Monday, December 8, 2008

The Financial Crisis - An Epiphany

I have been asking myself as I read the continuing stream of terrible news about the financial crisis, how bad is it really? Everyday there are announcements of thousands of jobs being eliminated. The stock market and other financial markets have taken a terrible beating. The Federal government and just about every state are in deep deficits.

My chest tightens. I start gritting my teeth. I feel anxious. But then I remember something...

Just a few months ago, the news was reporting that proposition 8 was behind in the polls. The newspapers had editorials and news stories against prop 8. The media showed countless demonstrators against it. Every famous person that expressed an opinion was against proposition. Even our government officials were against it. I heard one story on the radio about the 100,000 volunteers that would be out on election day. Yet a majority of people I spoke with supported prop 8. I saw far more "Yes on 8" demonstrations in person, but very few on the news. It's no wonder that there is such a backlash after prop 8 passing. People were relying on the news for information and were mislead about what the truth was.

Another example of misleading news: I live in California and have experienced several earthquakes. While there is often severe damage near the epicenter, we usually feel mild shaking. Of course the news shows the worst footage available and we immediately get concerned phone calls from out of state relatives.

So, back to the financial crisis. Yes people are losing jobs. Yes the stock market is down and the financial world is unstable. I have asked many people, "How has the financial crisis affected you?" expecting sad stories. I have been surprised that a majority of people that I have asked have been unaffected. I spoke with my brother and his business has been booming. My company currently has too much work. I still sit in traffic everyday because thousands of people are still going to work. I do have friends that have been hit hard. Other friends have survived recent layoffs.

Is the current crisis better or worse because of the news media? I would guess worse off. So what value is the media as a source of information? One of the strongest opponents to prop 8 was the LA Times. Now their parent company has filed for bankruptcy. No matter what side of the issues you are on, the LA Times failed you. We need to continually ask ourselves when listening, watching, and reading the news: "is this accurate?".

We can also ask why we don't get more news like this.

1 comment:

vicki said...

Unfortunately news isn't news unless it's bad news. When people keep hearing how bad things are they panic, and then all the negative predictions about the bad economy, stocks tumbling, low holiday sales, etc. etc. just become self fulfilling prophecies.