“I’m still ugly,” sniffed the young woman.
Her words come to mind when good news about our economy emerges.
They were part of a talk by a famous motivational speaker. He made a simple point: How we see reality depends on what lenses we choose to look through. For instance, when we view a cloudy day through sunglasses we see gloom.
He talked about a young woman whose outlook was bleak. She underwent surgery to correct her deformed nose. Her family, friends, and surgeon admired her new perky nose. However, she was blind to the improvements. She was biased against anything positive about her appearance.
These days, we are inundated with bias. Against good news about our economy. Much of big media ignore the good news. Literally. They simply refuse to report it.
Or when they do report it they give it the “however” or “to be sure” treatment. “The unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent last month. However, millions of American jobs are failing to lift workers above the poverty line. A new study of poverty in this country undercuts the rosy scenario portrayed by this administration…” Ad infinitum. Ad nauseum.
As for ignoring good economic news, major networks often do not mention the good news. They do not mention that unemployment is lower now than virtually any time in 50 years.
They often fail to mention that Hispanic or African-American jobless rates have never been so low. The same for various minorities.
Women’s employment numbers are breaking records. Disabled workers are joining the workforce in great numbers. As are former prisoners. Workers who have had difficulty landing jobs are now finding them.
Meanwhile, lowest-paid workers are seeing their wages rise. Families in the so-called middle class are enjoying more disposable income. Because wages are creeping up. And because the tax cuts have juiced up their take-home pay.
The employment figures tell us our economy is healthier than it has been for many years. Is it perfect? Of course not. No economy ever is. But compared to the economy of a few years ago? Compared to the economy of 6 or 8 or 18 years ago? It is healthier.
Do big media sing the praises of this economy? Not much. Workers do, despite the media.
We take the temperature of our economy in countless polls and surveys. They all show big improvement. Consumers are more confident. Consumers are more optimistic. Business owners are more positive.
This should be news. It should be big news. Because not only is our confidence up. It is breaking records on the upside. One example is the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index. Just before our last election it stood at 98.6. It May it hit 134.1. In comparison, in the middle of the Reagan boom the index was at 100.
So, what is the mood in big media? Is it time to break out the bubbly? Nah. It is more like a taste of sour grapes and curl of the nose.
Here is a May 6 report from The Week magazine. It typifies the glass-half-empty view of the media.
“Last Friday’s jobs report had some eye-popping numbers, especially an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent — the lowest it’s been since 1969. That’s great news, but not for everyone. Low unemployment means businesses are finding workers harder and harder to come by.” The headline for the story: “Why good news for the economy is bad news for employers.”
We know the reason for such attitudes. Too many people in big media wear dark anti-Trump glasses. Their lenses block the sun. This inspires them to let their political biases darken any good economic news from this administration.
It is easy to get the feeling that many of them will cheer any bad news on the economy. To many of them, this economy is still ugly.
Imagine if the next report said the economy produced 1 million new jobs in the month. And the unemployment rate fell to 1 percent. CNN would lead with something like “While job figures improved last month, a roller-skate factory in Sheboygan laid off 12 workers today, a troubling sign of…”
Tom Morgan writes about political, financial, and other subjects from his home in upstate New York. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, read more of his writing at tomasinmorgan.com, or find him on Facebook.