The Federal Reserve and the Conference Board both issued positive progress reports about the U.S. economy last week. Neither got a peep from the broadcast networks on those days.
In fact, on April 18 and 19, the evening news broadcasts on ABC, CBS and NBC included just one economic story — and it wasn’t about either of those positive economic updates. A market announcement about what the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at on one of those nights did not rise to the level of an economic "story."
CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor interviewed JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on April 18, about the bank’s plan to open hundreds of new branches across the country. Many of Glor’s questions came from the left, challenging Dimon’s positive views on the economy.
The onscreen label illustrated even more bias against upbeat economic attitudes. The chyron read, “JPMorgan Chase CEO: There will be another recession.” Those words appeared onscreen even before Dimon’s answer about when the U.S. might see an economic downturn.
It also misrepresented Dimon’s remarks by making it sound like he was forecasting a recession soon, when he was just acknowledging that economies cycle and stated “We will eventually have another recession.” Soon after he added, “Everything you look at is pretty good.”
Before that statement, Glor had asked him how much longer the economy could keep growing before another recession. Dimon cited a host of positive economic signs, said he hates forecasting the economy, and expressed the opinion that “it could go on for awhile.”
When Glor pushed back that many people are saying, “You don’t think a recession happens later this year, next year? You think it’s got a while to go?”
Glor also pushed back on Dimon’s declaration that the economy looked good saying, “A lot of folks are saying things looked good in 2006, 2007, when, in fact, they weren’t.” Dimon replied by saying “you have to analyze the facts,” and then pointed to several, illustrating the difference between the economy then and now.
Dimon also specifically credited “regulatory reform” and “tax reform” with his bank having the capital to expand so dramatically. It planned to add 70 branches in Washington, D.C. alone. He said the bank plans to go into each new market “with philanthropy, small business lending, lower and middle income mortgage lending, affordable housing, so it’s the full faith and force of J.P. Morgan hopefully helping these communities.”
Glor also asked question about tax reform from the left. Bringing up “concerns the vast majority of the benefits from this tax reform has gone to companies and executives and share buybacks.”
Dimon pointed out that although the immediate tax bill benefits may be to businesses, “Over time the capital gets reinvested and that drives productivity and wages.”
Glor repeated his question about whether that was fair, prompting the CEO to once again state, “But over time it will. Like I said, it can be very hard to do Day One. For me to open 500 branches, I need real estate people, I need to train tellers, we need to train branches, sign leases. I couldn’t — couldn’t do it overnight.”