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What The Media Tell Americans About Free Enterprise

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June 1996



On May 2, the Clinton administration (and many reporters) busily played up the news that the economy had grown at a 2.8 percent rate. ABC's Brit Hume, while not downplaying the news, put it in political perspective.

Hume reported that Clinton economic advisor Laura D'Andrea Tyson called this "the second longest peacetime expansion since World War II, not mentioning that the longest was during the Reagan years, which the Clinton administration prefers to call the decade of greed." Hume pointed out that "she also did not mention that the expansion includes the last part of the Bush administration, a time Mr. Clinton always claimed was a recession."

Later that month, NBC's Mike Jensen reported another bit of good economic news. The giant companies that had been downsizing, Jensen said, have "finally started to rehire."

Unlike past reports on downsizing, Jensen interviewed a consultant who explained that the downsizing wave allowed companies to become more productive and profitable. The consultant, John Challenger, told viewers: "These companies are able to hire many people because of the downsizing decisions they made over the last few years."

Jensen even mentioned something rarely revealed in the news: "Ninety thousand new jobs were added to the nation's workforce every month on average for the last year, many of them at small companies." Jensen ended on a negative note, though. He said that many of these big companies are still downsizing their weaker divisions. "That's the new corporate America. Quick to fire, quick to hire, with American workers scrambling to find a job and to keep one." (See front page for why that's not the typical plight of workers.)


Rich Noyes





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