MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

January 7, 2011

Headlines You Will NEVER See : The Shit Has Hit The Fan!

In recent weeks (as of writing this) certain commentators, most notably Glenn Beck, have really stepped up the rhetoric about how bad they believe the national economy and forecast is.

Specifically, how bad for the country QE2 and debt monetization is/will be.

Food/clothing/energy inflation
Austere cuts in government services including police, fire departments, and schools

Naturally, they have come under immense criticism to say the least about their stance.

Fair enough. No one has a crystal ball. You don’t have to agree or even agree but not to the same extent.

This article is not about if they are right or wrong. MasterPo has written about that before, the position is very clear.

The point of this article is simply this:

In terms of what Beck and others are predicting while no one else in the main media is saying a thing like it, the scenario begs the question: Do you really think the media at large - CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, NYT, Washington Post, even WSJ - would EVER announce to the public how bad it is and getting worse??

For example, can you imagine watching your Monday night football and all of sudden the channel goes blank and a voice says "We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for this urgent news, we go live to our Washington/New York/whatever studios - Ladies and gentlemen: The shit has hit the fan! Inflation is rising so fast by this time next week milk will be $7/gal and bread $5/loaf.

Thousands if not millions of Americans will be losing their jobs in the weeks and months to come while millions more, already struggling to just to stay afloat, will have to make tough decisions about buying food or paying for heat this winter. The President has authorized a $100 billion more for the food stamp program this week alone and more is expected. More on this at our 11 o'clock broadcast. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming."

Or, can you imagine the morning NYT, USA Today, et al having a front page banner "Fed Gambled on QE2 and Lost: Weimar Republic Here We Come!" ??

Of course not.

Inflation can be 10%, unemployment 20% and millions of otherwise middle class American people cold and hungry in the dark of winter and they still won't talk much about it.

MasterPo understands and accepts the need not to add to a general panic (the proverbial not making a bad situation worse). It is the role of leadership and the media to help calm people, not inflame them or target their deepest fears.

But at the same time it is the moral, ethical, and adult thing to let people really know how bad a situation is and how much worse it might get. It’s also moral and ethical – and the job of leadership – to inform people what they can try to do to help themselves (don’t think for a moment the government at any level will be able to help all who need it if such a cataclysm occurs).

Imagine a major hurricane like Katrina coming towards you community and the leaders tell you there’s nothing to worry about. It’s just a bit of rain. We’ve handled rain before.

It’s a matter of maturity. Whether the American people in this day and age can handle being treated like mature adults is, unfortunately, questionable. But that is the job of leadership.

When MasterPo’s small children cry for no apparent reason MasterPo consoles them saying “Don’t cry. It’s not that bad. Daddy will let you know when it’s that bad.”

At least the kids have someone who will tell them the truth about how good or bad the situation is.

Do you?


MBTN said...

The media is not in the business of providing a public service. The media is in the business to make money. Period. They want eyeballs so they can sell advertisements. If the media thought that telling people that the sh*t is hitting the fan is going to get viewers, they are going to televise the end of the world in Prime Time.

I would argue that the opposite of what you say is true. The news networks get their biggest ratings when something bad is happening. What did people do during 9/11? What did people do when the ground war started in Iraq back in 2003? They tuned into the cable news channels. When the BP Gulf spill was happening this summer, the networks sent their top shelf talent to the Gulf for live remotes. They put that live video of the burst well on their websites. News networks LOVE bad news because it gets them eyeballs.

I know it is a little different, but consider the Weather Channel. When the weather is sunny and clear, everybody pretty much ignores that channel. However, when there is some big storm about to hit, everybody tunes in. The Weather Channel LOVES a good hurricane and snowstorm because it gets people to watch.

MasterPo said...

MasterPo agress "If it bleeds it leads" is the order of the day. Something like 9/11 or Katrina can't be denied when it is happening so of course they go with it.

The concern is when there is a dire situation that is not literaly blowing up in your face but is still real the media at large will not say so.

If people are waiting to hear it on the 6 o'clock news or read it in the morning headlines it won't happen. (Or if it does it's already too late to do much about it!)

Grace. said...

To some extent, I don't know that the media understands national finances well enough to know when to panic (or not to panic). Certainly the Glen Becks of his world are not the ones I'd trust to tell me. But I do expect more in depth analysis from the press (and to a lesser extent, from TV), which I don't seem to be getting.

The biggest problem is our attention span--death (financial or otherwise) by hurricane is one thing; slow strangulation over a period of years is quite another. The media gets bored, as do we, and both move on to the next story.