Economic Media Myths – Comparing Clinton and Bush Years

How bad is the current economy? Certainly we’re having some issues with fuel prices, and falling house values are causing an issue for some people who chose an adjustable rate mortgage within the past five years. John R. Lott Jr. from takes a quick look at how the media can drive economic news.

Everyone knows that a story teller can leave an impression. In some cases a hidden agenda can be promoted through stories and no one is the wiser. We’ve discussed before how the definition of a recession seems to change, but Lott Jr. puts numbers to display the bias that is moving force of the liberal media.

A Google search on news stories during the three-month period from July 2000 through September 2000 using the keywords “economy recession US” produces 1,610. By contrast, the same search over just the last month finds 50,763. Or, even more telling, take the three months from July through September last year, when the GDP was growing at a phenomenal 4.9 percent. The same type of Google search shows 7,310 news stories.

Over 4.5 times more negative news stories discussed a recession when the economy under a Republican was soaring than occurred under a Democrat when the economy was shrinking.

A little perspective on the economy would be helpful. The average unemployment rate during President Clinton was 5.2 percent. The average under President George W. Bush is just slightly below 5.2. The current unemployment rate is 4.8 percent, almost half a percentage point lower than these averages.

The average inflation rate under Clinton was 2.6 percent, under Bush it is 2.7 percent. Indeed, one has to go back to the Kennedy administration to find a lower average rate. True the inflation rate over the last year has gone up to 4 percent, but that is still lower than the average inflation rate under all the presidents from Nixon through Bush’s father.

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