Brokaw Presents Economic Worst-Case Scenario to Bill Gates

     Are the ideals that made this country great in jeopardy? They must be as far as former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw’s is concerned.

     Are the ideals that made this country great in jeopardy? They must be as far as former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw’s is concerned.


     In a Sept. 24 broadcast of “Nightly News,” Brokaw interviewed Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the third-richest man in the world with a net worth of $58 billion, according to Forbes. Brokaw asked Gates if implementing American ideals in developing countries would be tougher under the current economic climate.


     “How hard is it now, however, to sell the American ideals that were in developing countries when we’re in the midst of this kind of a financial crisis in our own country, and they’re saying to us, ‘You’re going to tell us how to do business given what you’ve done to yourself?’”


     The Microsoft founder remained optimistic and said that despite all the problems in the financial sector, American innovation was still in play and would endure such a downturn. Brokaw was incredulous and asked if Gates worried about another Great Depression.


     “But as you develop a business plan for the Gates Foundation, in the midst of what we’re going through right now, do you worry about a cataclysmic event coming out of all of this – that we go into a Great Depression in this country and the ripple effect around the world?”


     Brokaw’s line of questioning was peculiar when you consider that the long-time NBC anchor recently authored “The Greatest Generation” – a book that highlighted a generation of Americans that brought the country out of the Depression and gave the U.S. victory in World War II.


     Gates explained to Brokaw that the world has a vested interest in the United States doing well. But, he also explained how fortunate the country is not to have the same problems developing countries face, like instability with food prices and political leadership.


     “You seem to be pretty cool about where this is going and how we’re going to get there and how, if you take the long view – it will work out in the end,” Brokaw said.


     Gates told Brokaw that there were things that made the country great and that would triumph over the current situation.


     “That’s right – the U.S. economy in the long run is going to do very, very well,” Gates said. “There’s some interesting meaningful decisions to be made in these next few weeks, but the uniqueness of our universities and our science and our risk taking – all of that is very much there.”


     Brokaw’s pessimism was not unusual for the mainstream media. Even before this financial crisis, network media were portraying the economy negatively. According to a Business & Media Institute special report, Bad News Bears, 62 percent of stories about the economy had a negative focus – and that was during the period of solid job growth, low unemployment and declining gas prices (Aug. 1, 2005 to July 31, 2006).