COMMENTS: Campaign Ousted by Bernanke

For the first time in 2008, the Presidential election campaign did not qualify as Story of the Day. Pride of place belonged instead to the economy and Benjamin Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, who worried out loud that the slowdown in growth might turn into an actual recession. CBS and ABC both led with the chairman's pledge on further potential cuts in interest rates: "We stand ready to take substantive additional action." NBC stayed on the campaign trail for its lead.

Bernanke was unGreenspanlike in his choice of words. "It is unusual for the Fed Chairman to send such a clear signal," noted ABC's Betsy Stark (embargoed link). "Volatile and fragile" were the adjectives Anthony Mason underlined on CBS, reporting on recession for the second day in a row. NBC, as usual, assigned economic coverage to its sibling financial news cable channel: CNBC's Trish Regan did the honors.

ABC's Stark offered no comfort at the prospect of recession: "Fear is contagious no matter how wealthy you are," she insisted. "Low income consumers may fear they will not be able to fill up their gas tanks. Middle income consumers may fear their homes will be worth less than what they paid for them. Upper income consumers may fear a falling stock market will decimate their retirement funds."


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