On April 25, 2007 the Dow soared to another record close, this time above 13,000. As Newsbusters reported here, here and here, the networks did anything but cheer. In fact, network broadcast reporting of the Dow's recovery since 2003 has been marked by pessimism.
Katie Couric introduced the April 25, 2007 CBS "Evening News" report with this dismal statement:
"Even as investors are making money in the market, Anthony Mason reports there are concerns tonight about the rest of the U.S. economy."
Mason made good on Couric's tease, with a class warfare remark that "Wall Street and Main Street appear to be headed in different directions" because of housing and gas prices.
Contrast that with the reaction of Economist Lawrence Kudlow of CNBC's "Kudlow & Company."
"This is the longest, uninterrupted, correctionless, bull-market run in memory," cheered Kudlow on April 25, 2007.
This week the Business & Media Institute examined ABC, CBS and NBC's treatment of the four major milestones - 10, 11, 12 and 13,000 - of Dow's recovery since the passage of the Bush tax cuts in August 2003.
We found the same pervasive negativity, especially from CBS.
When the Dow closed about 10,000 for the first time after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, CBS's Anthony Mason declared there were "no party hats for Dow 10,000 this time." That was on the "Evening News" Dec. 11, 2003.
NBC "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams said on Oct. 20, 2006 "stocks ended this week narrowly mixed. That was one day after the Dow surged to a record-high close above 12,000 points.
Most common among the reports was the idea that "This is good, but can it continue?" Network journalists continually interjected concerns about "trouble" in the housing market, or rising gas prices that could "stop the bulls" from running.
Rarely did you see a story that gave any credit to the 2003 Bush tax cuts. Yet, U.S. News & World Report senior writer James Pethokoukis recently made the connection.
Kudlow also credits the tax cuts with helping create what he terms a "Goldilocks" economy.