Readers Write: Media manufactured misery

Readers Write: Media manufactured misery
The Intolerable Angst of the Middle Class

I’ve always been loathe to assign blame for a problem on what seems to be a facile, ready-made excuse. But media reportage now seems to be fully engaged with downplaying the success and strength of the American economy. And it’s having an effect on people’s perceptions.

According to a new Harris poll:
• 55% believe the economy is shrinking
• 56% believe the economy is in a recession
• 72% believe inflation is getting worse

None of this is remotely true, but scores of articles being fed on sites like Axios, Politico, Yahoo Finance and others have people believing all sorts of things.

Most common is the belief that millions “are working two or three jobs” to make ends meet. In fact, the number of multiple job holders in the economy has been pretty consistent for decades.

And millions choose this kind of work for the flexible hours or extra pay they want and do not necessarily need.

The use of statistics here shows the amateurism of the media: they count in the sheer number of jobs, so as the economy gets bigger, it’s only natural that more multiple job holders grow with it. Just as it does for single job holders.

The other “trick” is to benchmark the price of gasoline from the point where oil prices actually went negative during the pandemic.

From there, prices are surely higher. But $2.50 a gallon now seems to be a birthright for the American citizen, the better not to feel the pinch when filling up the F-150.

Another trope is that 60% of Americans are living “paycheck to paycheck.” The data doesn’t bear that out either, but some people are pretending there were no poor people in this country before the pandemic.

We’ve had 40 straight months of sub-4 % unemployment, millions have entered the workforce, GDP is the highest it's been for some time, the markets are soaring, and yet the media spreads tales of woe. If TFG had hit these numbers, it would have been proclaimed an economic miracle.

Prices are surely elevated from the supply shocks and whiplash effects of the pandemic, but most have stopped rising, and judging from Target and WalMart’s new price war, they may even come down.

But wages have risen, too. And I still believe this bout of inflation was more of an irritant than a calamity.

Politically, this is a big problem. The trope “this piece of news spells trouble for Joe Biden” has become commonplace and lampooned by many on social media. The perpetrators of this line of thinking, including the New York Times, are aware they’re being dragged online by it and they don’t seem to care.

One parody account, “The New York Times Pitchbot,” has more followers than any New York Times columnist, yet the paper ignores that it’s being mocked for this kind of “journalism” on an almost hourly basis. Unfortunately, the Times’ coverage just keeps validating the satire.

Hans Nichols, a veteran reporter now at Axios, scripted a piece headlined “Biden’s Fast Food Problem,” related to prices at fast food chains. Oddly, I would think this would be a problem for McDonald’s and Wendy’s, but apparently, it’s the President’s.

How Nichols descended into self-parody after all his years in the trenches is a mystery. Do I sense a pattern here?

The gloom peddling isn’t limited to inflation. Bloomberg ran an article with an alarmist headline about more homes being “underwater” on their mortgages.

Reading the article itself, it turns out that the number of additional homeowners at negative equity is just 2500. Across a dozen states. That's not a “news” story.

Know what’s NOT a problem?

President Biden’s opponent in the next election, who is currently on trial for 34 counts of falsifying business records, has been exposed as a serial philanderer and liar, has been convicted in a court of law for rape, who’s inaction during the pandemic murdered over 150,000 people by the lowest estimates, and who was recorded on tape conniving to subvert an election, seems to face no critical scrutiny from journalists.

Nothing is ever a “problem” for TFG. I find that amazing.

Why is this happening? The media wants a horse race in the coming election. They may ensure that we never have another one.

Donald Davret


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