixate on the negative.
This bias isn’t new, by the way. In the early 1990s, coverage of the economy suddenly turned overwhelmingly positive in 1993. That, of course, was the year control of the White House shifted from Republican to Democratic hands.
Throughout President Obama’s eight years, reporters tried desperately to put a happy face on a gloomy and historically anemic economic recovery.
Of course, Trump is often his own worst enemy when it comes to championing the growth on his watch by drawing attention to other matters. Then again, when he does boast about the economy, the press either ignore it entirely, or pick at nits.
If you want to fully understand incredible bias at work, try to imagine how today’s economy would be covered under a Democrat. It would be a constant media celebration. Proof that Democratic policies work to lift all boats. Etc.
The only reason there is no joy in the journalist equivalent of Mudville today is because Trump didn’t strike out.
— Written by John Merline
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