Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Media as Scapegoat

Hat tip to Mish, who dug up a story with clear socionomic implications for the coming year.

77% of Americans blame media for making economic crisis worse
Seventy-seven percent of Americans believe that the U.S. media is making the economic situation worse by projecting fear into people's minds.

The majority of those surveyed feel that the financial press, by focusing on and embellishing negative news, is damaging consumer confidence and damping investment, making a difficult situation much worse...

...Richard Scheff, a national expert on corporate liability and white collar crime issues, warns media that they could potentially be exposed to liability despite apparent constitutional protections:

"Although statements by the media are protected by the First Amendment, the survey results demonstrate that the public believes that the press bears some responsibility for the lack of confidence in the economy. One would hope that the media would act less out of self-interest in these times of national crisis," said Mr. Scheff, vice chairman and partner with Philadelphia-based law firm Montgomery
McCracken Walker & Rhoads...

More magical thinking from the "leaders" in the news media. You see, if we just don't report bad news, then there will BE no bad news. Got it?

Please note the statement from Mr. Scheff. How long before we see television commercials from law firm syndicates rounding up folks to sue the newspapers, CNBC, et al for reporting "bad" news and "making" their stock prices go down? Asbestos is old news, there haven't been any major drug reactions reactions recently, and law firms are hurting for business. As for the Constitution? Well, why let that get in the way of a good racket?

Government at various levels might feel the need to jump in on this as well. As was discussed in Socionomic Trendspotting for 2009, I think serious restrictions on speech and eventually on movement of goods and people will be a trend this year. This could be the one of several issues that act as an excuse by judges and legislators to clamp down on information flow. Something to keep an eye on.

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