Bad Media Calls of 08: Did They Really Say That?

There were plenty to choose from, including from us.

What a year. The economy nosedived. U.S. stocks lost 38% of their value. And those of us who earn a living trying to peer into the future had our comeuppance. Along with all the bad news, the panic of '08 will be remembered for a bumper crop of wrong predictions from pundits, prognosticators, and analysts of all stripes. Here are a few bloopers from a year that turned out to be a bust on many levels. See if you agree.

Larry Kudlow, economist and syndicated columnist.

What He Said: "With the U.S. dollar up and oil down and businesses investing, I think [the] Goldilocks [economy] is back in business." – August 28,2008 CNBC’s Kudlow & Company

What Happened Next: Several weeks later Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and signed an agreement to be taken over by Barclays PLC.

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What He's Saying Now: "Who knew about Lehman, AIG and the LIBOR [interbank-lending] freeze? But we will see Goldilocks again."

Worth Magazine

What The Magazine Said: "Emerging markets are now the global investors’ [sic] safe haven of choice." – April/May 2008

What Happened Next: Emerging-markets stocks shed 52% of their value in 2008, through December 19.

What They're Saying Now: Nothing [Worth didn’t respond to our request for comment].

Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine

What We Said: Stock investors should "beat the rush to the banks."– November 2008

What Happened Next: The banking industry has come to the brink of collapse over the past few months.

What We're Saying Now: "We grossly underestimated the risks of these companies, but at least all our picks are still in business."- Elizabeth Ody, author of this article.

Suze Orman, Financial advisor and author.

What She said: "If any of you have your money at brokerage firms in a money-market [mutual] fund that is not FDIC-insured, you better switch it out today to either a money-market account that’s insured, a bank that has FDIC insurance, or a money-market fund that invests in Treasuries." – September 23, 2008, The Oprah Winfrey Show

What Happened Next: The U.S. Treasury had already announced a guarantee of money-market mutual funds. Wouldn't a run on these funds help fuel a financial meltdown?

What She's Saying Now: "It is far better to be safe than sorry."

JIM CRAMER, television personality and author.

What He said: "The market will not revisit the panicked lows it hit on July 15…. Bye-bye, bear market. Say hello to the bull, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out." – July 30, 2008 CNBC’s Mad Money

What Happened Next: The Dow fell another 3,400 points from July 15 to its low on November 20.

What He's Saying Now: Nothing [Cramer didn’t respond to our request for comment].

Ken Fisher, CEO of Fisher Investments.

What He Said: "I still think the year will end in the plus column…. So keep buying." – April 21, 2008 Forbes

What Happened Next: Stocks are on track in 2008 for their worst calendar year since 1937.

What He's Saying Now: Nothing [Fisher didn’t respond to our request for comment].

BARRON'S Magazine

What the Magazine said: "Home prices are about to bottom." ­ – July 14, 2008

What Happened Next: The month-to-month price decline accelerated, and the year-over-year decline is breaking new records every month.

What They're Saying Now: "The story pointed out that all bets would be off if the U.S. were to descend into a serious recession." responded a spokeswomen from Barron's

DONALD LUSKIN, CIO for Trend Macrolytics LLC.

What He said: "This bull market has been born again…. It’s time to go in and buy junk bonds … it’s time to buy financials." – March 24, 2008, CNBC’s Kudlow & Company

What Happened Next: Stocks, junk and financials are off 30% or more since then.

What He's Saying Now: "We all make [bad calls], though we try our very best not to."

ALLAN SLOAN, editor at Fortune.

What He said: "Lehman won’t fail." – July 7, 2008 Fortune

What Happened Next: Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy on September 15.

What He's Saying Now: "I got it wrong."

To see this in slide show format click here.

To see the bears and how they were right click here.

Elizabeth Leary
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Elizabeth Leary (née Ody) first joined Kiplinger in 2006 as a reporter, and has held various positions on staff and as a contributor in the years since. Her writing has also appeared in Barron's, BloombergBusinessweek, The Washington Post and other outlets.