We asked readers to clue us in to when the media posted stories where the headline spun the underlying report. Remember, many people read only the headline of certain news items, and even if they read the entire article, it might not dispel the impression conveyed by the headline.
Sighting of the day, from reader Michael D: “Industrial Output in U.S. Falls at Slower Pace as Recession’s Grip Eases” from Bloomberg, which is the headline on the news summary page. The story itself has the somewhat more evenhanded headline “U.S. Economy: Industrial Production Contracts at Slower Pace.” Michael deemed the story itself to be putting the best face possible on the data. For instance:
Output at U.S. factories, mines and utilities decreased 0.5 percent last month, less than forecast, after dropping 1.7 percent in March, Federal Reserve figures showed today in Washington. The New York Fed’s Empire state manufacturing index rose to minus 4.6, also beating economists’ estimates.
Today’s figures signal that manufacturing is bottoming out after companies slashed their stockpiles of unsold goods the most on record in the first three months of the year. Continued weakness in consumer spending means demand is too low for firms to raise prices: government figures today showed the consumer price index was unchanged in April after a March drop.
“This is another signal that suggests the biggest pocket of weakness in the overall economy was the fourth quarter and the first quarter,” said John Herrmann, chief economist at Herrmann Forecasting in Summit, New Jersey, referring to the manufacturing reports. “Weakness is dissipating and the economy is poised to grow in the second half.”
A second sighting comes from Tyler Durden. We posted last night on a Telegraph story, in which one Michael Patterson, head of a private equity firm that used TARP funds to buy a Michigan bank, said some less than positive things about it at an conference.
If you go to the link to the story now, guess what? The Telegraph has yanked it.
Tyler Durden had the presence of mind to put up the entire piece on his blog. Patterson has been issuing requests for retraction, claiming “factual errors” and the Telly complied. Patterson has had his “representatives” which I assume means attorneys, send a copy of the letter that Patterson sent to the Telegraph effectively disclaiming the entire content of the artice. . Durden has said he is willing to correct any factual errors (as opposed to deep sixing the entire story).
Patterson spoke at the Qatar Investment Forum. He has no reason to expect confidentiality; the remarks were made in a public forum with no restrictions placed on the attendees. Durden is soliciting input from fellow panelists and attendees as to what Patterson really said.
Update 4:00 PM. I am in contact with the Telegraph and Tyler Durden to understand what steps they are taking and what I can learn from that.