Media myth: The recession is already over and we’re on the road to economic recovery thanks to the stimulus package.
You know the news media has gone too far when even President Obama is surprised by their glowing economic reports.
That’s exactly what happened in July when Newsweek magazine released its Aug. 3 issue declaring “The Recession is Over!*” with the subhead “Good luck surviving the recovery.”
Obama called it “a little startling,” but took credit for stopping “the free-fall.” Newsweek was the first to declare the recession over, but ABC and CBS were also asking economic experts the same question.
On “Good Morning America,” July 28 two guests, Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab and Mike Santoli of Barron’s, supported the claim that the recession is in fact over.
Sonders told Diane Sawyer, “I do think it is real, I think that we have enough cumulative signs now that we’ve come through the worst. And not only are things just less bad, we’re actually starting to see some pockets of improvement.” Sawyer accepted Sonders’ and Santoli’s opinions without rebuttal.
Other experts, including left-wing economist Dean Baker thought the claims were premature. Baker wrote on Politico’s Arena that “only economists and Washington pundits are going to be blathering about a recovery.”
“The rest of the country is going to see an unemployment rate that crosses 10 percent this summer and likely crosses 11.0 percent early next year. They are also going to see a foreclosure rate that runs at a 2 million annual rate through the rest of 2009 and 2010. To anyone other than the tiny group of wonks that monitor economic data closely, the fact that GDP might be growing slowly doesn't mean a damn thing,” Baker wrote. “The rest of the country cares about whether they have a job and whether they can hold onto their home. So the GOP just has to sit back and make fun of any ‘elitist’ Democratic politician who is stupid enough to boast about an economic recovery.”