Media Blog

The Media and the Economy

Tom Blumer notes that the number of welfare recipients is still plummeting 10 years after the 1996 reforms, but finds almost no major media coverage of the continuing phenomenon. So what are they writing about instead?

FALMOUTH, Ky. – Used boots fetch $3 and old salt-and-pepper shakers bring in a buck at a makeshift flea market along Highway 27, presumably not what President Bush and Republicans have in mind when they herald a vibrant economy.
Times are “very good for the rich and very, very bad for the poor” who “can’t afford to live,” laments Larry Mitchell, 43, a now-and-then merchant peddling his wares recently in a submarine sandwich shop parking lot. He says the middle class is “having a hard time.”
In the Ohio River Valley, where people decry high gas prices, stagnant wages, lost jobs and factory closures, many don’t buy the claim that the economy is humming along.

As Ed Morrissey points out, this approach “distort[s] the record by highlighting the exceptions and eschewing real data for anecdotes.” If reporters visit deindustrializing, depressed areas of the country looking for sad stories, guess what? They’re going to find them. That doesn’t make the Democrats right about the country’s broader economic health.