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U.S. consumers did not pillage the planet last quarter as fast as first thought, but economists are optimistic we'll get back to our rapacious ways as the weather warms. Friday’s Marketplace Morning Report from American Public Media headlines my list of disappointing news reports about U.S. GDP growth figures revised downward. It wasn't the news that caused my despair, but the biased way in which it was reported. They all make the Wall of Shame today for their unquestioned assumptions about the goodness of economic growth. On Marketplace, anchor David Brancaccio immediately got my attention when he inserted his own judgment into what I thought was a NEWS report (I’ve added...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
4
Felony
The world’s top economies have embraced a goal of liquidating the planet of resources $2 trillion faster over the next five years.  In the final communique from the two-day meeting of the G20 in Sydney, finance ministers and central bankers responded to immense pressure to create tens of millions of new jobs: “We will develop ambitious but realistic policies with the aim to lift our collective GDP by more than 2 percent above the trajectory implied by current policies over the coming five years.”  With human population growth adding roughly 80 million new job-seeking hungry mouths every year, and with universal agreement that perpetual economic growth is physically possible, the financial...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
9
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

Posted by on in Wall of Shame
Let's consider economic health. Associated Press is a regular on the Wall of Shame for its economics reporting, but we will persist in highlighting the pro-growth bias until reporters like Christopher S. Rugaber (a repeat offender here at Growth Bias Busted) are shamed into writing objectively about economic health. (note: image is not from this news story) This story about a survey of economists could easily report on the bias of most of the economists without buying into that bias and assuming it’s the only side of the story. Instead, we get the usual code words that keep most readers believing perpetual economic growth is physically possible, and a universal good...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
4
Felony
This August 15 Associated Press story is about 17 EU countries that use the euro seeing collective economic output increase. Business is booming in parts of Europe. The story quotes a business owner: “We’re finally starting to see a bigger growth curve in Spain, and the strong growth in Italy has been a surprise,' Minube’s co-founder, Pedro Jareno, said. 'The improvements we are starting to see in the market are constant."  The growing European economy is described as a “brighter – or less gloomy – backdrop” and as an “improvement.” A quarter of higher growth is “better” according to the headline. Words like anemic are used to describe slow or no growth,...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
4
Felony
There is something disappointing about the performance of the U.S. economy. This Associated Press story reports as though slow growth is bad and robust economic growth is an unalloyed good. AP Economics Writer Christopher Rugaber does not question the take of a federal government report and the Federal Reserve. The perspective of this writer comes across loud and clear: Of course, EVERYONE agrees we need more growth! The judgment that slow growth is bad is telegraphed at several points in the story (emphasis is mine): “The economy grew at a lackluster 1.7 percent annual rate….” “That was better than a revised 1.1 percent rate” “Despite the economy's tepid showing in the April-June...
How much shame?
Misdemeanor
2
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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