the greatest depression

The CNBC Emotional Index

Green is the new flattering.

CNBC spends its days tracking the Dow, the S&P, the NASDAQ and even the LIBOR. But in these panicky times, who’s tracking CNBC?

Yesterday, October 2 — the day after the Senate approved the bailout bill and the day before the House took it up — we went from Wall Street’s opening bell to closing bell charting the CNBCEI (that would be the CNBC Emotional Index). Isn’t it time to put politics aside and engineer a bailout for Maria Bartiromo?

The CNBCEI scale runs from Great Depression (1) to Bubbly (10)

9:30 a.m. Russell Simmons rings the NYSE’s opening bell while wearing a delightfully colorful sweater-vest. 8

10 a.m. Up pops the day’s first graphic showing the progress of the Dow. It’s down 185. 6

10:31 a.m. Befuddled by a chart on NASDAQ stats, anchor Mark Haines simply blurts out, “What is going on here?” 5

10:46 a.m. Interview with Russell Simmons. Still loving that delightfully colorful sweater-vest. 8

11:02 a.m. Reporter Bob Pisani enthusiastically makes the case that we may soon see a bull market. He has three screens with bullet points! 9

11:09 a.m. In argument over whether the government could actually make money from the bailout bill, reporter Rick Santelli looks like he’s ready to throw a punch. 7

12:23 p.m. Viewing video of the long-mothballed Intrepid aircraft carrier heading back to New York, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera says, “A strong military is what ultimately defines a strong reserve currency.” Others look at her baffled. 4

12:33 p.m. Now-jovial Rick Santelli and Dennis Kneale bet cheeseburgers on the direction of European interest rates. They’re going double or nothing! 7

1:43 p.m. Breaking News headline: “Dow down 300+ points.” In fact, by the time the graphic loads up, the Dow’s down by 310. 4

2:35 p.m. Discussing the downturn in commercial paper, Mary Thompson says, “The chill is causing significant shrinkage.” She doesn’t even giggle. 3

2:50 p.m. Jim Cramer likens the value of the New York Stock Exchange stock to that of a bowling alley. Erin Burnett laughs and tells him to go take a nap. 6

3 p.m. Amid a day of heavy losses, Maria Bartiromo takes over coverage. When she’s not talking, she looks like she’s holding her breath. 4

3:26 p.m. Uninterrupted string of Breaking News headlines: “S&P Down almost 4%,” “Dow falls over 3%,” “Dow below 10,500,” “NASDAQ down 4%,” “NASDAQ below 2000.” Ouch. 3

3:43 p.m. Breaking News headline: “Dow drops almost 400 points.” In fact, it’s down only 360. How pessimistic. 2

3:48 p.m. Analyzing graphs of data, Jordan Kotick somberly describes the current economic downturn as a “perfect chart storm.” 1

4 p.m. NYSE closing bell rung by the CEO of Wendys Arbys Group. Earlier he had enthusiastically implied that a faltering economy would be good news for Wendys Arbys because it would increase the number of people who could only afford to eat fast food. 2

The CNBC Emotional Index