Dow Down 281 Points Big News Friday, Dow Up 287 Points Not So Newsworthy Monday

A pronounced example of how bad news is news and good news is much less newsworthy: On Friday night, ABC and NBC teased full stories on the 281 point plunge that day in the Dow Jones average, but on Monday, after the Dow rebounded by five points greater than Friday's loss in the biggest one-day gain in five years, the networks limited coverage to a few seconds. “The stock market stumbles again today exposing fault lines in the nation's housing market,” ABC's Charles Gibson teased a full story Friday night on the stock market and troubles in the mortgage industry which he introduced by emphasizing how “the gains of the past couple of days were more than wiped out by a dramatic late-day sell-off.” But on Monday night, Gibson didn't tease the rebound news and held coverage to barely 20 seconds.

Brian Williams teased Friday's NBC Nightly News: “Stocks slide again on Wall Street. What is spooking the market tonight as we head into the weekend?” Williams spent a minute-and-half with CNBC's Jim Cramer discussing reasons for the plunge, but on Monday fill-in anchor Ann Curry gave the good news just 20 seconds, not counting time for more bad news: The bankruptcy filing by American Home Mortgage. CBS's Katie Couric on Friday only devoted 25 seconds to how “investors headed for the exits, and the Dow plunged 281 points. So, since hitting a record high 14,000 two weeks ago, the Dow has now given up more than 800 points.” On Monday, however, she squeezed in a piddling eight seconds on the rebound, not counting unemployment news and a note about American Home Mortgage.

Friday versus Monday comparisons for the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, collected with the assistance of the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

ABC's World News, Friday August 3:
CHARLES GIBSON, OPENING TEASER: Troubled homes: The stock market stumbles again today exposing fault lines in the nation's housing market...

GIBSON SETTING UP STORY: Now, to Wall Street, where the gains of the past couple of days were more than wiped out by a dramatic late-day sell-off. Just before the final bell, the Dow Jones average seemed in free fall, ending the day down more than 280 points, while the NASDAQ lost almost 65. Investors are worried that lenders are making it much tougher to get credit, impacting millions of people hoping to get a mortgage. Betsy Stark joins us tonight. Betsy?
ABC's World News, Monday August 6.
GIBSON: “More volatility today on Wall Street today with prices moving higher. There were sharp losses on Friday, a robust recovery today as the Dow gained 286 points and the NASDAQ finishing up 36. It was the biggest single-session gain in five years. Stocks were up partly as a result of falling oil and gas prices.”

CBS Evening News, Friday August 3:
KATIE COURIC: On Wall Street today, it took just a few words from one man to spark a big sell-off. Bear Stearns CFO Sam Molinaro said the turmoil in the credit markets is the worst he's seen in 22 years. With that, investors headed for the exits, and the Dow plunged 281 points. So, since hitting a record high 14,000 two weeks ago, the Dow has now given up more than 800 points.

Wall Street didn't much like today's jobs report either. It shows the unemployment rate edging up in July to a six-month high of 4.6 percent. The Labor Department says the economy was able to create only 92,000 new jobs.
CBS Evening News, Monday August 6:
COURIC: “On Wall Street, after Friday's big sell-off, a big rally. The Dow today got back all the points it lost on Friday and then some.”

NBC Nightly News, Friday August 3:
BRIAN WILLIAMS, OPENING TEASER: Stocks slide again on Wall Street. What is spooking the market tonight as we head into the weekend?

WILLIAMS, SETTING UP CRAMER: Wall Street was in the news again today, another sell-off. At the closing bell, the Dow had plunged more than 281 points. NASDAQ was down more than 64 at the end of the day. And the reason for all this may sound familiar. For more on this, we are joined by Wall Street veteran Jim Cramer. He's with us from the global headquarters of CNBC. Jim, what's doing this?
NBC Nightly News, Monday August 6:
ANN CURRY: “On Wall Street today, a big rebound from Friday's late night sell-off, late session sell-off rather, the Dow finished the day up almost 287 points, gaining back everything it lost on Friday. The NASDAQ was up 36 points on the day and the S&P also recouped its big Friday loss, up almost 37 points.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center