Wall of Shame

Reporting & commentary that assume eternal growth is feasible, good, and necessary for prosperity

Our growth addiction is largely kept on track by the stories we tell ourselves, so rhetoric from politicians often finds its way onto our Wall of Shame. My job here is to turn on some bright lights so more people begin separating fable from fact. Politicians tell their share of fairy tales. Today’s shame is unusual in that it’s a fundraising letter rather than a speech or interview. U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer perhaps should have checked his fairy tale at the door before he sent a letter to William R. Catton, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Washington State University and author of the classic, Overshoot. Catton shared Kilmer’s letter with...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
3
Felony
The Associated Press story that brought this to my attention deserves some shame, but seeds of that story’s pro-growth bias can be found in the overview of a Pew Research study: Attitudes About Aging: A Global Perspective. The bias doesn’t hit you over the head, but you can’t miss it if your growth-bias radar is tuned up. It’s a summation of little things like this: “Germany and Spain, along with their European neighbors, are already among the countries with the oldest populations today, and their populations will only get older in the future.” “will only get older” implies that an aging population is not a good thing. The overview looks at...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
4
Felony
The New York Times Editorial Board and economics reporter Nelson D. Schwartz (repeat offender) grace our Wall of Shame with a report and an editorial about the U.S. economy that are so chock full of assumptions they distort the meaning of the included facts. “The Commerce Department reported on Thursday that the economy grew by 3.2 percent in the final quarter of 2013, echoing the even stronger 4.1 percent pace of expansion in the summer months and providing the White House with a rare bit of good news despite dismal public approval ratings.”  If a rock band turns its amps up to eleven, there is likely to be some distortion. In Economy Is...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
4
Felony
U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night did not make it onto our Wall of Shame yesterday, precisely because it was NOT the growth-a-palooza I expected it to be. Sure there were a couple of mentions of economic growth, but the growth mania was pretty toned down. Leave it to Senator Marco Rubio to pick a bone with the President about this, as he did here on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor. Rubio told Bill O'Reilly the administration is not getting out of the way of today’s robber barons so the economy can grow faster and create needed middle-income jobs: “Our economy grows when you have a...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
5
Felony
China’s decision last November to ease its one-child policy generated disappointingly myopic news coverage. A particularly clueless report by pro-growth BloombergTV made our Wall of Shame back then. This more recent story at International Business Times by Sophie Song earns the shame today. It got my attention by positioning the possibility of increased consumption as good news: “Beijing’s one-child policy reform…won’t be sufficient to reverse the aging of China’s population, but could benefit consumption patterns, a new report says.” Song reports the change is too little, too late, “to address the long-term challenge of China’s rapidly aging demographics.” There is no mention of the benefits of population stabilization or decline for...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
6
Felony
This post echos the opinion seen in fellow Growthbuster Stephanie C. Fox's user nomination on January 2nd. Your comment regarding cognitive dissonance couldn't be more true. Thanks for finding this biased article, Stephanie! I just couldn't help but comment on it as well. Again and again, we witness language being used in the media that makes people think “ that’s just the way it is.” This applies to many topics, especially population growth and decline. Almost always, except in our Wall of Fame recognized media, population growth is a good indicator for a city and population decline is very bad indicator. Using dramatic adjectives is an obvious way media does this. ...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
6
Felony


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What is Pro-Growth Bias?

Pro-Growth Bias is reflected in the media by the stories and words chosen, which hint and often trumpet that economic, population, and consumption growth is good and essential. We're here to expose the bias and encourage more balanced and thoughtful journalism. Here you can vote, discuss, and even post stories exemplifying the bias.

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