But-ting In On Prosperity

Despite the constant stream of favorable economic news, the  New York Times remains unrelenting in its efforts to downplay any favorable information, lest its readers give any credit to the Bush administration for the extraordinarily strong and prosperous economy the nation is enjoying.

One of the Gray Lady's favorite devices is the constant following of any positive information with a 'but' clause casting a note of gloom, doom, or doubtfulness on the good news. Today is no exception, a business writer Vikas Bajaj wields the hatchet with an article (page C3) whose boldface headline provides the tip—off to what's coming:

Growth Accelerated in March, But a Slowdown Is Expected

Here are a few excerpts from the article's text, with the 'buts' — written by Bajaj or picked up by him from selective quotes ——  highlighted by me:

The economy ended the first quarter on a high note, according to two Commerce Department reports released yesterday, but economists cautioned. . .

The Federal Reserve's beige book report presented a similar upbeat view but noted that higher energy prices were hurting businesses and that home sales were cooling in much of the country.

"Neither the economy, nor the housing market has gone flat," said Stuart G. Hoffman, chief economist for the PNC Financial Services Group. "But it will continue to deflate a little bit."

New—home sales rose to an annual pace of 1.21 million in March, up from 1.07 million the month before and 1.2 million in January. Sales increased in all four regions of the country. * * * But the market was weaker when compared with a year ago

If businesses continue to show such strength they could offset some slowdown that analysts expect in housing and consumer spending, but not all of it, economists said.

The Times's motto may be 'All the news that's fit to print,' but that doesn't prevent it from putting a negative spin on news it doesn't like.

"The economy has shown tremendous resilience in the face of energy prices so far," said David Greenlaw, an economist at Morgan Stanley. "But this latest spike will have a noticeable effect in the next couple of months."

Richard N. Weltz    4 27 06

Despite the constant stream of favorable economic news, the  New York Times remains unrelenting in its efforts to downplay any favorable information, lest its readers give any credit to the Bush administration for the extraordinarily strong and prosperous economy the nation is enjoying.

One of the Gray Lady's favorite devices is the constant following of any positive information with a 'but' clause casting a note of gloom, doom, or doubtfulness on the good news. Today is no exception, a business writer Vikas Bajaj wields the hatchet with an article (page C3) whose boldface headline provides the tip—off to what's coming:

Growth Accelerated in March, But a Slowdown Is Expected

Here are a few excerpts from the article's text, with the 'buts' — written by Bajaj or picked up by him from selective quotes ——  highlighted by me:

The economy ended the first quarter on a high note, according to two Commerce Department reports released yesterday, but economists cautioned. . .

The Federal Reserve's beige book report presented a similar upbeat view but noted that higher energy prices were hurting businesses and that home sales were cooling in much of the country.

"Neither the economy, nor the housing market has gone flat," said Stuart G. Hoffman, chief economist for the PNC Financial Services Group. "But it will continue to deflate a little bit."

New—home sales rose to an annual pace of 1.21 million in March, up from 1.07 million the month before and 1.2 million in January. Sales increased in all four regions of the country. * * * But the market was weaker when compared with a year ago

If businesses continue to show such strength they could offset some slowdown that analysts expect in housing and consumer spending, but not all of it, economists said.

The Times's motto may be 'All the news that's fit to print,' but that doesn't prevent it from putting a negative spin on news it doesn't like.

"The economy has shown tremendous resilience in the face of energy prices so far," said David Greenlaw, an economist at Morgan Stanley. "But this latest spike will have a noticeable effect in the next couple of months."

Richard N. Weltz    4 27 06