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.