Vice President of the Business & Media Institute Dan Gainor outlined the media's failure in covering consumer confidence numbers in a February 15 appearance on the Fox Business Network.
"What we're talking about, instead of consumer confidence, we're talking about media competence," Gainor said. "Last year, July was the six-year high for consumer confidence and yet if you watch any one of the three network news shows, evening news shows, you didn't see it."
"This Consumer Confidence Index, more than a lot of measures, tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy," he added. "If you're going to do, as evening news shows did last year, 32 reports about consumer confidence and only one of them's positive, well you're going to have an impact on consumer confidence."
Host David Asman contended that negative media reporting is not the cause of lower consumer confidence, attributing the decline to "fundamental things that are happening."
But the media have been predicting a recession for years, long before the economy started to show signs of a slowdown. "If they were just now, or even just last year talking about recession, that would be entirely accurate," Gainor said of Asman's hypothesis. He said that in 2006, printed stories on recession averaged once per week, even occasionally comparing economic conditions in 2006 to the Great Depression.
"Folks, we're nowhere near the Great Depression," co-host Liz Claman declared.
Thanks, Liz! At least someone in the media seems to have her head on straight!