Issues & Insights

GDP Explodes 33.1% — Media Bury The Story

I&I Editorial

A few weeks ago we noted that the third-quarter GDP number was likely to be a stunner, defying the endless claims by the press that the economy will struggle to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdowns. We also warned that voters wouldn’t get the news through the mainstream press.

Well, we were right on both counts.

The economy grew an absolutely breathtaking 33.1% from July through September, a quarterly gain never before achieved in this country. That means that we’ve already made up two-thirds of the losses. (Under Obama, it took a full year before the economy regained two-thirds of the loss suffered in the 2009 recession.)

Not only was the growth astonishing, it exceeded all expectations. At the start of the quarter, the Blue Chip Consensus was for the rebound to be less than 20%. After the quarter ended, it predicted that growth would be less than 30%.

The press? Well, it buried the story as deep as it possibly could.

Below is a slideshow presenting the home pages of major news sites as of 11 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday.

See for yourself how much space was devoted to this news. On several sites, the story doesn’t appear “above the fold.” On USA Today’s home page, you have to scroll two-thirds of the way to the bottom to see a link. And the feature story on its Money page was about National Cat Day .

If the stories appeared on the front page at all, the news about stellar third-quarter growth was followed by a big cautionary statement.

“…Problems remain,” says the New York Times.

“…That’s not the whole story,” says CNN

“…But the data is complicated,” says the Washington Post

“…But slowdown emerges,” says USA Today.

If you want to see a contrast, look at how the New York Times presented the news when the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported the 31.4% GDP loss in Q2:

So let’s review. The economy is rebounding from the pandemic lockdowns faster than anyone expected. Jobs are returning faster than the experts predicted, with employment growing by 14.2 million since April’s huge COVID-related plunge.

And none of this is big news?

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

1 comment

  • It was also pointed out elsewhere that the Washington Post weaseled the story by reporting “7.4%” growth for the quarter. That is technically correct (and actually quite an accomplishment in itself), but misleading insofar as growth rates are always reported as an annual rate. Thus, the interpretation is that if the economy continues to grow at the rate cited, it would be 33% larger in another nine months.

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