$top Panicking

By Neil Cavuto for The Balance Sheet.

A lot of people like to kid me about being upbeat; that my admittedly rosy views of the stock market and the economy are out of sync with reality. I beg to differ.

I think I'm right on the money, although I suspect you could argue now and then that my timing is off. But no matter. My point is not to focus on things that are not going well, but things that are.

That's why I'm amazed by the consistent, half-empty glass view of the world we get from the national media. I know people stop for car wrecks. But we stop for car wrecks precisely because they're unusual.

We shouldn't do the same with bad news. Stop for it, but don't assume that's all of it.

I mentioned the other day on my program a Wall Street Journal story written after a big sell off in the stock market following four days of heady advances. The headline said it all: "Stocks Retreat as Investors Get a Dose of Reality."

The not so subtle message here: the bad news was the reality, the good news before it was not. It's wacky and it's the way more than a few journalists think. Believe me, it's understandable in markets like these to assume the worst, but you're doing your readers and viewers a disservice.

I keep a chart in my office that shows the Dow Jones Industrials, adjusted for inflation, since the beginning of the last century. What's amazing about that chart is how it steadily climbs...through two world wars, a depression, Watergate, two energy crises, several presidents dying in office, the Persian Gulf war. Through it all, the Dow goes up. Invariably it goes up.

Now I don't want to minimize the very real pain that very real folks feel when they read their pension and mutual fund statements. But time is on our side. And so is perspective. All I ask of my media colleagues is to provide the balance everyone needs. That's not to say you don't report on the nine or ten chief executives who appear to be crooks, but do mention the 9 or 10,000 who are not.

That doesn't mean you don't mention that leading economic indicators fell for a fourth straight month, but do mention housing sales are still strong, and auto sales are pretty good too.

It also means giving companies their due when they beat even revised downward earnings estimates. Regardless, they beat them. And the fact is more than two out of three companies reporting these days are beating them. That ain't bad. Don't couch the good news and focus only on the bad news.

It leads people to believe everything is bad. I know we've been through much tougher times than this. Journalists didn't teach me that. History did.

Perspective. You can profit from it.

Neil Cavuto is managing editor of Business News at FOX News Channel. He is also the host of Your World with Neil Cavuto airing weekdays at 4 p.m. ET and Cavuto on Business which airs Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and Monday at 4:30 a.m. ET.