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Economy Sizzles; Media Celebrate Return to Robust Destruction

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This morning the United States Department of Commerce released its advanced estimate of 2nd quarter National Income and Product Accounts – GDP. An annualized growth rate of about 3% was widely anticipated, so the 4 percent figure reported today will undoubtedly be celebrated – by the White House, growth profiteers counting their money, growth propheteers on the business news networks, and economic reporters.

All will be celebrating a number which, in truth, measures how fast the U.S. is liquidating the planet of nonrenewable resources, how fast we’re replacing wildlife habitat and farms with mcmansions on cul-de-sacs, and how much CO2 we’re pumping into the atmosphere. Yet I’m confident not a word will be spoken or written this morning about these “side effects” of economic growth. The mood will be jubilant, because of the myth we are all living: there are no limits to growth.

Meanwhile, we are closely following the business-as-usual scenario run by Jay Forrester’s team at MIT back in 1971, which portends that what is being celebrated today will actually speed us to, and over the brink. The current global economic system will collapse under its own weight, in the face of increasingly scarce energy and resources.

The economy “surged,” got a “boost,” had a “pick-up,” had “firming fundamentals” and “bolstered views for a stronger performance” this year overall. This from JPMorganChase economist Mike Feroli on CNBC:

“Consumption was a little better than we were thinking.”

Yes, higher rates of consumption are routinely applauded.

This Reuters report actually demonstrated more restraint than expected, reporting the facts with none of the usual judgment of goodness I usually find attached to news reports about GDP growth. Applause warranted. We need to see much more of this - no judgment, just facts. And I have to commend the U.S. Commerce Department, which does a great job of reporting the data without judgment. You’ll find today’s news release expressing no jubilance over the return to high GDP growth. 

Still, I expect most of the news coverage to be more like this AP report published earlier, US Economy Expected To Post Solid Second-Quarter Growth After Dismal Winter. The headline attached by U.S. News pretty much telegraphs the tone of the story by Martin Crutsinger:

“After a dismal start to the year reflecting a harsh winter, the U.S. economy showed signs of rebounding in the spring, with many forecasters expecting growth to be even stronger in the second half of the year.”

Sure enough, Crutsinger’s report following the government’s release of the data did not disappoint those raising a toast to further destruction of our children’s future:

“…the U.S. economy sprang back to life in the April-June quarter, growing at a fast 4 percent annual rate on the strength of higher consumer and business spending….”

The reporter’s judgment, and pro-growth bias, is quite clear here:

“The second quarter's 4 percent growth in the gross domestic product — the economy's total output of goods and services — was the best showing since a 4.5 percent increase in July-September quarter of 2013.”

I’m highlighting the Associated Press, a frequent flyer here on the Wall of Shame, but the shame can be shared pretty widely. 

Five stars is the limit, but please vote the severity of the crime here. Let us know in the comment section below if you find any reporting today that more accurately informs on the full ramifications of 4% annual GDP growth. And boy, we could sure use 4% growth in the level of donations supporting this non-profit effort. Please contribute a little if you appreciate what we're doing here. Thanks.

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Comments

  • Guest
    piyush Wednesday, 30 July 2014

    I will not be surprised if they actually lament the 4 % GDP growth as being not enough towards meeting the year end self-imposed magic target number of > 3 % GDP because the first six months of the year essentially that nasty weather (hiding under the rug any possible connection of that weather with climate change from GDP growth worship) came in the way. No sooner did the weather improved did the mindless economic activity caused GDP growth came back with a vengeance, how dare the weather prevent us from our quest to destroy the planet faster and faster? The nation is essentially celebrating the compounding of destruction, boy, can we be in a madder culture than this?

  • Hugh Martin
    Hugh Martin Wednesday, 30 July 2014

    What, there are people who still believe U.S. government stats? Now that's shameful.

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Guest Saturday, 01 November 2014

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