"Some new economic reports are raising fears that we are headed for a recession," MSNBC's Alex Witt warned at 1:10 p.m. Eastern on Friday's "MSNBC Live" program. (h/t NB contributor Lynn Davidson)
The monitor behind Witt displayed a more pessimistic picture reading "U.S ECONOMY COLLAPSE?"
A recession is classically defined as two back-to-back quarters of negative growth in gross domestic product (GDP), something that last happened six years ago with the 2001 recession. So what did Witt see that portended an imminent collapse?
Well, "[f]inancial experts were blindsided by a new report today that found 4,000 jobs were cut last month. That is the first time that's happened in four years. These numbers follow another report that finds home foreclosures have hit a record high," Witt explained.
Voilà! Two scary negative statistics and there you have it, the economy teetering of the brink of utter ruin. Only, we've heard the media hype about pending recessions before. From our friends at the MRC's Business & Media Institute:
ABC, CBS and NBC referenced the Great Depression or suggested that recession was on the horizon a total of 49 times in 2006. Depression and recession were also mentioned in a historical context 28 more times. That wasn’t all:
- Good Economy or Great Depression?: Journalists used stories as diverse as savings rates and climate change to evoke images from America’s worst economic catastrophe.
- Or Maybe It’s a Recession? Network reports included warnings about interest rates, high oil prices, global warming, a slowing housing market, and terrorism that all could lead to a recession.
- Consistently Negative: The networks averaged almost one story per week that included references to an economic collapse either by recession or depression (49 times).