ABC Hypes 'Market Meltdown' with Misleading Data

Diane Sawyer kicked "Good Morning America" off this morning with economic worries about Wall Street, the "credit crunch" and "record" foreclosures.

“We do begin with the week on Wall Street, where the Dow took another huge hit, plunging 280 points in just two hours. The cause of the worst credit crunch in almost quarter a century and you’ve seen it in the neighborhoods – a record number of foreclosures,” said Sawyer.

But according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBAA), foreclosures are not at a record when viewed by percentage. GMA’s one-sided talk of a “record number of foreclosures” misled viewers. Foreclosures are up compared to 2006, but so are the number of home loans.MBAA explained the foreclosure inventory rate is at 1.28 percent and is nowhere near the record of 1.51 percent, reached in the first quarter of 2002.Mentioning the percentage of foreclosures would have given ABC viewers perspective on the issue. Instead, like other media outlets, GMA blamed stock market struggles on the housing market without bothering to give a more upbeat opposing view.

“The financial fallout from a deteriorating housing and lending market, is spilling, no flooding over into the stock market,” said “financial specialist” and ABC correspondent Bianna Golodryga.

To find another take on the markets, viewers had to turn to another network entirely. CNBC host and economist Lawrence Kudlow has said that housing and lending troubles are just a small part of the big picture. Other economic indicators show nothing of an economic downturn as he pointed out on his blog on National Review Online.

“So, while the mainstream media peddles its flimsy ‘sky is falling’ narrative, the reality is a 13,400 or so Dow, along with rising wages and a 4.6 unemployment rate, point to a prosperous nation These are the key barometers. The Bush boom continues.”
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.