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Media Stoking Economic Fear, or Reality?

David Carr, NY Times: Stoking Fear Everywhere You Look. Every modern recession includes a media séance about how horrible things are and how much worse they will be, but there have never been so many ways for the fear to leak in. The same digital dynamics that drove the irrational exuberance — and marketed the loans to help it happen — are now driving the downside in unprecedented ways.

He’s right (assuming I understand his argument correctly) that the media were complicit in the bubble. I disagree, however, that the media are overly gloomy now.

Our society’s manic-depressive tendencies may well lead us into a steeper recession than is necessary in any economic sense. But people who save their money today are not being irrational, even though this is exactly the time you hope that enough people will spend to keep the economy from an absolute crater.

The media are only doing what they always do eventually: They get it right, way too late to make a difference.

0 Comments on “Media Stoking Economic Fear, or Reality?”

  1. #1 Cedar Rock
    on Dec 10th, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    There’s fear alright, but it’s written in the form of charts and data. The bloggers are the only ones that seem to have any facts. True, some may be out of context, but even if only a few are accurate, things are ugly. The mainstream media still seem asleep at the wheel. My impression is that they want to gloss over it all to avoid panic, I hope I am not being too kind.