The Los Angeles Times recently published a feature article that promotes a positive view of the business of aesthetic surgery. This is nice, as so many newspaper reporters can only successfully pitch an aesthetic surgery-centric article to their editor if the resulting story shows some promise of being negative and critical (e.g., "awful plastic surgery stories").

However, with the perceived very basic beginnings of an economic recovery, the Times are ready to suddenly paint a strangely positive picture of the future, in which aesthetic surgery appears to be making a comeback. What is behind the change of tone at the Times? Cosmetic surgery spending back on the upswing:

Indeed, the $12 billion to $20 billion cosmetic surgery industry had been tracking with the economy, taking a major hit last fall. Procedures in California declined even more than the national average — they were off 30% to 40% between June and December 2008, compared with the previous year.

But the industry started making a comeback in the spring, spurred by doctors' reduced rates and a sense that the economy's death spiral may be slowing. And although they are not the only generation that has embraced cosmetic procedures, baby boomers — who comprise that infamous demographic bulge in the population — are helping to spur the trend.

"A lot of the economy moves with the baby boom," said Mark Berman, an L.A. cosmetic surgeon who is president-elect of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. "What I've been telling a lot of my colleagues who are somewhat disappointed and fearful of this down economy is: Sit tight." The boomers, Berman said, are aging and "getting ugly."

And aging is great for business.

We already knew that in some areas of the country, aesthetic procedures are holding steady. Certain procedures, such as those mentioned in the above article, never lost ground in the economy. The tactics of some physicians to generate revenue in such a down economy have been published in PSP here, here, and here.

It takes time for the mainstream (or state-run) media to play catch-up and find some reason to write what I like to call encouragement-generating news articles. These stories have an underlying agenda, however. In many of the mainstream newspapers, and even on TV, the push is on to characterize 2009's economic condition as "getting so much better, so much faster than expected." The good news flies in the face of reality, but hey! good news is good news, right?

Why would the media do this song-and-dance to paint a rosy picture of the economy that does not match up with reality? The media takes this approach in describing other sectors of the economy, too — the sectors that show some sign of outlasting the economic recession. What could the media's agenda possibly be?