Over a three year period, from 2007 to 2010, Americans saw their average net worth drop by 39 percent. CBS, however, wasn't interested in this dire economic news. The network skipped the new report by the Federal Reserve, ignoring it on Monday's Evening News and Tuesday's This Morning.
In contrast, NBC and ABC did cover it. But both made sure to avoid any mention of Barack Obama or how this grim revelation might impact his reelection campaign. In a news brief, Good Morning America's Josh Elliott vaguely explained, "Meanwhile, some stunning new information this morning on just how much the great recession has, in fact, cost us." On Monday's Nightly News, Anne Thompson fretted over the "stomach-churning" drop.
Thompson explained, "The net worth for the very middle or the median falling from $126,400 in 2007 to 77,300 in 2010."
She, too, however, ignored the politics and peril of the news for Obama.
Obviously, the Democrat wasn't President in 2007 or 2008. But in the wake of Obama's gaffe that the "private sector is doing fine," surely it would be fair to ask how a Republican president would be treated.
During the recession of the early '80s, reporters repeatedly tied each piece of bad news to Ronald Reagan.
ABC's World News did not report the story. NBC provided the most coverage. In addition to the full report on Nightly News, the story was mentioned on Tuesday's Today.
A transcript of the June 11 Nightly News segment, which aired at 7:09pm EDT, follows:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: It's one thing to know about your own finances, how you're faring in this economy, and how it feels to you, but it's quite another to find out where you fit when compared to everyone else in America. We got a new picture today of what it is like for everyone, especially the economic core of this nation, formerly known as the middle-class. And there’s fresh evidence today from the Federal Reserve, of how brutal this economy has been. Our report on all of it tonight from NBC's Anne Thompson.
ANNE THOMPSON: It is the symbol of the American dream -- owning a home. But the collapse of the housing market sent the net worth of the American family into a tailspin. The net worth for the very middle or the median falling from $126,400 in 2007 to 77,300 in 2010. A stomach-churning 39% drop.
FRED BERGSTEN: These numbers go a long way to explain why the recovery has been so modest and why it is still so fragile.
THOMPSON: Incomes took a big hit too. With median earnings sinking nearly 8% to $45,800. Those in the middle-class suffering the biggest losses. As a result, fewer families saved. Dropping from a little over 56% to 52%. The lowest level since the Federal Reserve began collecting this information in 1992.
BERGSTEN: That means they are much less confident about their situations, indeed they're afraid, it means they're willing to spend less.
THOMPSON: During those tough three years, American families tried to reduce their debt. Particularly what they wracked up on plastic. They carried fewer credit cards, and the proportionate families carrying balances on those cards dropped almost 7%. What this makes clear is that America's middle-class paid the highest price. Though incomes fell for those at the very top and the very bottom, it was nothing like what happened to those in between. Two decades of economic progress erased in just three short years. Brian.
WILLIAMS: This should really worry every American. Anne Thompson, thank you for that.