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Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson slammed the media for adopting White House talking points regarding the recession the U.S. economy has officially entered. 

In the days leading up to last week’s economic report that showed two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, which has long been the common definition of a recession, numerous Biden administration officials have pushed a narrative that the report wouldn’t definitively declare a recession. Rather, they argued GDP is one of many factors that are considered and that a recession can only be determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee. Many media outlets were quick to embrace the narrative. 

During an interview with Fox News Digital at CPAC in Dallas, Carson said Thursday he found it “rather humorous” that the Biden administration and media redefining a recession would “solve” the problem. 

“You know, there’s a vicious dog going around biting everybody. ‘It’s not a dog, it’s a canary. It just looks like a dog.’ I mean, basically, it depends on being less than intellectually strong, that’s a good way of saying stupid,” Carson quipped. “And I don’t think most people are stupid. I think they know exactly what’s going on.”

BIDEN WHITE HOUSE TALKING POINTS REFINING RECESSION QUICKLY EMBRACED BY MEDIA OUTLETS

US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson addresses the Republican National Convention in a pre-recorded speech at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, in Washington, DC, on August 26, 2020. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson addresses the Republican National Convention in a pre-recorded speech at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, in Washington, DC, on August 26, 2020. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

Much of the media went along with the Biden administration’s attempt to shift the definition of a recession.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman told readers “there’s a pretty good chance” that GDP shrank in the second quarter, which will trigger “breathless commentary” about there being a recession. But he insisted “we won’t be.”

“That’s not how recessions are defined; more important, it’s not how they should be defined,” Krugman wrote. “It’s possible that the people who actually decide whether we’re in a recession… will eventually declare that a recession began in the United States in the first half of this year, although that’s unlikely given other economic data.”

BIDEN COMEBACK? MEDIA HYPES ‘SUCCESS’ FOLLOWING SCHUMER-MANCHIN DEAL WHILE SINEMA HAS YET TO BACK CLIMATE BILL

Boston Globe reporter Jim Puzzanghera struck a similar tone on Saturday, claiming “it’s not officially a recession until a small group of experts empaneled by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge says so — and they are known to take their time.”

Politico’s Ben White tweeted, “The White House is pretty obviously right that even two quarters of shrinking GDP would not show the economy is currently in recession.” He wrote last month, though, that “I’m sorry to report that the conditions are ripe for a slide in gross domestic product growth that lasts at least two quarters, the technical definition of recession.”

U.S. President Joe Biden, March 31, 2022. 

U.S. President Joe Biden, March 31, 2022. 
(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo)

The Associated Press published an “EXPLAINER” on when to know a recession has begun, telling readers, “By one common definition, the U.S. economy is on the cusp of a recession. Yet that definition isn’t the one that counts.”

POLITICO, CNN, MSNBC JOURNALISTS BACK OFF RECESSION DEFINITION THEY PREVIOUSLY ESPOUSED

“On Thursday, when the government estimates the gross domestic product for the April-June period, some economists think it may show that the economy shrank for a second straight quarter. That would meet a longstanding assumption for when a recession has begun,” AP reporter Christopher Rugaber wrote Monday. “But economists say that wouldn’t mean that a recession had started. During those same six months when the economy might have contracted, businesses and other employers added a prodigious 2.7 million jobs — more than were gained in most entire years before the pandemic. Wages are also rising at a healthy pace, with many employers still struggling to attract and retain enough workers.”

White House economic adviser Brian Deese reversed on his own "technical" definition of a recession that he espoused in 2008.

White House economic adviser Brian Deese reversed on his own “technical” definition of a recession that he espoused in 2008.
(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

CNN White House reporter Jeremy Diamond, after a network panel mocked the White House’s attempt of redefining what a recession is, said last month the White House was “actually correct” to say that consecutive quarters of negative growth weren’t indicative of a recession.

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“The White House has been eager to push back on this notion that two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth automatically equals a recession. Yes, it is a rule of thumb. But the White House is really emphasizing here, and trying to educate the public essentially, over the last week, that there are all these other economic indicators that also go into that, and that it is not necessarily indicative of a recession. They are actually correct on that,” Diamond said.

President Biden and supportive journalists touted July’s strong economic report, which blew past expectations by showing 528,000 new jobs last month, as proof they were right to say there is no recession. The economy remains beset by record inflation, however, and the Fed may again hike interest rates in an effort to tamper prices.



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