WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. (TheStreet) -- Alcoa's ( AA) earnings appeared bad, but look at them in the proper context: they were actually worse. The company is the cyclical of all cyclicals and the first to report during earnings season. So it's important to get coverage of the earnings right. Most of the business media did not.Alcoa earned 15 cents a share versus expectations of 22 cents. That's bad. But it gets worse: just over a month ago, expectations were for 30 cents. Alcoa management, seeing business fading, talked them down. Over that short time period, though, earnings faded far more severely than even management's worst fears. This is essential to mention front and center. It demonstrates that management has no bead on what is going on--or is acting deceptively, perhaps telling the truth (business is sinking) slowly. Or it means that business is unspooling in a narrow frame of a few weeks. None of these scenarios is good. That's why it's so important to highlight. But many (including Bloomberg and Barron's) don't even mention the 30 cents expectations. You'd never know. Way down in its coverage, The New York Times refers to older expectations, but doesn't get specific. It's the specifics--30 cents on Sept 1--that carry weight. This isn't a matter of a few pennies many long months ago. The Wall Street Journal ( NWS) gets it right. It mentions the earnings issue in the lead. This is big. And this is bad.