Night and Day: CBS, ABC Opposite on Fed Rate Cut
Was the Federal Reserveâ€™s rate cut good or bad for the economy? Even the networks donâ€™t agree. The 50 basis point interest rate cut caused CBS to warn about added threats to the economy and had ABC telling viewers the move was â€śmore than welcome.â€ť
CBS gave a downbeat assessment and focused its report not on the Fedâ€™s rate cut, but its own poll expressing public sentiment about economy.
â€śI'm hoping this move by the Fed will be a psychological lift,â€ť said Debbie Scully, a realtor, on the September 19 â€śEvening News.â€ť
CBS correspondent Anthony Mason was quick to respond with all thatâ€™s wrong with the economy. â€śWe need one,â€ť Mason replied to Scullyâ€™s comment. â€śAccording to a new CBS News poll, for the first time since 2001, a majority of Americans, 51 percent, say the economy is getting worse.â€ť
ABC â€śWorld New Tonight with Charles Gibsonâ€ť had a more positive spin on the Fed rate cuts â€“ the 336-point jump in the stock market, its help to â€śhome buyers and other consumer borrowers,â€ť and â€śthe powerful reassuranceâ€ť to consumers and businesses.
â€ś[T]his was a bold move by the Fed today,â€ť ABC business correspondent Betsy Stark said on the September 19 â€śWorld News.â€ť â€śOne that shows just how concerned the nation's top economic policymakers had become about the housing crisis, the credit crunch and the possibility of a recession. From Wall Street to
Even Moodyâ€™s Economy.com economist Mark Zandi â€“ usually quoted in the media as a pessimist â€“ had good things to say about the move on â€śWorld News.â€ť â€śGreat news, the economy needed some help and they got it today,â€ť Zandi said. â€śConfidence is the difference between a slow-growing economy and a recession.â€ť
However, CBS also featured Zandi in their segment, but cherry picked a more downbeat sound bite. â€śI think weâ€™ll need a series of rate cuts to support confidence sufficiently to ensure this economy doesnâ€™t unravel into recession,â€ť Zandi said to CBS.
Prior to the Fedâ€™s move, Zandi told Investorâ€™s Business Daily he didnâ€™t foresee a recession and was upbeat when Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was only expected to cut Fed Funds target rate by 25 basis points.
â€śThe economy has a number of fundamental strengths that will ultimately win the day,â€ť Zandi said in IBDâ€™s September 14 issue.
â€śEvening Newsâ€ť also featured liberal economist Dean Baker. Although Baker didnâ€™t make any extraordinary remarks, the co-director of the left-wing economic think tank the Center for Economic and Policy Research has a reputation for taking radical stances on economic issues. In August, Baker proposed the government should seize homes so that people would not have to leave them in the event their property was foreclosed on.
ABCâ€™s positive take on the economic news of the day appeared to have been the exception more than the rule. The networks have been notorious for taking any economic news and finding the worst according to a Business & Media Institute Special Report, â€śBad News Bears.â€ť