Accuracy in Media

Reuters issued an analysis of economic news that argued that conditions were improving and that the improvement would help President Obama’s re-election hopes. Reuters characterized Republican claims that the economy is not improving as quickly as it would without the President’s policies as “attacks.”

Reuters neglects to note that the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate has risen since its “recovery” low of 8.8 percent in the past three months.

Reuters notes correctly that “gasoline prices are down sharply from their highs in May” but does not put this statistic into the proper context. The American Automobile Association’s survey of national gas prices shows that gas prices have on average risen about 80 cents since July of last year. Moreover, they are about double what they were when President Obama took office

Reuters quotes a Goldman Sachs economist arguing that “a little sun shone through the clouds this week.” Reuters also quotes a pollster saying that “All the projections suggest that things will be slightly better in a year.” The quality of such economic projections should not be in dispute, as few economic developments are “unexpected.”

Reuters quotes a Democratic strategist who claims that “If the unemployment rate were 7.5 percent, he’ll get re-elected hands down.” The only GOP response Reuters notes is an ad which “listed the country’s economic problems, including the high unemployment rate, $14 trillion in national debt and housing foreclosures, and urged voters to ‘change direction’ and oppose Obama.”

Reuters gives the final word to Democrats who asserted that “their themes that Republicans want to preserve tax loopholes for oil companies and tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires” will resonate with voters. The reporter also plugged for President Obama’s “Twitter Town Hall.”

“Today is ‘Ask Obama’ day on Twitter, where you can ask the President a question by using the hash-tag #AskObama,” Herman Cain noted in his facebook status update on the day of the event. “I submitted a question of my own: As a mathematician, I’ve got to ask, exactly how did you come up with the jobs ‘created or saved’ number, again?” Even reporters without math degrees should be posing similar inquiries.

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