Cramer Calls for Media Balance on Recession Fears

     CNBC host Jim Cramer chastised media colleagues on the January 17 “Today” show for contributing to fears about the economy by only reporting negative news about the possibility of a recession.

      “Today” anchor Matt Lauer told Cramer, “People come up to me and say on the street … they say, ‘Why don’t you stop talking about recession? Because simply by talking about it, you’re going to freak out consumer and definitely push us into one.’ Is there any logic to that thinking?”

     Cramer said the media aren’t the reason some companies are struggling, adding, “The answer is that we have to point out the positives with the negatives.”

     In the first two weeks of 2008, the media have reported fears of a recession four times as often as they have reported the possibility of avoiding a recession. Economists, on the other hand, put the possibility of recession at 40 percent to 42 percent, according to surveys conducted by Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal.

     But Cramer also defended the negativity. “We have to report the news,” he said, “and there is an astounding decline in business in the country. If we say that there isn’t, we cannot be possibly doing our jobs.”

     Reversing a position he took New Year’s Day that “sunny skies” were in store for the economy, Cramer declared January 17 that “yes, we’re in a recession.” He added that he thought the process could be reversed with interest rate cuts expected from the Federal Reserve and corporate income tax reductions to encourage more hiring.