The Dow Jones Industrial Average set an all time record on October 19, closing a few points about 12,000. Yet only ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson” led the newscast with the news, while CBS’s Katie Couric dismissed the story with a 6-second anchor read.
“With all the attention on Iraq, the war in Lebanon, and North Korea in recent months, it has been easy to overlook the economy and the stock market, which has been moving upward quite nicely, thank you very much,” anchor Charles Gibson began the newscast.
While he cautioned that the Dow “is not the most scientific of indicators,” Gibson and reporter Betsy Stark labeled the development “good news.”
NBC’s “Nightly News” also devoted a segment to the development, with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo giving anchor Brian Williams a positive assessment of the Dow and the economy generally. Yet on the “CBS Evening News,” anchor Katie Couric dismissively discarded the development with only a 17-word mention of the record close. “On Wall Street, the Dow reached new heights today closing over 12,000 for the very first time,” she told viewers.
However Couric followed that up with news of how “a judge has ordered the former head of the New York Stock Exchange to pay back up to $100 million” from $187 million in retirement benefits.
Couric’s take on the Dow continued a pattern of reporting the Business & Media Institute discovered from the Bob Schieffer era at the “Evening News.” According to an October 16 BMI study, “More than 80 percent of the full-length stories on the ‘CBS Evening News’ delivered a negative view of the economy – easily the worst of the three broadcast news programs.”
Author and BMI Director Dan Gainor added that CBS “hid the good news of jobs or economic growth in short items. More than 56 percent of CBS’s brief stories were positive.
The study, released three days before the record Dow close, examined newscasts from August 1, 2005 to July 31, 2006.