Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Media and Recovery Stories


Few things wind me up more than news that has gotten it's priorities wrong.  A classic example of this keeps showing up with this supposed "recovery" that the media bleats on about.  

We're told on the one hand that the economy is getting better, yet month after month the Bank of Canada, Bank of England and so on, all keep extending the lowest interest rates in our lifetimes, just to keep some momentum going.  We are also told about how the US job market is recovering, yet the last set of figures had less than 170,000 new jobs when there was over 7 million people on the more conservative U3 employment figure. 

We also see stories that are disconnected from the reality.  We have the US Fed pumping in $85bn in stimulus each month, and the media praising that this is helping keep the stock markets up.  Now, I don't mean to sound callous here, but Wall Street should be left to look after itself.  That $85bn a month could have been better spent on the other 300 million plus more Americans that don't work on Wall Street.  

Given we regularly see news like "Wall Street disappointed at Apple" when it's still raking in billions in profit each quarter, and is currently sitting on a $100bn pile of cash, you have to wonder why the news hasn't actually asked the question "Well how much cash does a company need, for you to call it enough to satisfy Wall Street?"…  Of course, they're not going to ask that as most of the media is now just regurgitating someone else's news, or someone else's press report.

And there lies the problem:  The vast majority of news sources are not taking a step back and asking if this is a good thing or not, and if not, why not?

There was an excellent article in the Guardian about this recovery (source http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/06/bad-economic-stimulus-quantitative-easing), but the biggest thing I see is a parallel between the Internet as seen by Bill Gates where he said "When you're dying of Malaria, I'm not sure how the Internet will help you", and the current situation with Wall Street where I can't see how pumping in huge amounts of money to the rich on Wall Street is helping the average person that cannot get a decent job because the economy has gone to pot.