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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Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner

Dave is the director of the documentary GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth. Dave is also president of Citizen-Powered Media, a non-profit working to find the cure to our society's growth addiction. Growth Bias Busted is one of the projects of Citizen-Powered Media's ongoing GrowthBusters public education program.
IMF Worried We're Destroying the Planet Too Slowly One day this headline will have a completely different meaning: Economic growth will disappoint again in 2016, warns IMF's Christine Lagarde In today’s growth-addicted world, however, the story below this headline is exactly what you’d expect. Too little economic growth is forecast to satisfy the growth junkies. One day, the world will come to understand that perpetual economic growth is unsustainable. It will also be common knowledge that economic growth on a full planet results in higher levels of climate destabilization, faster liquidation of nonrenewable (and even renewable) resources, and greater injury to the health of our life-supporting ecosystems. Until that...
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Paris Climate Accord Response a Mixed Bag A windstorm of media coverage over the weekend announced an accord was reached in the Paris climate talks. The reviews were mixed. Today’s USA Today quotes U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry: "The result will be a very clear signal to the marketplace of the world that people are moving into low-carbon, no-carbon, alternative, renewable energy, and I think it's going to create millions of jobs, enormous investments into R&D, and that R&D is going to create the solutions…." Kerry MAY realize the total global economy needs to shrink if we are to come anywhere close to the temperature-rise goals of the...
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Gold Somewhere Over the Growth Rainbow Here’s an editorial that appeared last month in the Decatur, Illinois Herald & Review. I’ve been saving it for a slow Monday, because it deserves a little slow roasting. Council Votes Against Growth Ugh. Yes, this piece is over-the-top boosterism. In bemoaning a council decision not to enable a big store to locate in a neighborhood, it offers textbook examples of unexamined assumptions about the goodness, and universal worship, of growth. “All seven members of the Decatur City Council have expressed interest in helping the community grow and prosper.” That’s our first clue, the all-too-common growth mania trifecta: “grow and prosper.”...
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AP: Include Both Perspectives & Leave Out Reporter Opinions in Economic Reporting Woe is me. According to Martin Crutsinger of Associated Press: “The U.S. Commerce Department said Thursday that the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at a tepid annual rate of 1.5 per cent in the July-September quarter….” Fortunately: “Encouragingly for the economy, consumer spending remained solid….” If there is a sarcasm emoticon, insert it here. Because I’m actually disappointed in the economic reporters around the world who insert their value judgments about GDP growth into every story, such as this one about the latest quarterly U.S. GDP growth estimates. The reports assume that robust growth is universally acclaimed and...
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Economic Reporting Driven With Defective Dashboard Today’s Wall of Shame “honoree” is a classic example of the pro growth bias that pervades our media. It’s classic because it illustrates perfectly these key points that are central to what we’re trying to highlight at Growth Bias Busted: Pro growth bias is presented not as a perspective, and opinion, or one of many viewpoints. It is presented as unquestioned, universal truth. In most cases, journalists guilty of biased reporting are not conscious of the bias. They do not intend to propagandize. Their reporting is informed by years of bias that have clouded their own judgment. I know the reporter...
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