Economic Growth Report Gets a Few Paragraphs

     In newspapers, placement is everything. Put a story on the front page above the fold, and everyone can see it as they walk by the newsstand. But hide it deep in the nether-sections, and only Grandpa will find it if he sips his coffee slowly enough. Unfortunately, its often the bad news that gets the prime spot, while good news takes the back seat.

     The New York Times warned against economic optimism from its front page on November 30: By most measures, the economy appears to be doing fine. No, scratch that, it appears to be booming. But as always with the United States economy, it is not quite that simple. Times writer Vikas Bajaj went on to say that for every encouraging sign, there is an explanation and many economists do not expect the party to continue. And that was in a story covering the positives in the economy, including cheaper gasoline, rising consumer confidence, a healthy stock market and strong home sales.

     In contrast with that stern parade-raining article, the glad tidings that the Economy Grew at a Quick Pace In Summer Despite Hurricanes were relegated to the bottom corner of page C-11 in the December 22 Times. This perky little Associated Press missive announced the Gross Domestic Products 4.1-percent third-quarter growth, declaring it was the fastest pace since early 2004 and the gain was even more remarkable considering the devastating hurricanes and gasoline prices that topped $3 a gallon.


     As the Business & Media Institute has mentioned, almost half of Americans think the economy is in a recession, though thats far from the truth. GDP the main measurement of the countrys economic health grew at a strong 4.1 percent in the third quarter. But thats a bit lower than earlier government predictions, and the media do love to jump on predictions. Instead of lauding growth, a few of the major newspapers took the opportunity to downplay it.

     In addition to the Times C-11 corner, other papers December 22 offerings:
    The Washington Post: U.S. Growth Rate Climbs, one-paragraph brief on page D-2; and a mention in a brief stock report on page D3 USA Today: Economys Growth Weaker Than Expected, one paragraph on page B-1.