Boston, August 24, 2012. The media image of the banking industry is still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis, and the inability of the economy to recover is hurting politicians years later, according to the latest findings from research institute Media Tenor International.
“We´re coming up on five years since the collapse of Lehmann Brothers, and it´s evident that the media has not forgotten the risk-taking behavior of the financial sector,” says Kate Dinota, a researcher at Media Tenor. “Before 2008, the banking industry had a more positive image in the media and was more trusted by the general public. Now, even critics´ darlings like JPMorgan and Jamie Dimon are scrutinized over any mistake.” Though print media was less critical of the major banks, the top ten banks mentioned in TV news had an extraordinarily negative image.
Surprisingly, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve did not receive as much criticism, says Dinota. “It´s as if the media has put all the blame on the politicians; we hear very few stories now about these institutions, but the Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, has faced a good deal of criticism and essentially no praise. His media rating and public support has been worse than it is now, specifically around the time of the AIG bonus scandal, but overall he is reported on with a consistently low-grade negative rating by the major networks.”
Lack of trust in the financial sector and the stagnant economy is affecting politicians media ratings as well. Media Tenor compared the media rating of George W. Bush´s first term to that of President Obama. “Both presidents saw a downward trend in their media rating over the first four years,” notes Dinota. “But this economic situation has really put Obama at risk. You can see a brief moment of positive coverage in his first month. But the media was immediately dissatisfied that he was unable to fix everything, and he has had month after month of negative ratings since.” Dinota also mentions that Bush had some redeeming moments that helped his rating: “After 9-11 public support for Bush skyrocketed. That helped his overall image over time. Without such moments of national unity, the situation for Obama is more dire.”
Though Obama is framed more negatively overall when it comes to the economy, Romney has not escape criticisms either. In the top ten topics for Romney this week were criticisms over his policies for the financial sector. “Vice President Joe Biden´s comments about Romney wanting to ‘unchain Wall Street´ remind us of 2008. People are gun-shy about deregulating banks, especially with the industry´s media rating so low,” says Dinota.
Despite that issue, Romney took a jump in the polls this week . Dinota notes, “The economy is, of course, one of the factors in play, but Ryan has also taken a lot of heat over Medicare and the budget this week. That has taken the spotlight off Romney for the moment.”
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