Recession! Recession! Recession! Today I run through my daily routine of reading the news. I hit up my local news station site, 9news.com, I notice an article that is entitled: Bernanke warns of possible recession. Immediately I’m like, well this can’t be good. If BB is dropping the R word in front of congress then we might really be in some trouble.
Being interested I get into reading the article, well midway through the second paragraph:
…Bernanke didn’t use the word recession.
Then onto the third paragraph I see
Under one rule, six straight months of declining GDP, would constitute a recession.
Of course that is what is reported by the news source, not Ben Bernanke’s words. Then the article (which I hope you’ve read by now to understand by tirade) moves on to talk about how BB thinks we’ll actually get some decent growth this year. So yeah, 2008 is off to a sluggish start, we did have positive, albeit slowed growth for the first quarter, but we haven’t totally stalled.
I’m not about to delve into a debate on economics, the government or what the future holds for the housing and financial markets, but I will gladly entertain your remarks about the media and their constant grab for sensationalism. Why would you title an article this way when BB never even said that? Here, let me answer that, because a lot of American’s are on the edge of their seat every time someone uses the term Recession. I’m not sure why, the term has been used loosely for the last 9 months.
It’s a lot different today than it was ten years ago. We have instant access to information, good or bad. The media understands this and like any other business they need to make money. They make money by roping you in and keeping you captivated, from airing gruesome pile-ups on the highway, to heart wrenching stories about puppies from broken homes. They take a story, embellish the telling of it and increase viewership which in turn allows them to sell advertisements. This is where they get a lot of money.
My point here is, if you read something that is clearly distorting reality, by misleading the reader/viewer call them out. Their job is to report the news, unbiased and accurately. Car dealers and retailers get sued for false advertising, the press should be held to similar standards. If you are going to intentionally sensationalize a headline only to have the reader find out that the title is inaccurate then you are misleading your reader.