The credibility of journalism would be seriously bolstered if reporters and editors would drop the word "but" from news articles.
Rupert Murdoch's austerity-crazed Wall Street Journal is a prime offender.
Today's lede carried the headline "Europe's Economy Starts to Grow." Good news. After five miserable years, things are beginning to look up a little on the Continent.
"The euro zone's marathon recession has ended spurred on by new economic data in both Germany and France," reads the opening sentence. My take: Europe's Big Two are moving toward recovery.
And then, came the "but" zinger. WSJ's line two reads: "But the modest recovery won't go very far in fixing the bloc's deeper problems and threatens to stoke a sense of complacency in European capitals."
Holy smokes! Wrist-slitting time. Geez. Isn't that a grand assumption? Must Continent leadership revert to its old ways just because there's a bit of upbeat news. How about just reporting the news?
Journal editors then piled it on. Paragraph two reads:
"The currency bloc's return to slow growth—confirmed by data published Wednesday that showed its economy grew at a 1.1% annualized rate in the second quarter—is likely to encourage European politicians to claim that the region's debt crisis is receding. Once-frantic efforts to fix the common currency's flaws are already showing signs of petering out."
And next, they moved in for kill with:
"Most economists say the recovery is too sluggish to overcome the euro zone's multiple ailments, including still-rising debts, mass unemployment, hobbled banks and political instability."
Either the Journal management is underestimating the intelligence of its readers, or it is hell-bent on pushing for more cuts in social programs in Europe while paring taxes.
Readers understand one set of hopeful data does not mean happy days are here again. Europe faces a long tough road.
However, there needs to be a wall between straight editorial coverage and analysis. The article should have focused on why Germany and especially France reported gains. Analysis could follow. That should be in an accompanying piece.
The Journal knows better. Or it should know better, but it is too biased toward continued austerity measures to just report the facts.