Obama Economy Contracts, CBS Sees ‘Strong Rebound’ While ABC Frets ‘Chianti Caper’
America suffered an economic setback in the first quarter of the year as the GDP for Obama’s economy was revised downward Thursday morning to a negative one percent, yet neither ABC’s World News nor the NBC Nightly News considered it newsworthy.
Meanwhile, the CBS Evening News spun the bad news into a positive. Reporter Anthony Mason insisted “it sets the economy up for rebound this quarter and there are some encouraging signs in the numbers.”
Instead of informing its viewers about the bad economic news, the May 29 ABC newscast devoted full first segment stories to the “dangers of tanning beds” and counterfeit Italian wine shipped to the U.S., which anchor Diane Sawyer dubbed “the Chianti caper.”
NBC made time for a first segment update on the search for the missing Malaysian airliner, later a full story on the glass cracking on an observation deck on the side of Chicago’s Willis Tower, and short items on how many people are obese around the world and Alaska firefighters who rescued some puppies.
Fill-in CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell conveyed the GDP development: “The harsh weather this past winter is getting much of the blame for a slowdown in our economy. First-quarter growth had been estimated at a paltry one-tenth of one percent. Today, the government said it was even worse. The economy was actually shrinking at a rate of one percent.”
Anthony Mason moved quickly to blame the weather and then emphasize the upside:
Well, it’s the first time since 2011, Norah, that the economy’s actually shrunk. All that snow and ice froze business, but most economists believe it sets the economy up for rebound this quarter and there are some encouraging signs in the numbers.
Consumer spending, which drives two-thirds of the economy ,was strong in the first three months, up just over three percent. More importantly, initial unemployment claims for the week dropped sharply. The four-week average has now fallen from just under 350,000 a year ago to about 311,000. That’s the lowest since August of 2007. So we are finally back to pre-recession levels.
— Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Follow Brent Baker on Twitter.