NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The jacking-up a-dividend tends to be greeted by flowers and chocolate by the media. But therein lies the problem. In the case of, say, Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), which announced a dividend increase late last week, isn't a dividend increase at this juncture simply reckless? Yet the media treats HP's dividend boost as--well, a treat. By its own admission, though, HP is tied in a nasty knot. CEO Meg Whitman portrayed a reeling company with bleak prospects at HP's shareholder meeting last week. "Our cost structure is not sustainable," she said. Ouch. Then she went and raised the dividend. Yikes. Contradiction anyone? And why didn't the media call her on it? Is this a good time to be raising the dividend? Or instead of buying shareholder friends, should HP be investing in all that really matters in the face of vicious competition from the likes of Apple ( AAPL) and IBM ( IBM): research and development. All Things D went the typical media route, merely calling the dividend hike "Good news for Hewlett-Packard shareholders." Beyond the very short-run, is it truly? Bloomberg uses Whitman's startling shareholder meeting admission that HP faces "real financial challenges," without asking if the dividend increase is appropriate. And to Reuters, HP deserves nothing but praise for keeping a promise. They wrote in their lead: "Hewlett Packard raised its quarterly dividend by 10 percent, making good on a pledge to shareholders even as it struggles to stabilize its operations and grow its revenue." Considering the evident struggles, are they doing shareholders any long-term favors? Traders should ask that question (and answer it: no), even when the media fails to.