Reality Check: The Unreported Good News About America

Reality Check: The Unreported Good News About America

Reality Check: The Unreported Good News About America

Streaming headlines, round-the-clock broadcasts–we live in a world of twenty-four hour news. But lately, most of what we read and hear is either negative, biased, or both. Cutting through the gloomy reports and liberal slant are Dennis Keegan and David West with their brand new book, Reality Check: The Unreported Good News About America. Contrary to what the cynical reporters and politicians say, Keegan and West prove that America is still a shining city on a hill, with a low unemployment rate,

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5 Responses to Reality Check: The Unreported Good News About America

  1. 740662 438512Dead written subject matter, Actually enjoyed reading by means of . 523077

  2. e2nGRx says:

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  3. Carlton Higbie says:
    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hot Potato Issues Answered, August 19, 2008
    By 
    Carlton Higbie (Greenwich, CT) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Reality Check: The Unreported Good News About America (Hardcover)
    This is an excellent condensed survey – made for ordinary people — of important economic questions of the day with clear, readable answers. And, just in time for the upcoming presidential campaign. While politics is mostly about impressions, this book has real facts (many quite surprising) which dispel many commonly believed myths.

    The topics are packaged one-to-a-chapter so you can digest an issue at a time. The authors leave out the more baroque analytics which make economics inaccessible or dry to some people, but they know how to zero-in on the key facts. I found myself repeatedly saying: “I didn’t know that!”

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  4. Tuomala says:
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Necessary Book, December 1, 2008
    By 
    Tuomala (Roxbury, Connecticut) –

    This review is from: Reality Check: The Unreported Good News About America (Hardcover)
    The right way to think about anything is through critical analysis and reasoning. The authors of Reality Check have taken that approach, and it is an excellent read. By focusing on facts rather than perceptions, and weighing ideas against each other, they have provided a refreshing contrast to conventional thinking and misconceptions regarding the important political, economic and social issues of the day. America has its challenges, and things are obviously worse than when the book was published earlier this year, but it remains the best place on earth in terms of freedom and political/economic opportunity, as the authors clearly show.

    If nothing else, this book will expand your thinking and worldview about important issues, while providing a refreshing contrast to media distortions. I highly recommend it.

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  5. Roger J. Buffington says:
    9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A realistic view of America as she enters the 21st Century …, August 23, 2008
    By 
    Roger J. Buffington (Huntington Beach, CA United States) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      

    This review is from: Reality Check: The Unreported Good News About America (Hardcover)
    As John Adams famously said, “facts are stubborn things…” The purpose of this piece is to debunk certain items of common knowledge about America as she enters the 21st Century. The traditional mass-media often presents various beliefs more or less as truths, which they support with selectively derived anecdotal evidence. The approach taken in the book is to isolate a common (usually media-driven) belief, and then examine it in light of actual statistical data. The dismayingly common result is that we find that many common notions about America’s place in the world are simply wrong.

    Also by way of disclosure, I went to college with, and was friends with, author Dennis Keegan at UCLA and we both served in the US Army in Germany in the late 1970s. Both of us were tank commanders during that time.

    For example, during most of the Bush Administation (of which I am no great fan, I state by way of disclosure), the media has incessantly informed the citizenry that the United States is in recession, with dangerously high unemployment, anemic job creation, and an economy that is losing competitiveness to other countries. Only problem is–this is not so. The authors present statistics that show that the US ranks in the top five countries for GDP growth during most of the past eight years (dropping to number 12 during 2007 only, as the unwinding of the mortgage lending and housing bubble takes a toll). Average GDP growth of the American economy also must be viewed, as the authors point out, in light of what it is that is growing–many economies that have higher growth than America are relatively small. Put in context, during the last eight years the growth component alone of the American economy is larger than the *entire* Chinese economy. Similarly, as the authors point out, America’s share of global GDP is greater, not less, than it was 12 years ago. This is not an indicator of a country in decline.

    The authors take on many other media-driven myths, and show that such myths do not withstand scrutiny. For example, the notion that tax cuts only benefit the rich, who are not paying “their fair share” of taxes. Hard to reconcile this with the statistic that 1% of taxpayers pay 40% of all Federal taxes, and 86% of the taxes is paid by the top 25% of wage earners. Put simply, persons of modest means in the United States pay far less of their earnings in taxes, in percentage terms, than those in the top earnings strata. One would not know this from the unending media drumbeat about how tax cuts favor the wealthy.

    The last example of a debunked media myth that I will mention in this review is the canard that America’s industrial base is disappearing. There is no more frequently heard media myth. Problem is, the US exports more manufactured goods than any other country, at least most years. (Further, a lot of European exports constitute trade between relatively small and adjacent European economies; analogous to trade among states in the USA).

    Mr. Keegan’s particular strength is economics, but the book also contains numerous chapters dealing with more political issues. My favorite is the analysis of Hurricane Katrina. Not surprisingly, here the authors make a strong case that it was the corruption and incompetence of the Louisiana local and state authorities, not FEMA incompetence, that caused the problems that got so much media play. (And of course many of the “problems” were simply media myths.) It is noteworthy that other locations of Katrina devastation fared much better, e.g. Texas and Mississippi. The authors cite a 2006 bipartisan report on the disaster which notes that “It is clear [that] accurate reporting was among Katrina’s many victims. If anyone rioted, it was the media.”

    The real problem that this book tries to take on is the fact that the media usually has an agenda, and if objective facts conflict with that agenda, the media will rely on carefully selected anecdotal evidence rather than objective facts. This is a very real danger to the American republic, which over the long run requires a reasonably well-informed electorate in order to function well. Fortunately, the rise of the internet has begun to supplant, or at least challenge, the traditional media. Aided by books like this one. Recommended.

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