The media are treating the economy like a good-news/bad-news story. The good news is the economy is going well and unemployment is down to just 3.9 percent — the best since 2000. The bad news is ABC, CBS and NBC evening news programs don’t want to talk about it. ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News continued to supply minimal reporting of economic issues between April 1, and May 5, 2018. Out of 105 news programs (35 nights and a show on each of the three networks) there were just 18 stories about the U.S. economy — or in less than one-fifth of the broadcasts, according to a Nexis search.
CNBC’s on-air editor Rick Santelli reacted to the April consumer confidence numbers positively, but the same night ABC, CBS and NBC evening news programs all ignored the latest update of consumer attitudes toward the economy, as did their Spanish-language counterparts, Univision and Telemundo. “Some breaking news: Consumer confidence, we are looking for a read on April and the number is 128.7, sequentially following 127 [in March]. This is a really good number. 128 and change is the best level since February's 130. 130 was best level going back to the year 2000. Very lofty levels indeed,” Santelli said during Squawk on the Street on April 24.
Stock markets have been stumbling and volatile since late January. But to hear The Washington Post tell it, that means the tax cuts failed to do what President Donald Trump said they’d do.
The Nasdaq Composite, a tech-heavy index of 5,000 stocks, set new record highs again on March 9 and 12. Citing that and a host of other economic factors, market expert Marc Chandler described the current state of the economy as a “Goldilocks moment.”
The February 2018 stock market correction was painful to watch, but the news media exaggerated the situation — piling on panic and blame with descriptions like “crash” and “freefall” — after ignoring most previous records.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by over 1,000 points by Thursday's closing and the folks at ABC News were eager to place the blame on someone during World News Tonight. That someone, of course, was President Trump and the much welcomed GOP tax cuts, which were responsible for generous bonuses and wage increases across the country.
When the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down nearly 1,200 points on Monday, the three major network news outlets (ABC, CBS, and NBC) dedicated nearly 10 minutes of combined coverage to the drop when they began their evening broadcasts. 24 hours later, the market bounced back and closed with a 500-point rebound, but the networks spent roughly half as much time on the positive news.
Throughout the day on Tuesday, MSNBC’s anchors and correspondents lectured President Trump on the perils of touting a surging stock market, in the wake of Monday’s losses. However, all of the journalists at the liberal cable channel seemed to forget how often Barack Obama similarly took credit for stocks being on the rise during his administration.
While the early February market pullback has spooked some investors and already gained plenty of media attention, it illustrated all too well the broadcast networks’ tendency to cover bad economic news more than good. The networks skipped the vast majority of records as the market climbed throughout 2017 and the beginning of 2018.
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell on Tuesday instructed journalists that if they are really going to hammer Donald Trump for Monday’s stock market, then these reporters need to credit the economy’s roaring success as well.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Monday roughly 1,100 points down after dropping by nearly 1,600. The percentage lost was not record-setting, but that didn’t stop the liberal media from slapping President Trump with it since he often touted the markets as a sign his policies were working. The Big Three networks led their evening newscasts with the story. NBC’s stood out as the most panicked and while CBS aimed to quell fears, they also knocked Trump for not noting it in a speech about tax cuts.
All three networks on Monday broke in with special reports that the stock market plummeted over 1000 points. Yet, it was ABC that spun the bad news as time for Donald Trump to take ownership of the stock market. NBC, which hasn’t exactly promoted the idea that Trump had anything to do with last year’s gains, chided, “In the past, presidents have tried to shy away for taking too much credit for stock market games because on the flip side there's the possibility you own the losses too.”