Merrill Lynch calls recession; U.S. media mute
If one of the Big Five U.S. investment banks declares we're in a recession now, isn't that sort of a big financial news story?
The feared recession in the US economy has already arrived, according to a report from Merrill Lynch.
It said that Friday's employment report, which
sent shares tumbling worldwide, confirmed that the US is in the first
month of a recession.
Merrill Lynch said that the figures showing the jobless rate hitting 5% in December were the final piece in that puzzle.
What's striking is the language in the report from Merrill's North American chief economist David Rosenberg, who departs from the usual dry-as-dust prose style of such pronouncements:
"According to our analysis, this isn't even a forecast any more but is a present day reality," the report said.
It added that the current consensus view on Wall Street that there is a good chance of avoiding a recession is "in denial".
It also objected to the use of euphemistic terms for the state of the economy.
"To say that the backdrop is 'recession
like' is akin to an obstetrician telling a woman that she is 'sort of
pregnant'," the report said.
And yet, this report is getting almost no play in U.S. media. A search on Google News for "Merrill Lynch" and "recession" turns up a meager 1,253 hits, few of them relevant. And nearly all of those that are relevant come from foreign sources — mostly British. (Maybe that's because the Brits are still in celebration mode over the news that British living standards are on the verge of overtaking our own for the first time since the 19th century.)
The only establishment U.S. media where I see the story is in the DR's own hometown paper, the Baltimore Sun — and not in the dead-tree edition, but buried on one of the paper's blogs. (No metropolitan daily is complete these days without at least a dozen indistinguishable blogs that no one reads.)
What's up with this? Has the whole of the U.S. business media been Cavutoized?