Talk of recession is seemingly everywhere. While the majority of people rate their personal finances positively, consumer confidence in the economy has plunged to a 16-year low, well below what it was during the last year of the Clinton administration when we were in a recession. The media’s focus on the negative side of everything surely helps explain people’s pessimism. In a recent interview Fox’s Neil Cavuto claimed this bias “is all part of the media’s plan to get a Democrat in the White House.”
Let's look at some more numbers: A Nexis search on news stories during the three-month period from July, 2000 through September, 2000 using the keywords “economy recession US” produces 1,388 stories. By contrast, the same search over just the last month finds 3,166. 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 2,475 news stories. Over 78 percent 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.During the 2000 election, with Bill Clinton as president, the economy was viewed [by the media] through rose-colored glasses. According to polls, voters didn’t realize that the country was in a recession. Although the economy started shrinking in July 2000, most Americans (through the entire year) thought that the economy was fine. But over the last half-year, the media and politicians have said we were in a recession even while the economy was still growing.