Since the stock and credit market turbulence began in July, NewsBusters has been informing readers that media continually predict recessions that never happen.
On the sad flipside, bearishness in the press can become so pervasive that an economic downturn ends up being an unfortunate self-fulfilling prophecy.
NewsBusters affiliate the Business and Media Institute made this very point in a late-November article by Amy Menefee entitled "Talking Ourselves Into Recession."
This concern is shared by business leaders like Craig Hester, CEO of Hester Capital Management, who during an interview with CNBC's Erin Burnett and James Cramer Friday spoke an inconvenient truth about media's impact on the economy that folks in the press sadly don't recognize as they disseminate pessimistic after pessimistic predictions often leading to people unnecessarily losing their jobs - or worse:
"The economy is slowing down so fast this quarter you can see the skid marks as it slams on the brakes," Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group, said in an Associated Press story on December 20.
The story also quoted former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who isn't optimistic either.
"He is a guy that doesn't get regular coal - I'm giving him high-sulfur stinky coal," Cramer said. "He is in the end an academic who is over his head frankly. I hate to say that. He's a volunteer official who is trying to do his best. But he had his chance and he's lost it."
You'd hardly expect the chief Washington correspondent of business channel CNBC to negatively stereotype economic conservatives. But appearing on today's Morning Joe, the urbane John Harwood did just that.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: [Huckabee is] a different type of evangelical. It's not the evangelical in American politics that's traditionally been very conservative economically. Obviously a lot of people at the Wall Street Journal don't like this guy.
Hillary Clinton's performance in her interview with Maria "Money Honey" Bartiromo of CNBC last week was so bad that she must have sent a double (stop shivering at the thought, will ya?).
After all, the genuine Smartest Woman in the World couldn't possibly have said the things she said, as noted at Rush Limbaugh's site last Thursday. It got so bad that Bartiromo, who seemingly has barely cracked a smile since George Bush became president, felt compelled to challenge her.
Here is one of the choice offerings Mrs. Clinton served up:
(There are ) lots of people who come on your show who, you know, are gung-ho, protect the tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans, that will not work if the economy slows down. You need to get money in the pockets of tens of hundreds of millions of Americans, and that's what I intend to do.
"I'm no longer fiery," Cramer said. "They had their chance," he said four months after the big tirade.
On the December 11 "Street Signs," Cramer's mood swung 180 degrees the other way after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates only 25 basis point to 4.25 percent - viewed as a disappointment by the shock stock picker.
It’s a little odd when a reporter contradicts herself and discloses she doesn’t necessarily agree with what she’s reporting.
But that’s what happened this morning when CNBC’s Maria Bartimoro appeared on the November 12 “Today” to report the chances of a recession. “Today” host Meredith Vieira asked Bartiromo if she thought the economy was heading into a recession after Bartiromo delivered a report about economic fears.
“You know Meredith, I do not,” Bartiromo said. “My gut feeling tells me that we have strength around the world. Economies like China and India and Europe continue to grow and that certainly helps American companies that have operations there. I think that that growth will probably offset the weakness that we’re seeing in housing and of course this pressure from oil.”
To commemorate the Media Research Center’s 20th anniversary this month, we’ve just published a special expanded edition of our ‘Notable Quotables’ newsletter with more than 100 of the most outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes we’ve uncovered over the past 20 years. To wrap up this week’s posts, I thought I’d list a few of the most outrageous or moronic quotes we’ve come across since 1987.
For sheer wackiness, it’s hard to top then-CNBC anchor Geraldo Rivera, who sang his disdain for independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr during the height of the Lewinsky scandal, July 21, 1998, on his Rivera Live program, to the tune of “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.”
For a moment, let's put aside minor matters like Iraq, Iran and $1 trillion Dem tax proposals and focus on something important . . .
Appearing on today's "Morning Joe," CNBC's John Harwood made a strong defense of Rudy Giuliani's announcement that the avid Yankee fan is rooting for the Red Sox in the World Series. And by the end, he even got University of Alabama alum Joe Scarborough to admit that under certain circumstances he would root for Auburn -- the Tide's arch in-state rival. Then again, Harwood failed to persuade at least one Bronx native . . .
The issue arose in the context of Hillary's campaigning.
JOHN HARWOOD: You notice she got in a little dig about Giuliani and the whole Red Sox thing.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, I like that. Tell our viewers about that.
The genius of Rush Limbaugh is his ability to distill wisdom into kernels that make sense to millions of Americans. He gave good examples of that talent in the course of his appearance on today's "Morning Joe."
Rush began by praising CNBC's Erin Burnett, a frequent "Morning Joe" contributor.
Just when you thought it was safe to turn on an NBC-owned station, the network is getting ready to bombard citizens with a weeklong manmade global warming propaganda blitzkrieg that's destined to make Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his Norwegian sycophants smile like a polar bear that's just bagged a juicy seal.
It appears the good folks at NBC didn't feel they lost enough money -- and good will! -- pushing this absurd issue down citizens' throats during July's failed "Live Earth" concerts.
Be that as it may, this campaign, cleverly called "Green is Universal" - I guess they couldn't think of anything better that rhymes with "Reading is Fundamental!" - is "part of the company's ‘Get On Board' effort to improve the environment by reducing greenhouse gases, raising awareness about green issues and accelerating change in the media and entertainment industry."
Hmmm. Take out that nonsense about GHGs and green issues, and that sounds like NewsBusters' goal!
As reported by Multichannel News (emphasis added to enhance comedic value):
Like business news on television but don't like CNBC's association with the left-dominated NBC News? Then the newly launched Fox Business Network is probably for you:
Rupert Murdoch has entered a dark horse in high-stakes races before, and won. On Monday, the News Corp. media titan trots out the Fox Business Network.
Two years in the making, the channel will challenge General Electric Co.'s highly profitable CNBC network as it seeks to redefine business news for average Americans faced with increasingly complex decisions about their financial futures.
Murdoch already has knocked CNN off the cable news throne with Fox News Channel. Can he do the same to NBC Universal's profit machine, whose audience of affluent professionals is one of the most sought-after advertising targets? [...]
Anyone contrarian enough to tune into CNBC in prime time certainly doesn’t tune into The Big Idea with Donnie Deutsch thinking it’s going to be an hour on theology -- Dogma and Kerygma with Donnie Deutsch. The host can hardly claim he booked Ann Coulter with the idea that they were going to discuss the Christology in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, or they were simply going to discuss how conservative women could franchise McCoulter’s formula. He booked her looking for snap,crackle, and pop, for ratings and headlines, a chance to get his multi-millionaire mug on the Today cameras.
(Or was there an underlying political gambit: Hmm, isn’t that John Edwards donations Donny Deutsch just made?)
“[W]ell, we’re coming to you from the Ford Performing Arts Center,” co-moderator Maria Bartiromo said during the October 9 CNBC “Closing Bell.” “And there’s a lot of buzz and excitement around. We're just about an hour away from the debate and of course, this is the first national presidential debate focused only on economic issues. We'll be talking taxes, trade, housing, broad economy, foreign relations, protectionism.”
But it didn’t end up that way. While there were four questioners, co-moderator Chris Matthews was the most obvious in asking questions that had little to do with the economy. Out of his 49 questions, 28 were largely non-economic.
As Brent Baker noted, NBC’s Matt Lauer claimed the "liberal bloggers" were going to have a field day with Alan Greenspan’s new memoir – especially the remarks critical of Bush. But before the bloggers jumped, the whole Bush-bashing publicity cycle began with the Dinosaur Media. Their field day began with the newspapers, in particular, Bob Woodward at the Washington Post (noted here on NB by Matthew Sheffield), and continued in the usual network television bashing cycle, starting with "60 Minutes" on CBS. NBC's "Today" demonstrated its routine appetite to inflict another bad-news bruising on the GOP.
What happens a guy with verifiable liberal credentials (contributing editor at Rolling Stone and a contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic and Air America) just happens to have written a book highly critical of the coal industry – “Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future”?
But if you’re a viewer, you might not know Jeff Goodell is predisposed for a variety of reasons against the coal industry. Goodell is opposed to coal as an energy source because he believes it contributes to global warming, is not convinced technological advances will make it more environmentally friendly, thinks it is unsafe to mine and has doubts about its sustainability as a resource.
“In the face of what I … what we all think was a baseless, ugly article about me by a partner, which I found insulting to my audience and to your intelligence, I’ve been overwhelmed the past two days by words of kindness and support from you guys,” said Cramer.
Cramer referred to Barron’s as “a partner,” possibly referring to the agreement between Dow Jones & Co., which publishes Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC. The deal allows CNBC to use Wall Street Journal content through 2012.
There are a few chinks in Cramer’s armor, though. Beyond his infamous meltdown on August 6 and his admission in December 2006 on TheStreet.com (NASDAQ:TSCM), a financial Web site he launched in 1996, of manipulating the press to influence the markets when he was working at a hedge fund, he’s not an all-knowing stock guru.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer went on an impassioned rant August 6 calling for the Fed to reduce interest rates.
“Bernanke needs to open the discount window. That is how bad things are out there … in the fixed income markets we have Armageddon,” said Cramer on “Stop Trading!” Following Cramers’ rant, NBC brought him on “Today” to analyze the economy August 10.
NBC’s Meredith Vieira asked “Are the markets about to crash?” on the August 10 “Today” show.
The lesson from this post isn't bias as much as it is making sure not to get taken in by Old Media overreactions.
Jim Cramer of CNBC's "Mad Money" went mad on Friday, declaring Armageddon in this video rant on Friday (watch the whole thing to see just how out-of-control he was; his declaration is at 1:40 in the vid -- "in the fixed-income markets, we have Armageddon.").
The first trading day after Cramer's declaration of Aramageddon went thusly (from a CNN e-mail after the markets' 4PM close):
And that's exactly how the mainstream press treated it. What goes down, must go down further. Even with the sour coverage on NBC and CBS on July 26, there were voices of reason that warrant commitment to the markets.
"So this is not a crash, if anything, it's a correction," said CNN "American Morning" business correspondent Ali Velshi. "It might not even be a correction; it might just be a stop on the way."
Wow, good news, even on CNN.
Others experts point at signs our economy is still in tact and still moving in the right direction as evidence not to panic.
Apparently, airing 75 hours of free coverage of Al Gore's Live Earth global-panic concerts (complete with children shedding tears over the impending end of blue skies and green grass) was just the beginning of on-air liberal activism by NBC-Universal. They're touting another week of on-air activism this November (during the week of Election Day) for their "pro-social cause" of environmental alarmism. As Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald notes on his blog Changing Channels, "The company press release pointedly includes NBC News and CNBC on the list of company divisions that are participating, not that there's any systematic ideological bias in network news, no sir." The trade magazine Multichannel News adds more detail:
Dan Rather might have left CBS under a cloud, but his star still shines brightly -- at least among some on the distaff side of the NBC networks.
Rather was a scheduled guest on today's "Morning Joe," and neither Erin Burnett, reporting in from CNBC, nor MSNBC newsreader Mika Brzezinski, could curb her enthusiasm.
Burnett was first to confess.
CNBC'S ERIN BURNETT: You know who I had a crush on? . . . Don't you have Dan Rather coming on in a couple of minutes? Alright, so, when I was little, I thought I was going to marry Dan Rather. I watched the news every night, I blew him a kiss every night.