In recent weeks, media outlets have focused heavily on negotiations regarding raising the debt ceiling. But television news has failed to highlight the pressing need for stronger economic growth. Furthermore, discussions about the debt ceiling often ignore facts about deficits, instead pivoting the focus to entitlements as a driver of deficits.
Economic Growth Discussed In Only 12 Percent Of All Segments. Of the 273 total segments analyzed, only 33 mentioned the need to encourage economic growth. All networks included in the analysis are equally deficient in mentioning this point.
Negative Effects Of Failing To Raise Debt Ceiling Not Prominent. Only 100 segments out of 273 mentioned the negative economic effects of failing to raise - or threat of failing to raise - the debt ceiling. MSNBC most frequently mentioned negative effects in 41 of 68 segments (60 percent), while CNN mentioned them in 13 of 23 segments (57 percent). The remaining networks lagged far behind, with CNBC, Fox Business, and Fox News mentioning macroeconomic consequences in 26, 23, and 25 percent of segments, respectively.
Journalists Made Up Largest Share Of Guest Appearances. Of the 429 guests appearing in segments discussing the debt ceiling, 192 were identified as journalists. Political guests made up the second largest share at 135, with economists(7%) and other guests - those not identified as one of the three main classifications - accounting for the rest of guests.
Warnings From Economists Like Paul Krugman Consistently Overlooked
Media outlets have focused heavily on the topics of deficits and debt, while largely ignoring economic growth during their coverage of the debt ceiling debate. However, experts agree that the need for growth is more pressing than problems of debt, and that growth itself can be a deficit reduction tactic.