Only on the network news could one culprit – the economy – be blamed for both a rise and a fall in divorce rates. But in one week, NBC and ABC managed to do just that.
Just six days later, “Good Morning America” anchor Chris Cuomo reported that divorce rates are up because the bad economy is tearing couples apart.
“Bad economy, could it be bad news for marriages? Well if you start asking the divorce attorneys, they say yes. In New York, one attorney says 20 percent surge in divorce filings since the news on Wall Street,” Cuomo said on the July 17 show, adding that “money in marriages is always an issue.”
The graphics read “Is rough economy bad for love?” That was following ABC reporter Deborah Roberts’s introduction of the segment where she said “declining stocks could mean soaring divorce rates.”
The ABC cast discussed the causes for the high divorce rates and insinuated that people on Wall Street marry for money. ABC weatherman Sam Champion was put off by his vision of a supposedly calloused Wall Street attitude of, “Well, if we don’t have the money I’m out.”
Roberts added, “But you’re also talking about a certain segment of the population. Wall Street folks, and not to paint them all with a broad brush, but a lot of people who maybe did get into this thing for money.” Cuomo, meanwhile, came up with the simplest explanation for the high divorce rates (according to ABC): “Money corrupts.”
ABC’s report ran in complete contrast to the “Today” report on NBC July 11. “[W]hile the price of divorce normally doesn’t run that high, there is evidence the troubled economy is forcing some troubled couples to stay together, at least for the time being,” Morales said on “Today” July 11.
Farnoosh Torabi, a correspondent for the financial Web site TheStreet.com, explained that, “for example, we’ll take the Miami-Dade County – for example – in south Florida. They had an 18 percent drop-off in divorce filings from January to May of this year, compared to the same period last year…[I]ncidentally, also in that same area, real estate prices have fallen 20 percent.”