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How Media News Influences Stock Markets And Elections

Updated on February 11, 2019
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

In many ways, music saved my life, and I have the most famous director of the USMC bands to thank for it!


Increasing Media Involvement Since the Cold War

American political campaigns since the founding of the nation have often included satire in the media, dished out in opinion columns, news articles, and political cartoons. Movies, radio, and television widened the spectrum of opportunity to criticize or endorse a candidate.

Cable TV provided a greater number of channels on which to do so and instituted the mock political commentary shows of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert in the 21st Century. This was joined by a number of political dramas on TV and a new series called Scandal, involving the White House in unsavory events.

Saturday Night Live played an important part ion defeating the ticket of McCain-Palin in 2008 and applied its influence in 2012 as well. Late night talk show hosts compounded the frenzy.

An older TV model.
An older TV model. | Source

1960: Presidential Debates Begin

The JFK-Nixon Presidential Debates 1960
The JFK-Nixon Presidential Debates 1960
High school and college classes study these films, but they are good for general knowledge as well as entertainment. These were the first televised presidential debates. Some media spin was that JFK was more attractive on camera and this may have influenced voters.

Internet in 1996

The popularity of the new Internet in 1996 brought a new platform to political campaigning and Bill Clinton was called the First Internet President (1992 - 2000).

Internet social networks in 2012 allowed instant praise and putdowns on Twitter and Facebook, transmitted to millions of people. The amount of profanity used against both presidential and vice presidential candidates was of a greater magnitude than previous campaigns. Related memes often contained obscene graphics.

Media Technology.
Media Technology. | Source

Campaign 2012

Campaign 2012 for President of the United States was the closest race in 76 years (reference: National Constitution Center), going back to 1936. It was likely the most expensive (billions of dollars), most bitter, scandal-filled, propagandist campaign to date, with media help.

Some Americans turned off their TV sets (see inset to the right) and radios and stopped answering their doors when campaign workers came knocking as late as 8:30 PM in my metro area. Mail boxes and front porches were filled with slick campaign handbills. It was a win-at-any-cost election.

Although "everyone" was said to hate President Abraham Lincoln for his actions in office, stronger claims by both of the current major political parties in 2012 insisted that the other side was evil and going to burn in hell.

Some insisted that God favored the GOP - a Bible scholar insisted that the Bible Code proclaimed Romney the winner; however, the official website disagreed. Evangelist Billy Graham, a friend to all past Presidents, was lobbied to support the Mormon candidate, Mitt Romney, and to remove LDS from his official list of cults.

A substantial number of individuals and groups claimed that President Barack Obama was Muslim and therefore planning to dismantle American Democracy. They had forgotten that Billy Graham had preached in previous years that the Muslim and Christian religions have more in common than they have in differences and need to cooperate in the world.

Religious objections were at the highest pitch since Campaign 1960, in which a large number of voices criticized John F. Kennedy for being Catholic, opponent Richard M. Nixon being Quaker and thus to these voices, more Christian.

Extreme name-calling was relentless in Campaign 2012 and extremely loud. As one political comic once said. "When you have nothing to say, say it loud."

Prophetic TV Series 1987 - 1988

Matt Frewer played investigative reporter Edison Carter and cyber-character Max Headroom in the TV series of the same name.
Matt Frewer played investigative reporter Edison Carter and cyber-character Max Headroom in the TV series of the same name. | Source

Max Headroom: Prophetic TV Series Premise

In a dystopian future (like 2012) we are ruled by TV networks & CEOs. Every home must have a TV that plays retail ads and propaganda 24/7/365 and the street corners are full of blaring TVs. Off switches are illegal. Edison Carter (Matt Frewer) is a reporter for Network 23, who uncovers things that the CEOs want to cover up. Max is an Artificial Intelligence and talk show host who helps Edison.

Related to this, the standard procedures and rules of debate were ignored by presidential and vice presidential debaters in 2012. Constant interruptions by opposing candidates continued through three presidential debates and moderators did not always do an adequate job.

In the vice presidential debate, VP Joe Biden provided TV's Saturday Night Live a good amount of skit fodder by prolonging his out-loud guffawing at the opposing candidate, Paul Ryan, throughout that debate. These debates were nothing like the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960, the first presidential debates, and nothing like any formal debate anywhere.

Campaign 2012 was akin to a Roman circus.

A similar venue for flamboyant parades, beast hunts, and gladiators in combat.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Circus Maximus stands in the foreground and the Roman Coliseum (circular) in the background.Jean-Léon Gérôme's 1872 painting Pollice Verso. Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?
Circus Maximus stands in the foreground and the Roman Coliseum (circular) in the background.
Circus Maximus stands in the foreground and the Roman Coliseum (circular) in the background. | Source
Jean-Léon Gérôme's 1872 painting Pollice Verso. Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?
Jean-Léon Gérôme's 1872 painting Pollice Verso. Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down? | Source

Political Parties - Which Is Which In the Public Mind, Anyway?

Example: Social Security Retirement, SSDI, and SSI

Some of the public is unaware of which political party is responsible for some current legislation. For example, the age for retirement from work in the US is set to gradually rise to age 75. This plan took effect decades ago under the Ronald Reagan Administration, according to reports received in my medical classes.

This plan may or may not phase out SS retirement benefits entirely. Arguments in Campaign 2012 took either side of the age rise and benefits cut question in order to gain votes, but the plan to raise retirement age and to possibly cut and/or eliminate SS retirement was already in place nearly 30 years previously.

Further, President Reagan cut off nearly all SSDI and SSI recipients under his double-term in office, requiring them to reapply. Such a woman cut off from benefits was a client of mine. She was immobile, her condition deteriorating to one in which she was in a hospital in a body brace and both arms and legs in long-term traction.

The letter she received from the President told her to start her own business and I will never forget reading it. She lost everything and became homeless while in the hospital, but our city's homeless services network stepped in to help remedy her situation. Other past recipients really did not need SSI or SSDI benefits and actually went back to work, but some others became homeless and/or could not acquire their medications and other treatments, and died.

The general expectation of the public is that Republicans cut programs and taxes, at least for some portions of the population; while Democrats institute more programs and raise taxes in order to do so.

President Reagan had been a Democrat around the time he became involved in the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) during the Cold War and Senator Joe McCarthy's Communist witch hunts. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper worked together to persuade certain actors to switch parties in order to preserve their careers.

This was revealed by Hedda Hopper's grandson online when he became an adult and reviewed his grandmother's two-inch thick FBI file. Hedda Hopper could ruin a person's career in her newspaper column or on her radio show. This was the threat used against individuals during the blacklisting of suspected Communists from securing work in Hollywood.

Ironically, many of the public and some media pundits today brand actors as liberal or communist. Many feel that the media is liberal overall as well. Others pick out individual programs or newspapers/magazines and label them as either liberal or conservative, resulting in some media outlets wearing both labels at once. Some Americans stopped watching TV altogether, disillusioned by the fray.

Example: Employment and Training, Unemployment, and Welfare Reform

Under the Bill Clinton Administration, the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) expired and this ended the large Summer Youth Employment Programs like the one in my city that employed several thousand kids every summer or paid them a stipend to attend summer classes. Congress voted in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) that in 1998 limited Employment and Training programs (compared to JTPA) and all but eliminated summer work programs for teens.

However, George W. Bush was blamed for the cuts when he took office in 2000, because much of the public felt that a Republican would be one to make such cuts. Working in Employment and Training during Summer 2001, I fielded hundreds of calls from angry parents, asking why Bush cut the summer work program for teens.

Welfare Reform took effect under the Clinton Administration as well, limiting cash benefits to a family to three years only, with many other changes and attached sanctions for noncompliance. In my work, I received many angry phone calls from 2001 - 2005, asking why George W. Bush cut welfare benefits. Callers did not believe that a Democrat or the US Congress would make such cuts and reforms. The media of various sorts helped to spread this opinion.

Did Inventors Know How Influential TV Would Be?

The New Television Set, by Norman Rockwell, 1949
The New Television Set, by Norman Rockwell, 1949 | Source

Jobs Boosted by Aerospace Industries

The numbers of jobs advertised in America, which is a completely different number than "new jobs created" references on Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, held at 5-6 million on any given day in 2007 - 2008, when they began to decline under George W. Bush. As an Employment and Training professional, I look at the total number and types of jobs advertised in the USA every day.

The number of jobs available from all sources that listed jobs on the Internet for the US declined to approximately 4 to 4.5 million from 2009 - 2012, with increases in certain states like Texas, Ohio, and others. A small decrease occurred before the second 2012 Presidential Debate and on the day after the debate, the number of advertised jobs rose to 5 million.

The day before Election 2012, the number of advertised jobs reached somewhat over 5 million. The increases appeared largely in engineering job titles. Some of these were connected with the NASA Commercial Crew, a network of 63 different private companies in the Aerospace Industry that created increasing numbers of jobs beginning after the final US Space Shuttle Launch in July 2012.

Almost three years ahead of schedule, Google and its Lunar X project will have moon landing craft on our moon in early 2013. This represents a large monetary investment and a large project to return to the moon. Google, James Cameron, and other partners entered the space mining industry in 2012 in order to capture additional resources for Earth.

At the time of Election 2012, we did not have enough jobs for America, but we had more than were available in 2009 - 2011.

The US Stock Market Response

With Election 2012 approaching on November 6, a hurricane that devastated the Northeastern United States beginning October 29, 2012 closed the NYSE for two days on the 29th and 30th. This proved to be the longest shut-down since 1888, but the NYSE brought out its generators and made arrangements for traders to carpool and/or stay in nearby hotels.

In what was called on normal day on the 31st, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 10.75 points at 13,096.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 0.22 point at 1,412.16 and the Nasdaq composite lost 10.72 points to 2,977.23 (Reference: Trading appeared to be flat on November 5, 2012 and world stocks fell somewhat.

In comparison, after the final Presidential Debate of 2012 (10/22/12), stocks experienced an overall decline on October 23 until the final hour of trading, ending with marginal increases.The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.02% to 13,345.89. The Standard & Poor 500 climbed 0.04% to 1,433.82 and the Nasdaq Composite Index increased 0.4% to 3,016.96 (Reference:

See Table I. below for stock market results on the day before election 2012 and comparison with results after re-opening the NYSE on 10/31 and on 10/23, the day after the final Presidential Debate 2012.

Table I. Overview: American Stocks and Election 2012

At the Final Bell:
Dow Jones
Standard & Poor

In Table I. above, we see that the American stock market declined from the day after the third 2012 Presidential Debate to the day before the general election. Superstorm Sandy, which devastated parts of New Jersey, Manhattan, and Staten Island is likely to blame for part of this decline. As the election neared, TV weather reports that a second devastating storm approaching New York by November 6-7 were alarming.

Election Results

Final Bell Results on Election Day:

  • Dow Jones 13,235.68
  • Standard & Poor 1,428.39
  • Nasdaq 3,011.93

At 10:00 AM on Election Day, YahooNews Election Control Room reported that 56% of the American people were angry, 15% were worried, and 9% were excited about the major issues overall in the election. The remaining 20% were happy, confused, sad, or bored.

On a state by state basis, 100% of Michigan was angry about "Taxes" and in Swing State Ohio, 69% were angry about Taxes. In Florida, 25% of the people were either happy, angry, confused, or sad about Jobs. Apprehensions were clear about one issue or another in each state.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Patty Inglish MS


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