The invaluable John Merline of Investor's Business Daily points to oddly-timed shifts in the way that the media is describing the economy these days.

Merline notes that just prior to the election, the Fourth Estate was mostly falling over itself to pronounce that the economy was finally getting hotter than July:

Generally, the press agreed that growth would accelerate after the election, regardless of who won. Two days before Election Day, BusinessWeek proclaimed that "the economy is on course to enjoy faster growth in the next four years as the head winds that have held it back turn into tail winds." It added that "consumers are spending more and saving less," while "home prices are rebounding" and "banks are increasing lending." It predicted, "The die is cast for a much stronger recovery."

The AP, The New York Times, USA Today, and other sources were in on the deal.

Now that the election is over and Obama is safely ensconced in a second term - and pitching $255 billion in new stimulus spending - many of the same folks are reporting that, would you believe it, the economy's really in the crapper!

According to the New York Times, the administration's argument is that "the sluggish economy requires a shot in the arm."And, indeed, the Times paints a rather grim picture of the current economic situation.

Data show "the recovery once again sputtering," it reported Tuesday, adding that the "underlying rate of growth (is) too slow to bring down the unemployment rate by much." Manufacturing and exports are lagging, it noted, while consumers and businesses are "holding back" and "wage growth is weak."

Whole thing here.