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Behind the Scenes: Velshi looks for economic good news

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  • Economic news may be bad, but it could be worse
  • Velshi tries to find both sides of the story
  • He says he doesn't want to depress CNN viewers
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By Ali Velshi
CNN Senior Business Correspondent
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In our Behind the Scenes series, CNN correspondents share their experiences in covering news and analyze the stories behind the events. Ali Velshi, CNN senior business correspondent, covers the economy.

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Ali Velshi says he doesn't want to be a prophet of doom.

(CNN) -- People say I am depressing them.

Not just people. People who watch me on TV. Particularly, people who watch me on TV in the morning. How do I know? Because they e-mail and say so.

This is bad. Morning TV is not meant to depress people. But it's not my fault -- the economy is Issue No. 1 during this election -- and my beat is covering the economy.

Problem is, when you see my chubby mug on TV, it is generally bad news. It hasn't always been that way. I've covered good business news, too. In fact, I covered some good news this week. Good economic news.

You already know that gas prices are high -- 17 straight days of records. What's the good news? On the 18th day, it didn't set a record.

You already know that oil has reached almost $120 a barrel. The good news? It almost touched $110 a barrel (before heading back up, but that sort of ruins the flow of my story.). It has also made a lot of you decide to buy cars instead of trucks. Sales of fuel efficient cars and hybrids soared in April.

You already know the U.S. dollar is weak against the euro and most other currencies. The good news?

It has started to move up a bit, which means you can think about traveling again. Except airfares have gone up because of fuel prices, so forget it.

You already know that economic growth is slow. The good news? The Fed cut interest rates again. The bad news, though, is that cutting interest rates -- in a way more complicated than you probably want me to get into -- often makes inflation worse.

You probably know that about 20,000 people lost their jobs in April, bringing this year's total to more than a quarter of a million. Where could the good news in that possibly be? Well, in the first three months of this year, we lost more than 75,000 jobs a month. Compared to that, 20,000 looks like a win. It's not, really, but when you haven't eaten for a while, even the crumbs of a cracker look good.

And what you may have missed with all this talk of recession is that stock markets have quietly roared. The Dow is doing great, thank you very much. Check your 401(k). You might be surprised.

Bottom line is I am writing this because someone very prominent called me a "prophet of doom." Actually, it was Jon Stewart, host of the "Daily Show." And he called me a "hairless prophet of doom," which was unnecessarily mean (but funny). So I have decided to look at the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. Video Watch Stewart tease Velshi »

I was even thinking of something good to say about the housing market. Maybe if prices drop a bit more, some of you who have wanted to buy a house will be able to. And interest rates sure are low, if you have a perfect credit rating. I am one positive guy.

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A lot of people say the economy is what it is and does what it does, and that there's very little benefit, and possibly some harm, in the way we in the media harp on (mostly bad, these days) economic news.

What do you think? E-mail me at Issue1@cnn.com and let me know. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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