Just posted to MRC's BusinessandMedia.org. Here's a taste:
The Dow Jones had its second-best closing average ever and consumer confidence shot up, but CBS and NBC undercut the good news with speculation on hurricanes and “echoes” of corporate scandals.
“With gas prices dropping by the day, Americans are suddenly feeling a whole lot more confident” about the economy, CBS anchor Katie Couric noted during the September 26 broadcast, before introducing an Anthony Mason story on the dropping price of natural gas.
Even so, Mason warned viewers, “don’t count your savings just yet. Even though the forecast is for a milder energy bill this winter, your meter will still be at the mercy of weather and world events.” Using the backdrop of video clips of hurricane devastation and war, Mason then posited that “another Katrina whipping through the Gulf or an escalation of tensions” could send crude oil and natural gas prices up again.
While it’s true that supply shocks from foreign tension and natural disasters can affect price, Mason didn’t mention just how inactive the hurricane season this year has been. In fact, respected hurricane expert William Gray has downgraded his earliest predictions twice.