The Corner

Network News Shows Snore as GDP Shrivels

To paraphrase the old Meat Loaf song, “One out of three ain’t bad.” That’s as much consolation as Americans can take from the behavior of the three main broadcast networks over the last two nights.

Wednesday morning brought the disturbing news that the U.S. economy had cratered to a -2.9 percent GDP growth rate in 1Q 2014. This was the worst GDP report in five years. Clearly this was big news.

Well, evidently not big enough for ABC’s World News Tonight nor NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams. Between them, neither broadcast uttered a syllable about this vital matter on Wednesday night.

To its credit, Wednesday’s CBS Evening News aired a full story on this downer. “The U.S. economy was in worse shape at the beginning of the year than we thought,” said anchor Scott Pelley as he introduced correspondent Anthony Mason’s detailed analysis.

Meanwhile, NBC discussed America’s efforts at the World Cup soccer tournament and gave a brief preview of Matt Lauer’s interview with Pippa Middleton, the sister of the Duchess of Cambridge. But Nightly News could not spare a moment to mention the growth gap into which America has tumbled.

“The U.S. economy is $1.6 trillion smaller than what an average recovery over the last 50 years would have generated,” Representative Kevin Brady (R., Texas), chairman of the congressional Joint Economic Committee, said in a statement. “Since the recession ended in June 2009, the cumulative loss in output has been $4.0 trillion compared with an average recovery. This lackluster performance explains why a family of four is missing more $1,100 in after-tax income and why there are 5.8 million fewer private payroll jobs compared with an average recovery.”

ABC did no better on Wednesday. It spent part of World News Tonight’s first pre-break segment covering North Korea’s condemnation of a new James Franco/Seth Rogen comedy called The Interview. The broadcast also featured a story on the TV programs that are most popular for “binge-watching.” But viewers learned zippo about the imploding GDP, not even the fact that between now and the end of his pathetic second term, Obama’s 2.1 percent post-recession “recovery” must accelerate and maintain a 6.5 percent growth rate merely to qualify as average. If Obama aspires to equal Reagan’s recovery, he needs to floor it to 8.6 percent growth and keep the speedometer there until January 20, 2017.

By Thursday, CBS matched the quietude of the other big networks. None of the three had anything to say last night about the economy shrinking as if it had leapt into a cold swimming pool. ABC and NBC did manage to discuss the initial public offering of stock in GoPro, a company whose small, snap-on cameras help athletes and daredevils record their adventures.

“The ABC and NBC evening newscasts make the frivolous look serious as they move closer to Entertainment Tonight and Sports Center while Obama’s policies collapse,” says Brent Baker, Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. “Those who depend on ABC and NBC remain oblivious to Obama’s failures.”

ABC’s and NBC’s news divisions utterly failed to perform their public-service duty to keep Americans informed about the state of our union. Even from a liberal standpoint, one could argue that the American people should know about this, so that they can demand more federal outlays, more green jobs, and more infrastructure spending. These are no conservative’s prescriptions, but ABC’s and NBC’s liberal viewers might react that way, and even they were betrayed by these broadcasts’ total refusal even to mention subliminally what was arguably the biggest story of the day.

And just imagine if the economy imploded by 2.9 percent under George Bush. Conservatives’ ears would be trickling blood from enduring the screams of the leftist media. Now, as Obamanomics proves to be a crashing catastrophe, crickets would be louder.

ABC’s and NBC’s excruciating silence about the GDP meltdown also proves the magic of old-guard media bias. Why knock yourself out twisting the news into liberal knots? Instead, just ignore stories that make life rough for the Left. It’s so much easier that way.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a contributor to National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


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