I've been finding The Daily Howler's concept of a media "script," a story line that shapes coverage, often in the teeth of the evidence, particularly helpful in understanding cable news.
For example, last summer, when growth briefly broke into a gallop, cable news decided that the economy was booming. The gallop soon slowed to a trot, and then to a walk. But judging from the mail I recently got after writing about the slowing economy, the script never changed; many readers angrily insisted that my numbers disagreed with everything they had seen on TV.
--Paul Krugman today
Check your in-box, Paul. You're going to get more mail. And cable news (as I'm sure you know) isn't the sole culprit. Check out the lead story at this talk-radio site:
Another BUSH BOOOOOOM!
THE BUSH BOOM: The economy has set yet another benchmark in the recovery under the present administration. U. S. manufacturing has expanded for a record 14th straight month and a new report says hiring in the factory sector is still on the increase.
The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity rose from 61.1 the month previous to 62.0 in July. (Any number above 50 demonstrates growth.)
The index has stayed above 60 for another record - nine months....
The economy is humming...
Meanwhile, in the real world:
Consumer Spending Dives Sharply in June
U.S. consumer spending took a much deeper dive than expected in June as shoppers cut back on purchases of expensive items like autos amid slowing income growth, a government report showed on Tuesday.
Personal spending dropped 0.7 percent in June after climbing 1 percent in May, the Commerce Department said. Adjusted for inflation, spending plunged 0.9 percent.
Incomes rose a tepid 0.2 percent, a slowdown from May's 0.6 percent gain.
...Coupled with inflation and taxes, the meager income gain in June left consumers no better off than they had been a month earlier. The department said disposable income rose 0.2 percent, but was unchanged when inflation was taken into account.
Wages were unchanged, the weakest reading since December....
(And for what it's worth, every time I click on the talk-radio site's link for "humming," I get a Reuters article that's totally blank.)