Network Look at Markets: 'Armageddon' or 'Nearly 3 Percent' Drop

     What’s happening to the stock market? One thing is certain – the network news shows have no idea.


    The August 10 NBC “Nightly News” turned to ‘Armageddon’ soothsayer Jim Cramer. ABC “World News Tonight with Charles Gibson” warned of a recession. And, CBS ”Evening News,” traditionally the most doom-and-gloom of the three, about the economy and employment, reminded us things aren’t as bad as they have been in the past.


     Rather than providing one of their more optimistic personalities like Larry Kudlow, “Nightly News” relied on CNBC’s Cramer for analysis. “Ann, first, I don't want to panic people myself,” Cramer said. “I will tell you that all this starts ground zero, U.S. homeowners. There are American homeowners who are walking away from their homes. They can't afford their mortgages. People who own that mortgage debt – we found out today that a lot of people in Europe own it – are appalled.”


     On August 6, Cramer had an embarrassing emotional meltdown on his CNBC show, “Mad Money,” about the Federal Reserve’s reluctance to cut interest rates. But, once again, Cramer used his NBC “Nightly News” appearance as an opportunity to lobby the Fed.


     “The bonds are made up of hard-working Americans, their income – it should go to their homes but they can’t afford it. The federal reserve needs to cut, the federal reserve needs to lower rates right now,” said Cramer “That's really the only way out of our jam. They have indicated they have no desire to do that. They are way behind the curve. This is not about saving Wall Street or hedge funds Ann. It's about saving the American homeowner, who's in a lot of trouble.”


     NBC followed up with a Josh Mankiewicz report about home foreclosure hardships. “The lender did absolutely nothing for me,” said one Southern California condo owner on the brink of foreclosure Mankiewicz. Mankiewicz also showed one home in such disarray that according to him, “the owner was so broke; he couldn’t afford to clean the place.”


     ABC “World News Tonight with Charles Gibson” offered a pretty gloomy report, warning of a recession, but also reminded viewers things aren’t bad with a more long-tern view.


     “The bears are convinced that the housing situation, as well as the subprime woes will likely lead to a recession,” said Sam Stovall, an investment strategist for Standard & Poor’s to ABC “World News.”


     Despite the doomsday analysis of a recession, “World News” reminded their viewers the stock market is still up for 2007.


     “After a day like today, it is hard to remember the Dow is actually up for the week Charlie and up six-and-half percent for the year,” said ABC correspondent John Berman.


     For once, the CBS “Evening News” had the most tempered approach covering the market drop by reminding viewers there have been much worse days.


     “Continuing worries about the credit crisis sent the Dow down 387 points, or nearly 3 percent,” said CBS “Evening News” anchor Katie Couric. “Now to put that in perspective, in the infamous market crash of October 19, 1987, the Dow stocks lost nearly 23 percent of their value.”