Posted by: christinelsmith | July 29, 2009

Obama vs Newsweek


During a North Carolina town hall meeting, President Barack Obama asked if anyone had seen the most recent issue of Newsweek Magazine, which possessed the cover “The Recession is Over”. He said “I imagine you might have found that news a little startling. I know I did.” He suggested that home sales and the stock market are improving, but that these improvements are meaningless when you have just gone through something substancial like losing your job. The Newsweek Magazine article, written by Daniel Gross, possessed the subtitle “Good Luck Surviving the Recovery” and made similar points to the ones discussed by President Barack Obama at the North Carolina town meeting. They both made the point that research suggests that the recession is coming to an end, but that the recovery from the recession is far from coming to an end. Daniel Gross, the author of the Newsweek Magazine article, struck back at President Barack Obama. He said “When economists proclaim a recession is over, they’re celebrating a technicality: they mean economic output has stopped contracting”. He continued by saying “And while that is good news, you might wait a while before adding Judy Garland’s rendition of ‘Happy Days are Here Again’ to your iPod”. He also issued a response to President Barack Obama in a blog posting on entitled “Obama Rips Newsweek Cover. We Rip Back”. Newsweek Magazine also said “We’re happy to be the president’s rhetorical device – Gross’s Second Law of Journalism holds that the only thing worse than being attacked in the media is being ignored in the media. And it’s hard to imagine President Obama being startled by anything. But, in our defense, we’d note that the cover’s declaration of the recession’s end is punctuated by an asterisk that warns, “Good luck surviving the recovery.” The article notes — as Obama’s speech does — that the discussion surrounding the end of the recession is largely a technical discussion (“GDP growth alone can’t feed a family, or a pay a mortgage”) and that we face tough economic times and a recovery that will feel a lot like a recession. The article then goes on – as Obama’s speech does – to discuss the impact of the stimulus package passed in February and the importance of health care reform to the economy’s longer-term health. It’s common to hear journalists complain of being overworked. And in this case, it’s true. In addition to writing the first draft of history, we seem to be writing the first draft of the president’s speeches.”

President Barack Obama has been getting involved in a number of issues lately and voicing his opinions through the media. Did he speak too quickly before reading the Newsweek Magazine subtitle and article or was he right in calling out Newsweek Magazine for their sensationalist cover that might promote misinformation to the public?


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