CNN's 'Emergency Edition' Optimistic About America's Financial Future

     After an unprecedented week of economic ups and downs, CNN’s “In the Money” reassured consumers that a doomsday Depression is far from America’s economy. In fact, the September 21 “Emergency Edition” proved to be a refreshing burst of optimism for those concerned about the financial crisis. Rather than mudslinging all blame to Washington, D.C., or Wall Street, the show advocated accepting personal responsibility for poor financial decisions.

     Personal wealth adviser Louis Barajas blamed irresponsible individual spending for the economic problems. “We’ve gotten ourselves into this mess because of us. The stuff that we’ve done. We’ve borrowed, we’ve purchased homes we can’t afford,” Barajas charged, “You need to take personal responsibility. Forget about everybody else,” as he recommended people cut back on spending and increase savings. CNN’s Christine Romans heartily agreed with Barajas’ call for cautious spending. “You have to be living within your means,” she reminds. “This is a giant wakeup call that overindulgence just isn’t going to do it.”

     While acknowledging the serious turmoil and challenges facing the economy, CNN’s Ali Velshi and Christine Romans squeezed some positive remarks out of the guests they interview from the financial industry. Despite the episode’s dramatic background music and facts of the country’s worrisome economic status, this “Emergency Edition” portrayed a more optimistic tone compared to other news networks doom-and-gloom predictions.

     Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s, assured viewers worried about the economy “It's going to be painful, we’ve got, I think, a tough economy ahead of us but I think the worst in the financial markets is over.” Echoing these comments, Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, saw “a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s no longer a train. “

     The overly pessimistic comments of many news networks this past week helped fuel consumer anxiety and rash financial decisions. The New York Stock Exchange’s Susan Lisovicz attested to the challenges of journalism of reporting this last week’s economic activity. “[T]he real test was to try to maintain the right tone… to try not to talk it up anymore than it is and to remain calm… you don’t have to put too many adjectives on this story.”

     The analysts also found optimism in the government’s swift response. Stephen Leeb, president of Leeb Capital Management, predicted “it will get better… what the government has done will sow the seeds for I think a very, very sharp recovery.” In agreement Swonk noted, “The fact that people now understand their money's safe and they can move forward with some sense of certainty about how actions will be handled in financial markets going forward is very, very important.”  

     With intense concern Barack Obama calls the current situation “the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.” Christine Romans, CNN’s Mary Snow, and Harvard University’s Jay Rosengar all agree upon significant differences between the present economic problems and the crisis of the Great Depression. Having “learned from its failures,” the government is taking rapid and relevant response. Economic conditions are “nowhere near the severity of the Great Depression,” reassured Swonk. “We’re all on the same boat. We're going to reach land.”