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Thursday, June 12, 2008


Business boosterism

I often comment on the strong tendency of the corporate press to make unwarranted positive comments about the economy, and/or to look at every economic development in the best possible light (e.g., not taking into the need to account for population growth when reporting job "growth" which is actually "population-adjusted" job shrinkage). But today's example, which combines such capitalist boosterism with gross innumeracy, is a classic.

The headline: "A glimmer of hope on foreclosures"

And what was that glimmer of hope? Foreclosure notices fell 2.5%. But wait! The article itself points out, even in its subhead, that May had "one less [Ed. note: should be "fewer"] business day than April"! Um, let's see - 21/22 [Business days only]=.9545, which means that foreclosures should have fallen by 4.5%! So the fact that they only fell 2.5% wasn't a "glimmer of hope," it was, in fact, a "glimmer of increasing bad news."

Curiously enough, well into the article, we read that "although the total number of defaults filed statewide fell, the average number of defaults filed each day rose 2.4 percent, to an average 2,009 filings per day." So it becomes quite clear the author knew very well that there was no "glimmer of hope" whatsoever in these numbers. But that didn't prevent her, or the headline writer, from asserting that there was. The river of capitalist boosterism (and denial) runs deep and strong.

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