CBS and NBC on Friday night aired full stories on the very weak 1.5 percent second quarter GDP rate, down from an anemic two percent in the first quarter, yet – incredibly – ABC’s World News, which had time to champion how First Lady Michelle Obama brought her “Let’s Move” campaign to London where she “indulged in some Olympic daydreaming,” didn’t consider newsworthy the bad news for President Obama.
Instead of relaying the bad news about Obama-nomics, fill-in World News anchor Josh Elliott trumpeted: “Now to your money and the giant rally on Wall Street. The Dow up nearly 200 points, closing above the all important 13,000 mark. Something that hasn't happened in nearly three months.”
Viewers were then treated to a full report on the plight of Facebook’s stock price: “But while the Dow spiked, one stock in particular, Facebook, was in free fall, down nearly 12 percent, a new low. Today’s nose dive another body blow to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg...”
Elliott also made time to note Mitt Romney “walked back some comments about whether London was ready to host these games, saying that after a few days there on the ground, he’s convinced it is.”
In addition, Elliott and ABC squeezed in pressing news items about a study saying the “five-second rule” is wrong, that “food dropped on the floor is contaminated immediately and cannot be sanitized,” plus how a Manhattan supermarket has created a “man isle”– an “island of shelves stocked with every conceivable product a modern caveman might want” from beer to shaving cream and beef jerky.
Audio: MP3 clip
In contrast, anchor Scott Pelley teased at the top of the July 27 CBS Evening News: “The U.S. economy slows sharply, raising the risk of a new recession.” Bob Schieffer, referring to bad press in England for Mitt Romney’s comments about the Olympics, soon observed:
I would bet that the President would trade a couple of bad stories in the London newspapers for some better economic numbers here at home. These numbers out today, as you’ve just been saying, are dismal. There is no other way to put it.
Over on the Olympics-centered NBC Nightly News, from London Brian Williams announced: “New numbers from the government confirming what millions have been living. The economy went nowhere fast in the second quarter of this year.”
Reporter Tom Costello began: “Today’s numbers are fresh evidence that the economy has slowed dramatically since the end of last year. From April til June, growing at just one and a half percent....With the economy the number one issue with voters, it was bad news for President Obama and Republicans pounced.”
[UPDATE: ABC didn’t catch up the next night either, yet on Saturday’s World News reporter David Muir had time to explore the impact of Romney’s media-exploited Olympics fumble:
How much does the angering the Brits, angering leaders in London matter back home? In a razor thin presidential race, where voters in key battleground states will decide the election, it was, at the very least, an unwelcome headline for a candidate whose sole purpose here is to look ready for the job. Battleground Ohio, the headline: “Romney causes international stir.” Florida: “Romney struggles to stem his own Olympics fallout.” And Pennsylvania, the headline: “Foreign stumbles.”]