Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why the Economic Scare Tactics at the Courant?

The Connecticut Center of Economic Analysis released a report yesterday that could well have been greeted as good news for Connecticut. It said the state had been in a recession for about a year, had seen "only modest job losses" during the period, projected 40,000 more job losses ahead before improvement begins and "anticipates the recession will not be a deep one for the state." The Hartford Courant treated the report with the headline "UConn Economists Latest to Predict Sizable Job Losses" and a lede saying the report was projecting "massive job losses." The 40,000 figure looks very bad, of course, but it represents only 1.8 percent of the state's workforce, so the newspaper's use of "sizable" was probably okay, but "massive" is a real stretch. The news in the report, however, is the prediction that the recession here will not be a deep one. Whether this projection turns out to be wrong or right is unknown at this point, but the reporter missed the story. What is the point of taking a mildly optimistic report and trying to make it as scary as possible for readers?

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