Friday, August 26, 2011

What Passes for an "Informed" Press in America

Poor Dean Baker. He is trying to reverse the trend toward stupidity in the US press. It is a hopeless, Sisyphean task. He is trying single-handedly to stop the ocean's tide.

From Baker's Beat the Press blog:
Corporations Do Not Exist to Create Jobs

In an article discussing three trade agreements being debated by Congress, the NYT told readers:
"under the agreements, American service providers would be able to compete in the three countries, ostensibly adding new jobs to the American economy. Because of this, they are widely supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business trade groups."
This is wrong, wrong, and wrong. Corporations do not exist to create jobs, nor do they claim this as a goal. Invariably, corporate CEOs will say that their responsibility is to produce returns for shareholders, as they announce large layoffs. If the Chamber of Commerce is supporting these deals it is because it believes that they will increase profits, end of story.

The piece also bizarrely tells readers that the deals are projected to expand exports by $12 billion without mentioning how much it is expected to increase imports. This is like reporting a baseball score by telling us how many runs the Yankees got and not mentioning how many runs their opponents got.

It is net exports, the difference between exports and imports, that creates jobs. If the GM relocates an assembly plant from Texas to Mexico, the export of car parts from the United States is not adding jobs. Any reporter should know this and never print an export projection without including the corresponding import projection.

The piece also wrongly refers to the deals as "free-trade agreements." This is just a term that proponents use to make them sound more appealing. In fact, the deals will increase many forms of protectionism, most notably by imposing stronger patent and copyright protections on the three countries in these deals. A neutral report would just use refer to the deals as "trade agreements."
It is utterly clear that the media simply ignores Dean Baker. They haven't the slightest interest in improving the quality of their "reporting". They are in fact tools of big corporate interests and are more concerned about spreading pro-corporate progaganda and well-placed lies to mislead the electorate than they are in providing "news" that informs. Tragic.

Here is another example where the NY Times mindlessly misleads readers. Obviously they want to scare them into believing that "Social Security will not be there for you when you retire". This will facilitate dismantling the entitlement:
NYT Is Confused About the Payroll Tax Cut

The NYT told readers that the temporary cut in the payroll tax, "resulted in $67.2 billion of lost revenue for Social Security in 2011 and a total cost of $111.7 billion spread over 10 years." Actually, the cut did not cost the program anything since the lost tax revenue was replaced by general revenue.
Funny... the newspaper industry in the US wonders why it keeps losing readership. Why would people pay for fishwrap? If they reported real news and provided genuine analysis, I suspect people would be willing to support the American press. But why pay for corporate and right wing propaganda?

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