This paper focuses on the patterns discerned in the communicative construction of economic crises by the media. The media reporting on the recent financial crisis in 2007–2009 was examined within a country-comparative analysis (Switzerland, UK, USA). It transpires that the threat implicit in the crisis increases to the degree that the media can describe it as a “system crisis” spreading like an epidemic and producing an increasing number of victims. The answer to the question whether the quality of the discourse denotes a fundamental break with the prevailing neo-liberal model of society is no. Given the strong focus of the media reports on single personalities, the demands for radical reforms were largely sidelined in the public debate.