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The Balance Sheet

The Media Research Center

Free Market Project - Auditing the media's coverage of the free enterprise system

Volume 2 Issue 4 January 25, 2006

In this issue: Network Hit Job • Real Story of Employment • Wages/Inflation? • Good, Bad & Ugly
  Wages • Retirement • Government • Health Care • Events

Special Edition: Jobs

New from the Free Market Project

Media Myths: Hit Job
Networks Emphasize Layoffs in a Year of 2 Million New Jobs
A little more than half of the network stories on employment in 2005 were bad news. Layoffs, outsourcing, cutbacks. While the nation experienced hardships from Hurricane Katrina’s devastation and the auto industry’s trials, the overall picture of U.S. employment was a very positive one. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent, while the country enjoyed the latest in a 31-month streak of job growth. But watching the evening news, you’d never know it, as the Free Market Project’s latest Media Myth reveals.

Commentary: Networks Do a Poor Job with Unemployment Coverage
When you look out your window, do you see soup lines? The networks sure did when they were reporting on employment in 2005. It’s time we demanded a new deal from journalists who take every opportunity to hype layoffs at the expense of millions of new jobs.

CNN Spends 2005 Telling People They’re Going Backwards
Broadcast journalists, especially on CNN, have been obsessed with the relationship between wages and inflation. Trouble is, they haven’t been informing the public accurately. They’ve declared inflation is “killing the middle class.” But when it comes to wages and inflation, the current pattern since 2001 follows the same as previous economic recoveries, a fact that was lost on CNN. A little context could end the scaremongering.

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
The Good, the Bad & the Ugly tracks the best and worst media coverage of business and economics. Readers are invited to submit suggestions or news tips to staff writer Ken Shepherd.
This week:  BusinessWeek on how outsourcing benefits the economy; Lou Dobbs takes erroneous outrage on the road; CNN on Hollywood stars vs. Wall Street execs.

Also from FMP:

Newscasts Overlook Ford’s Costly Severance Programs

CNN’s Dobbs Blames Free Trade, Non-Union Labor for Ford’s Woes

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Research, News & Commentary


Commentary: Detailing how minimum wage hikes actually increase the number of people employed below the minimum wage line, Alan Reynolds argues that “moralizing can easily substitute for economics among elitists who don’t really care how many more people they shove into the ranks of those paid less than some local or national minimum.”


Analysis: “A person who spends $300 a month on the lottery could instead earn nearly half a million dollars in the stock market $433,208 more than he would win playing the lottery,” say the authors of a new study on how “Lottery Taxes Divert Income from Retirement Savings.”


Commentary: It’s time to repeal the “toilet mandate.” Highlighting an example of wasteful government regulation, Andrew Ferguson calls for the elimination of a federal regulation limiting toilet tank capacity to 1.6 gallons. It’s a vain attempt to promote water conservation, and new toilets designed to fit the standard often require several flushes to do the same job an ol’ 3.5-gallon toilet did with one pull of the lever.

Commentary: Noting that the “Postal Rate Commission has not prohibited a rate increase” since the early 1970s, Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist suggests the U.S. Postal Service should look at cutting its size, not raising postal rates.

Health Care

Commentary: In the face of the double-whammy of the world’s most expensive health care system and a “rapidly aging society,” AEI’s Kevin Hassett argues ahead of President Bush’s Jan. 31 State of the Union Address that “It’s Time to Face Up to the U.S. Medicare Crisis.”

Commentary: Citing press accounts that President Bush will promote health savings accounts in his upcoming State of the Union, Cato’s “Daily Dispatch” blog offers brief analysis, linking back to previous studies Cato has done on health care reform.

Upcoming Events

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Massachusetts Health Care Reform
The Heritage Foundation

Jan. 26, 2 p.m.

Latin America’s Lurch to the Left
American Enterprise Institute

Jan. 27, 10 a.m.

Saving Freedom and Saving Money: The Fiscal Impact of the D.C. Voucher Program
Cato Institute

Jan. 31, 12 p.m.

Size Matters: How Big Government Puts the Squeeze on America's Families, Finances, and Freedom (and Limits the Pursuit of Happiness)
Cato Institute

Feb. 2, 12 p.m.

Join Us in Telling 50 Million Americans Every Week About Liberal Media Bias!

Editorial Staff
Dan Gainor, Free Market Project Director
Amy Menefee, Balance Sheet Editor
Charles Simpson, Research Analyst
Ken Shepherd, Staff Writer

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