-Read the excerpt below from the "Best of the Web" post by's editor James Taranto (original post date 8/3/09.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

The following is from James Taranto’s “Best of the Web” post at 

We’d like to thank all of our readers who’ve written in to ask how our diet is going. Very well, thank you. Between the beginning of April and the end of June, we gained only 2 pounds, compared with a 4-pound gain during the first three months of the year. So our weight is definitely improving.

Don’t worry, we’re not crazy. We just made that up to illustrate a point about economics reporting.

“Improving US Economy Shows 1.0 Percent Contraction [Recession]” reads the headline of an Agence France-Presse dispatch filed last Friday:

The US economy narrowed its contraction [recession] to 1.0 percent in the second quarter, the government said Friday, offering further evidence that the brutal recession is near an end.

The Commerce Department report was stronger than expected by private forecasters who had called on average for a 1.5 percent annualized pace of contraction [recession] for the April-June quarter.

The report showed an easing of the economic slump and lent credence to predictions that the world’s biggest economy was close to emerging from a recession that began in December 2007 after a bursting of a housing bubble. . . .

“We’re seeing signs of stabilization in a lot of areas of the economy, so the worst is definitely behind us,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates.

“We are close to a bottom in the overall economy but the recovery will be weak with continuing problems in the labor market.”

To be sure, a decline of 1% is better than a decline of 1.5%; and it’s possible that the economy is “stabilizing”–i.e., moving toward growth. But it is wrong to say the economy is improving. It would be too optimistic even to say it is stagnating. The only thing that improved in the second quarter is the rate at which it is declining. Agence France-Presse might want to arrange some remedial calculus classes for its economics reporters.

Read the original post at (Scroll halfway down the page for the entry.)

*NOTE: Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French news agency, the oldest one in the world, and one of the three largest with Associated Press and Reuters. AFP has bureaus in 110 countries. It transmits news in French, English, Arabic, Spanish, German, and Portuguese.

A contraction in economics is the opposite of economic expansion; a recession.

Identifying Media Bias

To accurately identify different types of bias, you should be aware of the issues of the day, and the liberal and conservative perspectives on each issue.

Types of Media Bias:


What type of bias is the excerpt an example of?

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.


The excerpt is an example of bias by spin.