Wall of Shame

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


Last week we focused on stories about economic growth at Growth Bias Busted. This week we’ll put population growth under the microscope. Let’s start with a story that exemplifies hand-wringing about the population bubble working its way out of our world. Japan has for some time been the poster-child for worries about the bogeyman known as (cue the tense music) an “aging population” (gasp)! So important is this story, TheWeek.com assigned assistant photo editor Sarah Eberspacher to write Everything You Need to Know About Japan's Population Crisis. She leads her report with: “Why is Japan in trouble? 
The Japanese now have one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, and...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
5
Felony

Posted by on in Wall of Shame
“Growth. Outlook. Brightens”. I just keep repeating that Fox Business News title over and over in my head, wondering why that is necessarily good news. How about “Resource Depletion Rises”, “Pollution Levels Increase”, “Fisheries Continue to Dwindle”, “Climate Change Intensifies”… Because the one is synonymous with the other. On this finite planet there is no way around it. But maybe I’m being too quick to judge Matt Egan's article. Let’s see what the meat of the article tastes like. “After years of lackluster growth that was continuously threatened by political and external events, the risks to the U.S. economy finally appear to be firmly on the upside.” Well, phew. I thought...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
4
Felony
No, your eyes aren’t failing you; that graphic above isn’t the real New York Times. The front page of Friday's New York Times business section actually looked like this: I created the alternate version to illustrate what we might see from an unbiased New York Times staff. Unfortunately, pro-growth bias is alive and well. Month-after-month, reporters phone in the same unimaginative, lazy, biased reports that assume perpetual economic growth is feasible and universally pursued/applauded. Maybe today’s Wall of Shame post will inspire a few journalists out there to get off their butts and widen their circle of go-to “experts” for quotes about the latest GDP figures. More U.S. Economists See Half-Full Glass...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
4
Felony
These were the two seemingly unrelated photos to go along with the article. Cookie cutter homes in Maryland and… a women shopping in Seattle? I’ll digress and move onto commentary.    “The reports reinforce the notion that the housing sector is successfully digesting the summer mortgage rate pop." Upon reading this quote from Mike Englund, chief economist at Action Economics, I can’t help but imagine an obese, sickly looking blob labeled “the housing economy” that is suffering from severe indigestion.  Sure, said blob was able to “digest” the increased mortgage rates from last summer, but what about looking at other aspects of a healthy housing economy and healthy nation? In this...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
7
Felony
Whenever the U.S. Census Bureau releases population estimates, we see a flurry of news reports comparing the growth rates of cities or states, or comparing the recent national growth rate with prior years.  Sadly, there is a common denominator in all the reporting: every report starts with the unexamined assumption that a growing population is 1) beneficial, 2) possible, and 3) universally desired. Please let me know if you find a news report that doesn’t fit this mold; I haven’t seen a single one. The headlines often provide the first clue that these assumptions are present. Here are a few examples from last week’s flurry: NewsMax: 'Depression Demographics:' US Population Crawls to...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
6
Felony
At first it seemed daunting, choosing the most obscene example of pro-growth bias from the year’s growth pornography on the Wall of Fame. There was much to choose from. 2013 was an interesting year, particularly in the population arena. Stephen Emmott’s book, 10 Billion, and Danny Dorling’s Population 10 Billion caused a stir with their differing perspectives. Alan Weismann’s Countdown also hit the bookshelves this year, generating less controversy.  It seems Emmott and Dorling touched off a global debate about whether the world is overpopulated. Every other day there was a new opinion piece defending one view or the other. We at GrowthBusters and Growth Bias Busted were glad to see...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
1
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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