Yesterday, the lead news story on both ABC and CBS was the growth of the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter of 2011. How they treated this news was a study in contrasts.
First, ABC which trumpeted the news as the best growth in 18 months which it was. What was not said is that the growth in GDP of 2.8% was less than the expected 3.1%. The stock market reacted negatively and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 74 points.
Next, CBS discussed the same story and even interviewed the same economist – Diane Swonk of Chicago’s Mesirow Financial – as did ABC News. However, unlike ABC News, they gave the full story. Included in Anthony Mason’s report was the fact that much of the growth came from business restocking inventory and that the recovery was weak. They also discussed how the stock market reacted negatively to this information.
If you had just interviewed President Obama like Diane Sawyer did this week, you don’t want to release information that doesn’t portray him and his policies in the most positive light. However, it doesn’t say much for your network and honesty.