OLD Media Moves

The media does a lousy job covering the economy

January 27, 2006

That’s the conclusion of CBS business correspondent Anthony Mason. Not surprisingly, Mason thinks that CBS has done a pretty good job at covering the economy.

Mason made this general statement about media coverage of the economy: “Most Americans find economic news impenetrable and it’s our fault. For a long time, it’s been portrayed as an ‘us vs. them’ thing. There are stories about how big bad business is laying people off. But companies get a bad rap when all that gets reported is the layoffs. They got a bad rap when they were outsourcing jobs. I don’t think enough has been done in the mainstream media to explain how the economy really works and how jobs get created and how they disappear.”

Here is what he had to say about the coverage on CBS: “The way the ‘Evening News’ covers the economy is from the ordinary person’s point of view. We try not to do CNBC-type coverage where we’re taking you down to real nitty gritty things. We’re trying to paint a real big picture with a real broad brush.”

The posting on the CBS News web site about economics coverage was in response to a report from the Free Market Report criticizing coverage of the economy on the networks. FMP studied 151 stories on the 2005 evening news shows from all three broadcast networks – ABC, CBS and NBC – to assess how they had reported on both job losses and gains during a year of strong employment growth. It found that ABC was the best and CBS was the worst.

Read the report here.

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