CNN Breaks with Tradition, Airs Positive Economic Story

     Despite recent volatility, CNN’s Ali Velshi offered a notably positive story about the stock market on “American Morning” October 1, although anchor John Roberts tried to dampen his enthusiasm.

     “[F]rom the beginning of the year, take a look at this, the Dow is up 11.5 percent. In February we had a dip, in August, another dip. The S&P 500, very broad representation of the market, is up 7.5 percent. And the NASDAQ, which is technology heavy, is up about 12 percent,” said Velshi.

     Velshi was even optimistic about the remainder of the year: “In the last 15 years, the fourth quarter has been very good. It's been a very strong performer, with the exception of two years. And the average gain in the fourth quarter is about 6.5 percent … if you didn't respond to all those panicky sell offs earlier in the year, you didn't do too badly.”

     Then Roberts tried to pick apart Velshi’s remark, saying, “We know historically speaking the fourth quarter isn't always good for the stock market. There's the years 1929, 1987.”

     But Roberts was cherry-picking two of the worst economic events, not just in U.S. economic history, but in modern history, to challenge Velshi’s point. Velshi stuck to his guns though saying the “average person” should be fine and reminding viewers than Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has said the Fed would try to keep America out of recession.

     Velshi’s reasonable look at the overall stock market picture does not track with CNN’s typical coverage of economic news.

     Another CNN program, “Your Money” took a dismal look at the economy on September 15, despite the guest economist on the show who said, “It’s a pretty good world out there.” Host Christine Romans still claimed, “The stock market still hasn’t found its footing.”

     On September 26 “American Morning” co-host John Roberts and CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger criticized President Bush’s opposition to a $35 billion increase for children’s health insurance. Roberts actually seemed bewildered by the veto threat.

     Velshi himself recently had trouble reporting on gas and oil prices. On “American Morning” September 24, he warned viewers that “you’re going to expect your gas prices to go up.” This was the same day co-host Kiran Chetry reported a drop in gas prices. Prices had fallen nearly 15 cents.