It's Just the Media Scaring Everybody

I had an argument a few days ago with my younger brother, who says the real problem with the economy these days is the news media are scaring everybody. Without all the news channels reporting all the bad business news, he said, we'd be fine; or at least, much better.

He's not the only one, of course. I've heard that same idea around town, at the gym, and in the office.


Allow me to make a suggestion: when somebody says that the economic problem is really just the media exaggerating the bad business news, I'll bet that the person saying that still has a job, and a job that isn't threatened. Yet.

It reminds me of the old half joke about the difference between a recession and a depression, namely: if my neighbor is out of work, it's a recession. If I'm out of work, it's a depression.


  • Luke Walsh says:

    Can't agree more on this point: Most news is depressing – especially NPR!

    Maybe inaccurate and/or poor journalism over several years was the cause, but not the journalism we have now. If anything I think most people wish the press had investigated hedge funds and CDSs two years ago.

    What we're experiencing now is something very different from a normal recession. Did the press stop reporting bad news during prior recessions? Was the press any less negative then? I doubt it.

    When $1.5+ trillion in stimulus spending is not enough to instill confidence in the credit and cash markets, and the Fed is loaning at 0% while printing cash to buy-up toxic assets, you know it's not just Geraldo driving this market down.

  • Christine Rath says:

    Hiya, I am mixed on this one, but generally think the media does a lot of harm. However, we are a part of the media, in the sense that the lead that bleeds also gets the audience, and we are that audience. I have a limited but informed stream of media, due to this fact.

    Also, gave Tim a link on my blog about consumer reviews in marketing.

    check it out, Tim:

    and, Heather, you should check this one out:

  • Heather says:

    I have to agree with your brother – I worked in News for several years, and the only thing that still holds true is "If it bleeds, it leads." I can't stand to watch the news, most of it is depressing and dreary. Very rarely are there positive and encouraging stories. That guy who has a Friday evening slot with Katie Couric for the last 5 min has good stories, but once a week isn't enough.

    I'm generally in a better mood about life and the economy and things when I don't see or read the news.

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