When Good News is Not News

There is a saying for entities, politicians and companies in trouble: no news is good news. But what if our venerable corporate media, along with far Right and Left Puritan filters, has managed to turn that on its head into "Good news is not news?" That seems to be the case of covering the important issues of the country. The media is tremendously interested in covering how the gas prices went up and that ticked people off against the president, and - oh, my, God - maybe put us into a double dip recession (which, umm, it didn't). When things are pointing down, these people are very interested in them. Not so much when things are pointing up, though.

No doubt we have had a couple of tough months. Manufacturing was beginning to slug after strong showings over the past year. Everyone was waiting with baited breath to see if it was a bump in the road to economic turnaround or the prelude to a new recession. Well, here's your answer:
July started on a positive note for U.S. stocks with Wall Street notching its fifth day of gains on Friday after a surprising jump in manufacturing data eased concerns about a tepid economic recovery.

The gains put equities on track for their best week in nearly a year, as the data and a temporary resolution to Greece's debt situation spurred increased demand for riskier assets.
Now, I am not quite sure why the jump in manufacturing jump was a "surprise." Have we not pointed out here before that American exports are growing in an almost unprecedented manner? Just what do you think would happen when other countries are buying things made in America, if it's not a boost to manufacturing? Hasn't the President been hammering it home how important the success of manufacturing is to him and his administration and his policies to support American manufacturing? You know, things like getting a trade deal from India creating 50,000 American jobs, getting South Korea agree not only to open up their auto market to US manufacturers but also to immediately end all tariff on American cars while we get to keep our tariffs on theirs for five years?

But I digress. The stock market last week looked like this (the biggest one-week rally in two years):

Dow Jones Average week of 6-27-11

The rise in the market seems to have come from strong manufacturing gains, which reports have found "surprising," as I noted above. The trend used to be that US would lose manufacturing and the rest of the world would gain. This time, though, the trend has reversed. US manufacturing is picking up, while it's cooling in Asia and Europe, bouncing up not only the Dow but also the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. A stronger than expected gain in US manufacturing is leading the way:
The pace of growth in manufacturing picked up for the first time in four months, with an index of national factory activity rising to 55.3 in June from 53.5 in May, Institute for Supply Management (ISM) data showed.

The ISM survey built on surprisingly strong regional business data on Thursday, reversing a recent trend of weaker-than-expected data.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 157.30 points, or 1.27 percent, at 12,571.64 [on Friday]. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 16.98 points, or 1.29 percent, at 1,337.62. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 39.26 points, or 1.42 percent, at 2,812.78.
If you look at this as a whole, it's pretty big news. The strongest one-week rally in US stock markets in two years, coupled with and attributable to an almost-never-seen trend in manufacturing where the US is gaining and Asia is slipping is more than a little significant. What's more, US manufacturing seems to be growing despite the slowdown in global car parts manufacturing caused by the nuclear plant disaster in Japan. If Japanese car manufacturers (and thus their US suppliers and factories) were operating at full capacity, we could easily see even better gains in US manufacturing.

This analysis and presentation is of course mostly absent from the corporate media and the sensationalized blogsphere. They don't quite know what to make of it because it doesn't fit in with their pre-set narrative that the economy is about to go into another tailspin. So what happens when you have economic news and trend that point to a continuing, albeit tough, recovery?

Suddenly it's not news anymore. I am someone who has always preferred long term trends to determine economic direction rather than short term bursts, but since the media insists on freaking out about every short term bad news, how about reporting the short term good news too? No, can't have that. You see, good news is not news.


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