Zuckerman Makes 'Great Depression' Claim Again

     Want to get on a national TV newscast? Your best bet is to strike while the iron is hot – that is while the economy is the issue of the day.

     The March 17 “NBC Nightly News” dedicated an entire segment to U.S. News & World Report Editor-in-Chief Mort Zuckerman’s view of the economy, where he made some alarmist statements comparing to the economy to the “Great Depression.”

     “Mort Zuckerman doesn’t sugarcoat it,” NBC correspondent Mike Taibbi said. “One of the country’s wealthiest real estate developers and the editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report has been saying for months we’re in the worst economic downturn of his lifetime.”

     The problem with that statement is Zuckerman was born in 1937, during the Great Depression. According to Britannica.com, the Depression was a “worldwide economic downturn that began in 1929 and lasted until about 1939.” Other sources give the ending date as the early 1940s.

     It is possible Zuckerman could be hypersensitive to the real estate downturn and is more apt to make strong negative judgments of the U.S. economy. He is the CEO of Boston Properties (NYSE:BXP), a company that has seen a 30 percent drop in the value of its stock since its highs in February 2007.

     “You have a combination of a bubble bursting in the financial world, a bubble bursting in the housing world,” Zuckerman said. “When you put those two together, you have the strongest headwinds, the strongest downward pressures on the economy we’ve had since the Great Depression.”

     Zuckerman made similar remarks earlier this year – invoking the memory of the Great Depression.

     “[I] think we are facing the worst financial crunch and crisis since the Great Depression,” Zuckerman said on the January 20 “The McLaughlin Group.”

     Zuckerman’s not very optimistic about the short-term prospects of the U.S. economy. Although employment is still historically low and the U.S. export market is booming, Zuckerman thinks we’re not close to coming out the present economic slowdown.

     “I think we [are in] about the fourth inning of a nine-inning ball game,” Zuckerman said. “We’re nowhere near the bottom of this problem and nobody knows exactly where the bottom is, but we're going to have a very serious recession that is going to go on for a couple of years.”

     Journalists have exhibited increased focus on comparisons between current economic conditions and the Great Depression, in spite of the fact that several economic indicators are nowhere near Depression-era levels, Business & Media Research has shown.