Gibson Calms Down as ABC Leads with Good Econ News, But CBS...

A night after ABC anchor Charles Gibson hit full panic mode by leading with how “markets are gyrating, inflation is rising, banks are closing” and suggesting money is only safe “under the mattress,” on Wednesday night he actually began with how “Wall Street posts its best day in months. Financial stocks rise. The price of oil falls.” But he couldn't be completely upbeat as he proceeded to note that “consumer prices also rose sharply.”

Katie Couric, however, was one hundred percent negative. After teasing Wednesday's CBS Evening News by asserting “the economic vise tightens,” Couric intoned over a matching graphic (see above):

Good evening, everyone. We wish we didn't sound like a broken record, but once again tonight there is troubling economic news. Americans are getting it from all sides. From inflation. Today the government reported the second-biggest monthly increase since 1982. To the mortgage mess where a tight market has sent prices tumbling 29 percent in one year in southern California. And the banking crisis. The FBI is now investigating the failed bank IndyMac for fraud. We have a team of correspondents covering these economic developments tonight...
My July 15 NewsBusters item, “Dour Gibson: 'Under the Mattress' Only Safe Place for Money,” recounted:
Hitting full panic mode on Tuesday night, ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased World News: “Markets are gyrating, inflation is rising, banks are closing. Consumer pessimism is at an all-time high.” Actually, only one bank. Gibson explained “we are going to devote a large part of our broadcast tonight to the economy because the news each day seems unrelentingly bad.”

It certainly is on television news where Gibson brought aboard a group of three experts “to help us separate fact from fear,” but they and Gibson spread fear as he put himself in the place of a viewer and wondered: “My house is falling apart, the real estate mortgage companies may be in trouble, and now I hear about possible bank failures. And the stock market is tanking. So how do I be thoughtful about what I do with my money?” An exasperated Gibson soon pleaded:
Tell me where people go now to make sure their money is safe. With stocks down, you think the safest place to do is in the bank, and now we're told that there could be a lot of bank failures. So where do you put your money that you know it's safe? Under the mattress?
Gibson's tease at the top of the Wednesday, July 16 World News:
Tonight, Wall Street posts its best day in months. Financial stocks rise. The price of oil falls. But consumer prices also rose sharply. Just another day on the economic roller coaster.
Gibson then led:
Good evening. There were enough ups and downs in the economy today to satisfy any thrill ride enthusiast. First thing this morning, the government reported consumer prices jumped more than one percent, the biggest jump since 1982 -- more bad news. But then, oil prices plummeted more than $4 a barrel after a new report showed inventories are growing. And that was enough to fuel a rally on Wall Street, a big one, as the markets soared over 275 points, reversing the losses of the last two days....
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