Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Negligent journalism

We do have sort of an obligation to report what candidates and their little friends say and do when they're out there urging you to make your comparative decisions in their favor. We don't have an obligation to help them lie:

Bush* said the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., with President Barack Obama and Sen. Majority leader Harry Reid has led to a recession where economic growth is only about 2%. He said under Republican leadership, the U.S. can grow at 3.5% to 4%.

"The dysfunction in Washington, D.C., with President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader** Harry Reid" is sort of random reporter-speak, but probably not too inaccurate a reflection of the speaker's opinion. Fine. "He said under Republican leadership, the U.S. can grow at 3.5% to 4%" -- well, even the AP would want a complementizing "that," and as opinions go, it's on the flying-unicorns side, but if that's his pitch, we need to let him make it.

The problem is in the middle: "A recession where economic growth is only about 2%." News flash for Jeb, and for the folks who wrote it and who waved it along into print: That's not a recession. The cheapest first-year-econ definition of a recession would be two straight quarters of GDP shrinkage. You don't have to like the way the economy is going, but if you say it's doing something it's not, you're in the same category as the poll unskewers and the goober at the New York Post who's going to come out any month now with definitive proof that the usurper's minions rigged the BLS employment data in fall 2012. That's not a good place for the press -- the honest press, at least -- to be.

* Jeb, if you're scoring along at home
** How do you hide a five-dollar bill from a reporter? Put it in the stylebook. "Sen." is short for Senator, not Senate, and "majority leader" should be capitalized before the name. Sheez.

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