Shadowstats' John Williams Exposes The Media's Propaganda Spin, Or Why Watching CNBC Can Be Hazardous To Your Wealth

Tyler Durden's picture

In his latest letter to subscribers, Shadowstats' John Williams dissects recent economic data, and after providing yet more evidence that after the recent period of "bottom-bouncing at a low-level plateau of business activity" the economy has once again entered a double dip. Overall, it has cost the US taxpayers several trillion in debt (which will never be repaid), and a major hit to the value of the paper in their wallets, just to play the game of extend and pretend for a just under 18 months. The positive effects of the sugar high are now gone, leaving just the negative, one of which is the propaganda spin engulfing the entire legacy media complex whose survival depends on the ongoing perpetuation of the Ponzi lie that all is well. And courtesy of Mr. Williams we have prima facie evidence of precisely why formerly reputable channels such as CNBC are in the process destroying their credibility and causing an exodus of viewers, with the few remaining viewers remaining primarily for the opportunity to heckle the openly lying talking heads. To wit from Shadowstats: "Let me recount two personal experiences. Back in late-1989, I contended that the U.S. economy was in or headed into a deep recession. CNBC had me in to discuss my views along with a senior economist for a large New York bank, who was looking for continued economic growth. Before the show, the bank economist and I shared our views in the Green Room. I outlined my case for a major recession, and, to my shock, his response was, "I think that pretty much is the consensus." We got on the air, I gave my recession pitch, and he proclaimed a booming economy for the year ahead. He was a good economist and knew what was happening, but he had to put out the story mandated by his employer, or he would not have had a job. More recently, following an interview on a major cable news network (not CNBC), I was advised off-air by the producer that they were operating under a corporate mandate to give the economic news a positive spin, irrespective of how bad it was." And now you know that watching stations like CNBC for anything more than just comedic value is hazardous to your health and wealth.

John Williams criticism is even harsher:

Further complicating the outlook is a more traditional issue: pronouncements by some economists on Wall Street and financial reporters in the popular media, who act as shills for the needs of Wall Street and political Washington. While there are a number of fine and honest economists and financial reporters in their respective fields, there also are those — often very heavily publicized — who spew Pollyannaish nonsense aimed at affecting public sentiment and/or the financial markets during troubled economic times.  

I know from other personal experiences that these circumstances are commonplace. A simple example of recent distortion was yesterday’s positive hype over an unexpectedly-low weekly jobless claims number. Widely known — at least I have discussed the matter frequently — is that the Department of Labor cannot adjust the weekly claims numbers meaningfully for regular seasonal variations. Accordingly, reporting around holidays invariably results in unusually large and unexpected swings in the weekly numbers. Yesterday’s data covered the onset of the Fourth of July weekend. It would not be at all unusual to see a similarly-meaningless reverse-gyration in next week’s release.

At least we can now drop any pretense that America and the Evil Empire of the 1980's are in any way different - central planning: check; complete media subjugation: check; power to the (unionized) workers: check; "free" healthcare for all - check; the only difference is that the hegemonic kleptocrats in the US, i.e., the banking elite, are sophisticated enough to keep the plebs distracted and while enjoying their last years of power in a collapsing regime, are rapidly transferring whatever remaining pockets of wealth in US (and global) society are left to their own private safes in undisclosed locations. We know how things ended for the once great USSR - it should provide a great roadmap for what is coming to the US.

And while we are on the topic of John Williams, who remains the only accurate tracker of M3 now that the Fed deems this monetary aggregate irrelevant, here is his latest commentary on the inflation-adjusted M3. It's ugly:

Plotted below is the year-to-year change in real (inflation-adjusted) M3 (updated for the Fed’s revisions) versus U.S. recessions, as recognized  by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Whenever annual real change in M3 has turned negative, the economy always has fallen into  recession, or if already in recession, the economy has entered a period of intensified downturn, usually within six to nine months of the initial M3  downturn. The signal for economic trouble ahead is the annual real M3 growth first turning negative, as happened in December 2009.