RUSH: I want to talk about the Drive-By Media and economic reporting. I have a few stories here. First from the AP: ‘Retailers Buoyed by Strong Holiday Start — The nation’s shoppers set aside worries about higher gas prices and a slumping housing market and proved their resilience over the Thanksgiving weekend, giving what the nation’s merchants wished for — a strong start to the holiday shopping season.’ How does this…? Who wrote this? Anne D’Innocenzio. How does she know that the shoppers ‘set aside worries about higher gas prices and the slumping housing market’? Were you all at home on Thursday — or at the relatives’ place, wherever you were on Thanksgiving — and then Black Friday shows up and you say, ‘You know what? Gas prices are high out there, and the subprime market’s collapsing but, Mabel, I think we ought to put all that aside and head to the mall.’ This is not how people play. They were going to go to the mall all along. They are going to go shopping all along. Why? It’s Christmas! There’s tradition here, an American tradition, and they’re going to go. Yet the Drive-Bys try to create this impression of people hunkering down, cowering in the corners, waiting for the bank to come foreclose on them, steal everything they’ve got, and have to go out and find a soup kitchen.
But a funny thing happened. Consumers put all that aside and decided to go do what consumers do: Live their lives, trying to be joyful, trying to have a good time. It’s the Thanksgiving weekend. The New York Times and Reuters, however, while reporting the good news, have to still slant it a bit. The headline in the New York Times: ‘Retail Sales Rise, But Stores Relied on Discounts.’ Really? When do they not rely on discounts? ‘With stores dangling steep discounts and consumers worried about the economy, retail sales surged on the day after Thanksgiving, yet the amount of money each shopper spent fell, according to two reports released yesterday. The report suggests that jittery consumers are flocking to rock-bottom prices and to little else, a boon for discount stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy and trouble for high…’ You know, this is just mind-boggling. No matter what… If only the rich go out, that’s a problem. That’s a disaster. If the middle class is able to go out there and spend like crazy because there are stories that cater to them, but the rich don’t show up, why, that’s a disaster!
‘Sales rose 8.3 percent on Friday compared with last year, the biggest increase in three years, according to ShopperTrak, a research company. … Higher gas prices, and a reluctance to drive to stores, may be behind the big rise in the percentage of people who shopped online…’ How about convenience? Rising gas prices, and a reluctance to drive to stores? Come on! And maybe avoid crowds? So what? They’re shopping. What does it matter where? And then CNN: ‘Although deep discounts brought out much bigger crowds of holiday bargain hunters, a major retail trade group said Sunday that shoppers actually spent less money this year over the crucial Thanksgiving weekend.’
See how news is made here? You got some groups, they got a fax machine; they say they’re experts in tracking sales. So they put out a press release, Reuters picks it up, New York Times picks it up. Why? Because it fit the template! Well, yeah the weekend was pretty good, but they didn’t spend as much — and they went to discount places! Well, here’s my take on all this, folks. I think after reading these stories, I have learned where the super-rich go shopping.
I know where they go. I am the all-knowing, all-caring, all-sensing Maha Rushie, and I know the shopping habits of the super-rich, the winners in the lottery of life — the only group surviving the worst economy in history, if you read the media — and, I’ll tell you what: The rich went out in droves on Black Friday, to Wal-Mart, Sears, Target, and they spent 8% more than last year’s event. The super-rich. Super-rich go elsewhere. The rich go to Wal-Mart, they go to Sears, and they go to Target. I’m not trying to kid anybody. I have a reason for saying this. We are not poor. We are not a destitute country. We are not a bunch of meager wage earners who can barely scrape by. The super-rich and the rich. We are a wealthy nation. Look, they spent 8% more than last year. Now, how can this be? Every headline in every economic story is dismal: doom, gloom, forecasts, weak dollar, weaker America, downsizing, globalization, lower middle class panicked, middle class panicked, upper middle class panicked, top 1% have all the money. I mean, that’s like the theme in all these news stories about the economy in recent weeks.
But I repeat: Friday this year was 8% greater than Black Friday last year. The calendar said ‘Black Friday;’ the Drive-Bys said ‘Bleak Friday’ in advance. If you follow Drive-By news, you’d expect sales down 8%, would you not? And that’s for the optimists! The news has been so negative, Black Friday sales should have been too small to measure. I mean, if the Drive-Bys genuinely had all this power to create panic and doom and gloom (and they have some; I’m not denying it), people should have gone nowhere. This should have been sales of such infinitesimal significance, they couldn’t be measured, but they went up 8%. Now, as I have said from time to time, it’s very easy being a liberal. It’s the most gutless choice you can make, actually, but it’s not that easy being a realistic liberal. To them, if it sounds good, it is good, and in election season if it sounds bad, it’s even better. Take the subprime problem, for example, folks. Home prices are softening.
Ooooh, play the disaster card!
Home prices are softening. Liberals hit you with this: ‘Seniors who retire and sell their homes, will have less to live on: less for retirement, less for dog food for themselves.’ But when those same home prices are rising, ladies and gentlemen, the doom is this: ‘Young couples can’t afford startup homes! America unfair.’ So in either event — house prices falling, which is a good sign for young couples wanting to get in the market — why, it’s bad news for the seasoned citizens. House prices go up, bad news for young couples. Up is a disaster’; down is a disaster. There is no economic news that’s not a disaster with the Drive-By Media! We hear gloom-and-doom stories that home prices could drop five, ten, maybe 20%. ‘That damn George Bush!’ But wait a minute! If housing prices went up say a hundred percent and dropped say 10%, tell me exactly where the hardship is. If the doom-and-gloom left gets you to this mantra: ‘Black Friday this year was 8% greater than Black Friday last year.’ Black Friday this year, 8% greater than Black Friday last year. That’s the mantra. The Drive-Bys hide it by portraying all the news as having a big downside, like: It was hardest on minorities this year.
RUSH: Now, what are Democrats going to do about this economy business? All they can do is go back to old pages in their playbook and try to recycle them and sell them again. Listen to James Carville who was on the Meet the Press yesterday. Tim Russert said, ‘Assess objectively the Republican race now as you see it, James.’
CARVILLE: Well, first of all, I — I think there’s th-th-th-the Republican Party is just disconnected with America. Every time that I see them talk about this is the best economy ever, I just — I — I know that we’re taping that. I think that they’re — I think the anger and angst in this country is at a level that I’ve never seen it. The Gallup poll says that the economic insecurity is the highest it’s been since 1991.
RUSH: Really? ‘The economic insecurity is the highest it’s been since 1991’? Anything magical about that year, ladies and gentlemen? That happened to be the year prior to the Clinton-Gore campaign in which their theme then was ‘the worst economy in the last 50 years.’ So now this, apparently, they’re going to set up as the worst economy in the last 16 years. All it is, is going back to the playbook. But I just saw some videotape. People showing up… There’s some story out there that 14.3% of consumers hit the stores at midnight, Thanksgiving night. Now, let me put this in perspective. I have a story here this Brian De Palma movie has bombed at the box office. It has bombed big time. So did that big thing with what’s her name, Streep, Redford, and Cruise, another anti-Iraq war movie. All these anti-war movies are failing big time. The New York Times and other Drive-By newspapers are also failing. Katie Couric is getting her butt handed to her every night. The economy is chugging along. The war is progressing positively. People are starting to understand the tax issue, and they get the illegal immigration issue. The University of Missouri beat the Jayhawks. The Democrat Congress is unprecedentedly unpopular. People are starting to get wise to Hillary and her gang, and we’re supposed to sit here and believe that the Democrats are a lock and a sure win in 2008? We’re supposed to sit here and believe that? Not I, ladies and gentlemen. Nothing’s a lock. The conventional wisdom is almost always wrong. To the phones! Debbie in Columbia, Missouri, nice to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Oh, Rush? Hi. What about our Missouri Tigers? Did you watch the game?
RUSH: Yeah. How about your Missouri Tigers?
CALLER: Yeah, did you watch the game, Rush?
RUSH: I tried to. (laughter) Yes I did. I must have had… It must have been 40 people at my house Saturday night to watch the game. We put up a sports bar menu in the Big Media room and in my library, and people were going back and forth. Yeah, we watched it, all 60 minutes plus of it.
CALLER: Boy, as a Missouri boy, you must be proud.
RUSH: It’s exciting. They’re number one in the BCS rankings, number one in the AP. The coaches poll has West Virginia number one. But, look, it’s great right now to be number one. You want to be number one on the last game of the season. You got a big game coming up Saturday with Oklahoma, and you already lost to Oklahoma.
CALLER: I know.
RUSH: So, I’m not trying to pour cold water on things here. The season isn’t over yet.
CALLER: I know, but it sure is exciting for us Missouri fans. We’re so thrilled, and it’s an honor to speak to you, Rush.
RUSH: Well, thank you. I appreciate that.
CALLER: You’re going to keep watching, right?
RUSH: Oh yeah.
CALLER: Okay. (laughing) I’m just nervous talking to you I didn’t think I would ever get through because I tried to call you before the game to talk about it.
RUSH: Right, and, see? You probably don’t think the Republicans have a chance of winning in ’08, either, but look —
CALLER: Oh, no. I love the Republicans.
RUSH: Well, yeah.
CALLER: And I think the economy is great, too.
RUSH: Good for you. Debbie, I appreciate it. Thanks much.
CALLER: Well, thank you so much Rush. It’s an honor to talk to you. Merry Christmas.
RUSH: Same to you. By the way, speaking of ‘Merry Christmas,’ Rasmussen has done an extensive poll. ‘As the holiday season begins, 67% of American adults like stores,’ retail stores, ‘to use the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ in their seasonal advertising rather than ‘Happy Holidays.’ A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 26% prefer the Happy Holidays line. There is no gender gap on this question and few demographic differences. From a politically partisan perspective, 88% of Republicans prefer ‘Merry Christmas’ while just 57% of Democrats’ do. (laughing) That is just… It’s a national holiday, for crying out loud! Does everything have to be political with these people? Yes, it does. Only 57% say they prefer ‘Happy Holidays,’ and why is this? You know why? Because they’re afraid it’s going to offend somebody. Even if it doesn’t offend them, they’re afraid that it’s going to offend somebody. ‘Heading into Thanksgiving week only 27% say they’ve begun their Christmas or holiday shopping. Consumer confidence has been sliding in recent months, giving retailers a cloudy profit forecast in 2007,’ but we now know, ladies and gentlemen, that the retailers… See, now what the retailers are worried about — or no! What the Drive-Bys are telling us the retailers are worried about is, ‘These people went out early, and now everybody is finished, they’re not going to be shopping for the rest of the month, and they’re spending less than they did last year. They need to splurge and they didn’t splurge.’ The narrative must be disaster, and the Drive-Bys can take whatever aspect of any economic story there is and turn it into a disaster for someone, and they will.