Record Dow Downplayed After Largest Gain in Nearly 4 Years

     It’s good news when stocks soar to new records. That means the economy is showing signs of strength and a stronger economy means a better standard of living for Americans, right?


     You wouldn’t know that from watching the July 12 evening news, especially CBS “Evening News” and ABC “World News with Charles Gibson.” Instead, the networks served up “some dark clouds” and “some worries.”


     “But, and there’s always a ‘but’ with the stock market,” said ABC correspondent Dan Harris. “If say gas goes to $4 a gallon or interest rates spike unexpectedly, all bets are off. As one investor today, the market is a lot like the weather in New England – if you don’t like it, just wait a day.”


     On July 12, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at record highs. The stock market saw its largest gain in nearly four years. But ABC and CBS placed the emphasis on negative symptoms of the economy, a “slumping” housing market and high gas prices.


     “There are still some dark clouds looming over this market,” said Harris. “The housing market is in a slump, interest rates are rising and gas prices are ticking back up.”


     Downplaying good economic news, especially the stock market is nothing new to the network news. Reporters have a history of pressing other economic factors like gas prices and housing, then threaten these pressures would sink the economy.


     “There are still some worries out there,” said CBS correspondent Anthony Mason. “The housing market is still slumping. We’ve had close to a million foreclosures since January.”


     The housing market has been a popular wet blanket for the media to cast on any of the recent positive economic news. And, as ABC has proven, they even go out of their way to seek foreclosure hardship stories.


     “Housing is acting as a weight on the economy, it could act as a weight on the market too,” Mason said, adding there were “some worries.”


     Even NBC “Nightly News” got in on the act. Although the July 12 broadcast acknowledged the record high and dramatic surge, the report was overshadowed by another home loan foreclosure story.


     “[W]e’ve heard this good news on Wall Street,” said “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams. “It is despite the fact that a lot of homeowners in this country are under tremendous stress right now. According to RealityTrac (sic) [RealtyTrac], that’s a company that sells mortgage data, foreclosures across the country are up a staggering 87 percent over this very same time last year.”


     None of the networks gave credit to the supply-side tax cuts from the Bush administration. The July 12 rally was just a small part of the prolonged growth of the economy.


     “In stock market terms alone, this is now the longest consecutive uninterrupted stock market rally,” said Lawrence Kudlow on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on July 13. “It started in early 2003, so that’s four and a half years. And it’s incredible how much wealth is being created out there and it’s unfortunate, really – almost tragic – that the president just doesn’t get any credit for it at all because he’s got a lot to say on the economy.”