Dow Nears 14,000, One Media Outlet Cares

NBC proved to be a media anomaly on July 17, leading its “Nightly News” broadcast with the record-high close on Wall Street and admitting that the stock market does benefit “a majority of Americans.” This historic bull run by the stock market was virtually ignored by other media. Katie Couric briefly mentioned it on the CBS “Evening News,” and ABC “World News” ignored it on July 17. The New York Times buried it on page 10 of the business section July 18. 

“Earlier this afternoon, when the closing bell rang on the opposite coast on Wall Street in New York, the Dow Jones industrials hit an all-time high, up again more than 20 points, to close painfully close to that 14,000 mark, having briefly climbed above it earlier in the day,” said anchor Brian Williams.

Williams asked CNBC’s Erin Burnett who is really benefiting from rising stocks. Burnett shot back with “a lot more people than you would think.” With the typical class warfare mindset of journalists, she wasn’t kidding. 

“While Wall Street benefits from all that growth, the average American is likely benefiting as well,” said Burnett. “More than half of Americans are invested in the market, whether through a 401k plan, a mutual fund, or buying specific stocks.”

In the past, the media have often provided a “but” in stories about stock market highs. That’s what Dan Harris did on the July 12 “World New Tonight with Charles Gibson.”

“But, and there’s always a ‘but’ with the stock market. If say gas goes to $4 a gallon or interest rates spike unexpectedly, all bets are off. As one investor today, the market is a lot like the weather in New England – if you don’t like it, just wait a day,” said Harris.

But media coverage of Dow milestones has been mostly pessimistic. Every time the Dow broke through a milestone – the 11,000 on Jan. 10, 2006 all the way up to its passing of the 13,000 mark on April 25, naysayers in the media cast doubt on the possibility of a continued climb.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.