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Free Market Project

3/7/2006 4:25:54 AM

Updated 02/24/06

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CNN’s ‘Andy Serwer 180’
Reporter’s housing bubble lasts two minutes on ‘American Morning.’

By Ken Shepherd
Free Market Project

Dec. 08, 2005

Send this page to a friend! (click here)     The same network that brings you “Anderson Cooper 360” should consider a new show hosted by one of its business reporters: “Andy Serwer 180.”

     CNN’s Andy Serwer swung from warning of a rupturing housing bubble to saying such a bubble doesn’t exist in just two minutes in a “Minding Your Business” report on the December 8 “American Morning.” This is hardly the first time he’s done so, although his reversals are coming quicker. The Free Market Project reported recently on Serwer’s about-face on the economy on the December 2 show, which took about two hours to happen.

     Reporting on a UCLA study on the future of the housing market released the same day, Serwer cautioned viewers the findings were “kind of scary stuff,” adding that “800,000 jobs might be lost if the bubble really bursts.” An onscreen graphic warned viewers that the “Housing Outlook Darkens.”

     After reporting a drop among housing stocks the previous day on Wall Street, the Fortune magazine editor concluded that the housing industry “is right now peaking, but they’re saying it’s just not going to continue.” But substitute host Carol Costello prompted a correction from Serwer, noting that “maybe it’s not so much the bubble is going to burst, but things are just readjusting to where they should be.”

     Softening his introductory warning, Serwer admitted, “that’s probably right, we’re just unwinding a little bit. Things were at such a frenzied pace there for a while, right?”

     Just a day before, Los Angeles Times reporter Annette Haddad reported a less pessimistic outlook by experts who put together the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast.  Haddad noted in the December 7 article that while the previous UCLA study, released in September, foresaw a “possible recession by the end of 2007,” such a downturn in the economy was not foreseen in the current prediction.

     Forecast author Ryan Ratcliff said “there have been several instances since 2001 where sales have flattened out for a few months, only to pick up again.” The Free Market Project published a
special report in late November detailing four years of media hype about the ever-soon-to-burst “housing bubble,” citing numerous instances where reporters hyped negative indicators as harbingers of trouble.


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