COMMENTS: No Joke

All three networks followed up with more from the economy. On ABC, Betsy Stark (embargoed link) wondered if a 391 point buying spree on the Dow Jones Industrial Average was "Wall Street's idea of an April Fool's joke" since it came on the heels of a $19bn loss from the UBS investment bank and a $4bn from its rival Deutsche Bank. No, it was no joke Stark explained, since the write downs may be an indication that the entire credit crisis is now accounted for. Yet "this is not the first time investors have bet the worst is over only to be bludgeoned by more bad news."

NBC continued its Hard Times feature series with a profile of Ric Edelman, the talkradio personal finance advisor, who claims that we can all cut consumer spending by 5% "without a significant change" in our domestic lifestyles. Carl Quintanilla, of NBC's sibling financial news cable channel CNBC, relayed Edelman's advice: get a better cable TV deal; use the cellphone, not land line, for all calls; use the fireplace not central heating; save energy by changing lightbulbs and disconnecting home electronics; quit smoking; exercise at home not at the gym; buy groceries in bulk; skip your morning coffee and newspaper; no candy bar after lunch.

See! No lifestyle change whatsoever!

CBS launched its series Life and Debt in America by looking at the $9.3tr the federal government owes, the so-called National Debt. Each year, it rolls over $4tr of that total, selling new bills and bonds by public auction. Anthony Mason claimed that CBS' cameras were showing us workings of the Treasury Department's Bureau of Public Debt for the first time ever. Exclusive! In hushed tones, Mason showed a $13bn auction of ten-year notes: "You are watching the world's biggest borrower flash its credit card. This is an awfully sedate room but there is real money at stake."

Mason offered an indirect message to Colin Powell, higher up in CBS' newscast: the $430bn the United States spends in interest payments each year on the National Debt is "nearly as much as we spend on education."


You must be logged in to this website to leave a comment. Please click here to log in so you can participate in the discussion.