Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » MSM Bias - an example

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: MSM Bias - an example
G2
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Interesting comparison via the Verum Serum Blog. Both stories come from the New York Times:
quote:
The labor market improved slightly last month but offered little hope that the economy would soon emerge from its prolonged weakness.

American employers added 39,000 jobs in August, roughly in line with the modest growth of recent months, the Labor Department reported yesterday, but the entire gain came from the hiring of new airport security guards and other government workers. Companies remain reluctant to hire until economic growth improves.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent last month, from 5.9 percent in July, but economists at the Labor Department and on Wall Street called the decline almost meaningless. The rate, which is based on a smaller survey than the payroll numbers, often jumps around from month to month. Many experts expect the jobless rate to move up at least slightly later this year.

”The drop in the unemployment rate should be ignored,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief United States economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, N.Y. ”Over all, new jobs are still very scarce.”

Sounds pretty bad! A drop from 5.9% unemployment to 5.7% and 39K jobs added and it's “insigificant” and “meaningless.” Let's cut to today:
quote:
The nation’s employers not only have stopped eliminating large numbers of jobs, but appear to be on the verge of rebuilding the American work force, devastated by the recession.

The unexpected improvement comes as a relief to the Obama administration, which plans to unveil new proposals next week to ease the plight of the jobless following its labor forum in Washington on Thursday.

In the best report since the recession began two years ago, only 11,000 jobs disappeared last month, the government said on Friday, and the unemployment rate actually dipped, to 10 percent, from 10.2 percent the previous month.

“There are going to be some months where the reports are going to be a little better, some months where the reports are worse, but the trend line right now is good,” President Obama said in a visit to Allentown, Pa., offering reassurance to a city besieged by unemployment and a country still suffering from the highest unemployment rate in 26 years.

Many forecasters suggest that the turning point — from jobs being cut to jobs being added — will come by March, assuming the economy continues to grow, as it finally started to do in the third quarter. If they are right, the beginning of a work force recovery would come more quickly than after the last two recessions, in the early 1990s and 2001, despite the much greater severity of this downturn.

A drop from 10.2% unemployment to 10% and a loss of 11K jobs. That is called “improvement” and a good trend.

Can anybody spot the bias?

Look at the words/phrases used in 2002: little hope, prolonged weakness, Companies remain reluctant to hire, economists at the Labor Department and on Wall Street called the decline almost meaningless, experts expect the jobless rate to move up at least slightly later this year, The drop in the unemployment rate should be ignored, Over all, new jobs are still very scarce. That's when we had a 0.2% drop with 39,000 new jobs created.

Words/phrases used today: on the verge of rebuilding the American work force, unexpected improvement, a relief, best report since the recession began two years ago, only 11,000 jobs disappeared last month, unemployment rate actually dipped, the trend line right now is good, offering reassurance, the turning point, a work force recovery.

The only difference is who's in the White House and that the news was actually better in 2002 with jobs added vs. lost today.

IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyrtolin
Member
Member # 2638

 - posted      Profile for Pyrtolin   Email Pyrtolin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What's also different is the economic conditions immediately proceeding it.

The first is anemic- we need to create nearly 130K jobs per month just to keep pace with population growth. So normally, those are pretty weak numbers.On the other hand, the report that we had last month, while awful on an absolute scale, is the best thing we've seen in nearly two years, and is much, much better than the half million a month that we were losing at the beginning of the year.

It has little to do with whose in office and everything to do with the economic context that immediately preceded it.

Posts: 11997 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattP
Member
Member # 2763

 - posted      Profile for MattP   Email MattP   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Stagnation in a moderately depressed economy is worse news than dramatic reductions in new unemployment numbers (and the first time overall unemployment is down) during a bad recession. That has nothing to do with who's president and what they did or didn't have to do with the shift. Employment has been in free fall and there are some indications that we're near a bottom after two years of precipitous losses. That is potentially exciting news.

Graph:
http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/.a/6a00d83451c45669e20128760ff9a6970c-popup

Posts: 3481 | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
G2
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:

It has little to do with whose in office and everything to do with the economic context that immediately preceded it.

oof, that was some brutal spin ... motion sick from it ... I think I just threw up in my mouth a little ... [LOL]
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyrtolin
Member
Member # 2638

 - posted      Profile for Pyrtolin   Email Pyrtolin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by G2:
oof, that was some brutal spin ... motion sick from it ... I think I just threw up in my mouth a little ... [LOL]

You're claiming that in 2002 those numbers followed a similarly huge drop in employment?
Posts: 11997 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JoshCrow
Member
Member # 6048

 - posted      Profile for JoshCrow   Email JoshCrow   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by G2:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:

It has little to do with whose in office and everything to do with the economic context that immediately preceded it.

oof, that was some brutal spin ... motion sick from it ... I think I just threw up in my mouth a little ... [LOL]
Pyrtolin's explanation for this "conspiracy" is dead-on: you can't process an article on economics without any context.

I guess when you're standing on the merry-go-round, it looks like everyone ELSE is spinning.

Posts: 2281 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TCB
Member
Member # 1677

 - posted      Profile for TCB         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
A drop from 10.2% unemployment to 10% and a loss of 11K jobs. That is called “improvement” and a good trend.

Can anybody spot the bias?

You're attributing the bias to the media, but I'd attribute it at least partly to American attitudes. In 2002 we took employment for granted; in 2009 we're fearful of losing our jobs, and we're greatful if the economic data isn't catastrophic.

If you plot unemployment by month since January you'll see a steady march upwards, leading us to think better things are on the way. In 2002 a similar plot looked flat (and, as predicted, it remained pretty much flat through the rest of the 2002 and 2003).

Posts: 824 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
cherrypoptart
Member
Member # 3942

 - posted      Profile for cherrypoptart     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This story is just a drop in the bucket. It's a flood of hopefully optimistic spin all over the news out there right now compared with how terrible everything was and only looking to get worse under Bush. I've been tempted to link the stories that are clear examples of this but there are so many that if I tried keeping up with it that's all I'd ever do all day, every day.

Like I said, I appreciate optimism. But how many stories about how people are turning the economic lemon into lemonade do we have to hear? And compare to the doom and gloom circulating during the Bush years especially leading up to the election?

People aren't just sitting back looking for the spin. They are actively helping to keep things spinning, pushing the merry-go-round themselves to make sure it doesn't stop. If it did, people might just see things clearly.

Obama is a stock that people have invested more than they can afford to lose in already so they've got to hype it, full steam ahead boiler room style, and hope they get a lucky break and it turns around before it comes crashing down and they lose everything. It's the hip new IPO who hasn't shown a dime of profit yet but there is so much potential it's unbelievable. And that's it right there in a word for anyone who is willing to look hard enough. Unbelievable.

Posts: 7675 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DonaldD
Member
Member # 1052

 - posted      Profile for DonaldD   Email DonaldD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
To put it mathematically, analysing trends involves not only looking at the changes over time in absolute values, but also at how quickly those trend number are themselves changing, i.e., one can't look exclusively at the slope of the graph, one also needs to inderstand the derivative of the slope.

That being said, the US is still in store for a long, painful jobs recovery.

Posts: 10751 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TCB
Member
Member # 1677

 - posted      Profile for TCB         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Accusing someone of spin is a pretty powerful tool, I guess. It allows you to instantly invalidate any counter-argument.
Posts: 824 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Greg Davidson
Member
Member # 3377

 - posted      Profile for Greg Davidson   Email Greg Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How about this for media bias: amount of television time (including MSM interview shows) that John McCain got one year after losing the Presidential election by a lot, as compared to the amount of television time given to John Kerry after losing by a little.
Posts: 4178 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
hobsen
Member
Member # 2923

 - posted      Profile for hobsen   Email hobsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Today I was looking at the graph of the Personal Saving Rate prepared by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

http://www.bea.gov/BRIEFRM/SAVING.HTM

That shows the savings rate roughly doubled in the spring of 2008 compared to what it had been during the preceding two years, as people became convinced a recession was on the way - and it has remained elevated since then. Of course those trying to get a Democrat elected in 2008 encouraged the belief bad times were coming, as it helped their cause - but a recession was on the way and did arrive as predicted.

But recessions since World War II have never lasted forever, typically ending in anywhere from six to eighteen months. One reason is that savings rate - most workers still have jobs, they have things they want or need, and they have now saved the money to pay for them. For the moment they still worry they may lose their jobs, so they are not yet spending - but those high savings levels will probably not continue forever. When more of them start spending that accumulated money, the economy will improve. As for unemployment, the prediction I accepted in January 2009 when the rate was about 6% was that it would top out at between 10 and 11% this month, which is what seems to be happening.

Now what may be irritating G2 is that by next summer the economy will have improved, and Obama will be regarded as a miracle worker. And that the strengthening economy will greatly help Democrats in the 2010 elections, and let them keep many more seats in Congress than expected in an off year. And I would agree with him if he said that exactly the same would have happened if McCain had been elected, as the business cycle just happens to favor Obama this time. But betting that things will happen differently than that seems to me a fool's gamble.

[ December 07, 2009, 10:31 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

Posts: 4387 | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyrtolin
Member
Member # 2638

 - posted      Profile for Pyrtolin   Email Pyrtolin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We can't say for sure what McCain would ultimately have done but we can roughly compare to what no action would have resulted in, at least:

http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2009/11/baselines_count.html

GDP and unemployment are both about 2% better than they would have been otherwise, and that may be a conservative estimate, if you recall how much such projections underestimated the rate of decline at the beginning of the year.

So while, yes, we would eventually have recovered anyway, at the moment we're in a much better position than we could have been in, and the benefit from that difference will multiply be better and better felt over time because of inherent economic feedback.

Posts: 11997 | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
hobsen
Member
Member # 2923

 - posted      Profile for hobsen   Email hobsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Those three projections are roughly similar in shape but differ in details, and I do not know how biased sources quoted in the New York Times may be. So I simply do not know enough to express an opinion on whether Obama's actions made the figures for GDP and unemployment 2% better than no action. Of course someone in his position can do things which may influence the economy, as opposed to his complete inability to do anything about predicted eclipses of the moon. But I would have to know more to be sure a less severe recession, or coming out of this one more quickly, is a good thing. If the stimulus he applied causes great inflation, and propels us into a new boom and bust cycle, that may be better for Obama than for everyone else. He need only worry about getting elected in 2012 to a second term, after which he will be guaranteed an honored retirement, but the rest of us may have to suffer the consequences of his actions longer than that.
Posts: 4387 | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
aupton15
Member
Member # 1771

 - posted      Profile for aupton15   Email aupton15   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Greg Said:
quote:
How about this for media bias: amount of television time (including MSM interview shows) that John McCain got one year after losing the Presidential election by a lot, as compared to the amount of television time given to John Kerry after losing by a little.
This is actually the more clear case of media bias. The media is biased in favor of someone who can actually give a semi-interesting interview over the monolith of monotone verbosity that is Kerry (and I voted for him).
Posts: 1445 | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
G2
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by hobsen:

Now what may be irritating G2 is that by next summer the economy will have improved, and Obama will be regarded as a miracle worker. And that the strengthening economy will greatly help Democrats in the 2010 elections, and let them keep many more seats in Congress than expected in an off year. And I would agree with him if he said that exactly the same would have happened if McCain had been elected, as the business cycle just happens to favor Obama this time. But betting that things will happen differently than that seems to me a fool's gamble.

What you should notice is not that it may have improved by next summer. The point is that there is already "unexpected improvement", the "the turning point" already is here, with the loss of 11,000 jobs "a work force recovery" occurred. Obama is *already* the miracle worker according the NYT despite a poorer performance that what occurred in 2002. Remember over 600,000 jobs created or saved (or is it over a million yet? Hell, make it 10 million, any number is valid when you accept "created or saved").
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TommySama
Member
Member # 2780

 - posted      Profile for TommySama   Email TommySama       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I LOL'd listening to the radio the other day. November only lost 11,000 jobs, which was a sign that the stimulus worked, I guess. Except I remember someone mentioning something one time in the past that I'm remembering right now... something about how you can't read a pattern from only one piece of data... (not at the people, at the politics [Frown] )

[ December 08, 2009, 09:50 AM: Message edited by: TommySama ]

Posts: 6396 | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
hobsen
Member
Member # 2923

 - posted      Profile for hobsen   Email hobsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Good observations in both cases. If anyone is actually saying Obama is a miracle worker, that is greatly exaggerated at best. And it would take three months of employment improving before I at least would be comfortable saying the economy seemed to have turned the corner. So far the recovery is on track, but it could still sputter for one reason or another.
Posts: 4387 | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Wayward Son
Member
Member # 210

 - posted      Profile for Wayward Son   Email Wayward Son   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
With 1 out of 6 people unemployed or under-employed (if you believe the statistics), people are looking for any good news that they can find.

When things are good, that's when the bad news is emphasized... [Smile]

That's what sells newspapers.

[ December 08, 2009, 03:37 PM: Message edited by: Wayward Son ]

Posts: 8681 | Registered: Dec 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1