Issues & Insights

Why Do The Media Ignore Good News About The Stock Market And Economy?

The stock market is the greatest wealth creator in America. Still, it gets no respect from the media. Source: Wikimedia Commons

I&I Editorial

Our TV-based media, so besotted with the far-left progressive agenda they now espouse, no longer seem to care about some issues of great importance – that is, unless they reflect badly on President Donald Trump or Republicans . This double standard is especially true of such bread-and-butter issues as the state of the economy and markets, which have an enormous effect on all Americans, including the so-called progressive ones.

Amid all the nonstop televised gloom and doom over the coronavirus, something strange happened in the second quarter of this year: Stock market prices soared. The Dow Jones Industrial Index jumped 18%, the S&P 500 gained 20% and the tech-oriented Nasdaq surged 31%.

Those numbers, coming on the heels of the pandemic, were good enough to be the biggest quarterly gains in 20 years.

Yet, that boom warranted nary a mention on the Big Three TV networks. For full coverage, you had to go outside to financial publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Investor’s Business Daily, the newspaper where Issues & Insights was started before becoming a stand-alone editorial and opinion site.

We were prompted to mention this by the headline we saw in the reliable and always interesting media watchdog site MRC NewsBusters: “Big Three CENSOR Stocks after ‘Best Quarter’ in 20-Plus Years, Despite Virus Spike.”

“The trend of ignoring news when it’s good continues for the Big Three evening news shows,” the story said, noting that when retail sales soared 17.7% in May, the biggest jump on record, both ABC and NBC ignored it.

Instapundit aptly calls this “Bias By Omission.”

We’ll bet the networks also ignore this week’s ADP Report, which counts jobs based on its own extensive, nationwide payroll database. It reported that 2.369 million jobs were created in June, a bit below the 2.5 million economists expected. But the real news was May’s number, which was originally reported as a 2.76 million loss for the month. After more data came in, ADP discovered the U.S. gained 3.065 million jobs in May. That’s more than 5 million people returning to work in just two months.

If you think that’s irrelevant to most Americans, you couldn’t be more wrong. With much of the country still in lockdown, people need to know the economy can still function, and does when it’s allowed to.

As we noted, after melting down early in the pandemic, the stock market has become a beacon of economic light shining through the coronavirus darkness.

As a number of studies in recent years have shown, more than half of all Americans own stock, either directly or through their IRA and 401(k) retirement plans. A 2016 Fed study, for instance, found that 51.9% of Americans own stocks. A Gallup Poll taken this year later found 55% did.

That means both Democrats and Republicans own stock. An estimated 42% of African-Americans also own stock. So do all those progressives who now fill staff and administrative positions in our nation’s schools, government bureaucracies and nonprofits. Libertarians and socialists alike, own stock.

They’ll all be better off, more independent and far more financially secure, if they have money invested in the world’s largest and most-productive free-market economy. But how can people know that if it’s never reported?

After all, market wealth based on a healthy free-market dynamic is the bedrock of our nation’s financial well-being. Private wealth funds college educations, down payments for homes, money for family emergencies, and, of course, retirement support that often exceeds Social Security’s payouts.

Stocks alone accounted for some $32 trillion in wealth at the end of the second quarter (we’re not counting bonds, which are even bigger). That compares with the first quarter’s annualized nominal GDP of roughly $21.5 trillion. How can the big guys ignore such a story?

Wouldn’t viewers want to know why, even as the economy is supposedly in the dumps and the virus spells doom for our future, their stocks keep going up? Or that investors, those with actual skin in the game, apparently see a brighter future?

The truth is, stocks are an admittedly imperfect yet mostly reliable indicator of future economic trends. That explains why some economic stories get ignored by the media. Or mangled, such as when reporters call patient investing “gambling,” or refer to the market itself as a “casino.”

By straight reporting on booming stocks, TV newsreaders might have to explain why the market continues to rise under President Trump while all the rest of their news predicts nothing but chaos, disaster and tragedy, especially with Trump in the White House.

They also might have to explain, despite all their agenda-driven class-warfare rhetoric, why a rising stock market lifts all boats. It makes us all wealthier, raising incomes and boosting output by channeling savings to the most productive uses, while helping people to secure their financial futures.

Since 1926, the widely followed S&P 500 Index has averaged about 10% a year, 7% after inflation. That means that, on average, a person’s money doubles in real terms about every 10 years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has, likewise, had a terrific 100-year run.

Yes, the market goes up and goes down. Sometimes it falls for a year, or more. But, mostly, those who invest are rewarded in the long-run. After all, their investments make America a better place to live, wealthier, healthier, happier. Now ask yourself this: How does that compare to the bankrupt-but-trendy pie-in-the-sky socialism now peddled by the media as the answer to all our ills?

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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