BMI’s Gainor: Media Coverage Was More Upbeat at Start of the Great Depression

The news media have covered recent economic trials with four times as much negativity as they covered the worst economic period in the nation's history - the Great Depression - a new study from the Business & Media Institute shows.

"They were four times more negative during the Bear Stearns buyout than the worst economic couple days in our country's history," BMI Vice President Dan Gainor said on "Fox & Friends" May 27, announcing the release of the new study, "The Great Media Depression."

"Forget what Alan Greenspan said yesterday about recession," Gainor said. "A lot of the people in the media have hurdled that and gone straight to talk about depression, more than 40 times this year already."

During the week of the 1929 stock market crash, daily news stories reported positive news more often than negative news by a 4-to-1 ratio, the study found. That's a stark contrast from current economic sluggishness, which has seen very little positive commentary on the direction of financial markets.

Gainor also highlighted the media's tendency to change the definition of a recession to suit their agenda. "[A]ll three of the major networks use that comparison, that sort of technical definition of a recession," he said, referring to the definition of recession as two quarters of negative economic growth. "But then when they don't get the result, they sort of change it. It's a moving target."

"Fox & Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Gainor about "the impact on the economy if all the news hitting the consumer is negative."

"The economic impact both Neil Cavuto here and Maria Bartiromo on CNBC have warned [is] that we're kind of talking ourselves into a recession," Gainor said. "The political impact of that is this is the No. 1 issue for Americans and we're in danger of going back to 1992, when the media didn't tell us the economy had rebounded and that had a huge impact on the election."