I found two news stories today to be interesting. Let’s compare the headline and first paragraph from each. The first one comes from The New York Times:
G.D.P. Grows at Tepid 1.9% Pace Despite Stimulus
The American economy expanded at a weaker-than-expected 1.9 percent annual rate between April and June, the Commerce Department announced Thursday, while numbers for the last three months of 2007 were revised downward to show a contraction the first dip since the recession of 2001.
The second story reporting the same news comes from MSNBC:
Economic growth picked up in second quarter
Tax rebates energized consumers; contraction recorded at end of 07
WASHINGTON – Economic growth picked up in the second quarter as tax rebates energized consumers. The rebound followed a treacherous patch where the economy jolted into reverse at the end of 2007.
Did you notice the difference? The New York Times article is gloom and despair, with a shiv to President Bush’s stimulus package right in the article’s title. And as an added bonus, reports that the fourth quarter of 2007 showed negative growth for the first time since *ominous noise* 2001. The MSNBC article also identifies the negative growth in Q4 2007, but is upbeat about the second quarter report of 2008.
If you continue to read, you’ll find out in the second paragraph of the MSNBC article that the Q2 growth was double the Q1 growth. That’s a good thing, right? The New York Times article doesn’t bring up the Q1 growth of 0.9% until the seventh paragraph. Oh, and The New York Times article says it was published August 1st, 2008 — proof positive that they have a time machine.
But there’s no bias in the news.