Wall of Shame

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

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

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


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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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