Media Keep Faith in Dow Jones as Oracle

Prefacing a Daily Show segment (3/4/09) with his version of current big-media reporting: “Recent opinion polls indicate that six weeks into Barack Obama’s administration, the American public thinks they approve of his performance–but it turns out they’re wrong,” Jon Stewart runs clips of celebrity news figures like Fox‘s Sean Hannity asking, “How did the market react to this latest liberal spending spree? Well, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped almost 400 points,” and of Fox Business Network‘s Neil Cavuto asking, “The Dow is down more than 1,500 points, nearly 3,000 since Election Day, now is this a vote of no confidence in this administration?” Mocking this common media canard, Stewart even calls the Dow

a real-time cause-and-effect precision barometer of how the president is doing. It’s been that way for years. For example–little-known fact–Wall Street hated Ronald Reagan: Look at the numbers the day he got inaugurated. And they hated it when Truman announced we’d won World War II. And, to give you an idea of what a finely tuned measure of America’s national mood the Dow is, when the Titanic sunk? Through the roof!

Stewart’s take-away moral: “So what seems to be being suggested here is that opinion polls don’t matter; the stock market is the only rational, objective indicator of a commander in chief’s performance.” Read the contrary evidence in FAIR’s new Media Advisory: “What the Dow Isn’t: Stocks Misused As ‘Scorecard’ of White House Policy” (3/5/09).