CBS Squeezes in Bad Economic News before McCain Speech

CBS "Evening News" didn't have time for good economic news the night of Sen. Barack Obama's acceptance speech, but they made time for bad news last night before McCain took center stage.

Katie Couric announced "disappointing economic news" about jobs and retail sales on "Evening News" September 4:

“The government reported today that 15,000 more Americans joined the line for unemployment benefits. And despite back-to-school bargains, consumers were not in a spending mood in August. Major retailers reported sales were up just over 1 percent from last year.”

“Just over 1 percent” was actually closer to 2 percent – the International Council of Shopping Centers reported a 1.7-percent increase over August 2007.

Couric’s downbeat assessment lasted 27 seconds and ignored good economic news about gross domestic product (GDP) announced by the Commerce Department August 28. The department revised the second quarter 2008 GDP to 3.3 percent, exceeding economists’ predictions of a 2.3 percent increase. That data confirmed that the U.S. economy was not in recession during 2008, despite media and political claims to the contrary.

But turn back the clock just one week to the night of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. On August 28, “Evening News” didn’t make any room at all – not even the same 27 seconds – in the broadcast for good news about a jump in gross domestic product.

NBC "Nightly News" also ignored the surge in GDP the night of Obama's "economic is in turmoil" speech, while ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson took 13 seconds to mention it, as Brent Baker wrote that night."

The Business & Media Institute found that throughout the Democratic convention, the news media helped reinforce Obama's negative economic views by echoing his rhetoric or leaving it unchallenged.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.