Upside Down Economics

Despite much better economy, networks blamed President Bush more than President Obama for financial troubles.

The broadcast networks were so desperate for good news to talk about in 2012, all three of them reported a claim that the iPhone 5 was expected to sell so well it would could increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Reports varied, predicting an increase between .3 percent and 1 percent. 

All six stories mentioning GDP on NBC in the study window were about the iPhone 5. In one of those NBC reports, they found an expert who was predicting a far larger boost to GDP than the other networks. “Today” quoted Gene Munster, a digital media technology analyst, on Sept. 13. Munster claimed the “huge” sales “could add close to one percent to our overall GDP.”

On Sept. 22, “This Morning” CBS’s Michelle Miller announced that Apple stock had gone up with the release of the iPhone 5 saying, “That’s good news for the company, perhaps even better news for the nation’s economy.” She turned to CNET’s executive editor Roger Cheng who declared, “The iPhone 5 can actually bump the GDP by half a percentage point, which is incredible. No other single product has moved the needle of GDP.” 

ABC’s Neal Karlinsky told “Good Morning America” viewers “sales are so mind-bogglingly huge, JP Morgan’s chief economist predicts the iPhone 5 could actually boost the nation’s gross domestic product” on Sept. 13. 

All together, the networks aired 9 pieces about the Apple product’s sales boosting GDP in September 2012, and every one of those failed to mention the current rate of economic growth. That was 3 times as many stories as the networks did about the growth forecast being downgraded to a pathetic 1.3 percent. (There was one additional story mentioning GDP, in which President Clinton mentioned how much GDP had shrank before Obama took office).